Philip Ewing

Philip Ewing is an election security editor with NPR's Washington Desk. He helps oversee coverage of election security, voting, disinformation, active measures and other issues. Ewing joined the Washington Desk from his previous role as NPR's national security editor, in which he helped direct coverage of the military, intelligence community, counterterrorism, veterans and more. He came to NPR in 2015 from Politico, where he was a Pentagon correspondent and defense editor. Previously, he served as managing editor of Military.com, and before that he covered the U.S. Navy for the Military Times newspapers.

The big picture on election security in the 2020 campaign after Super Tuesday: could be worse — but also could be better.

The biggest day of voting so far in this year's race wasn't problem-free: Officials dealt with problems in Texas, California and North Carolina, plus tornadoes disrupted the vote in middle Tennessee.

Attorney General William Barr is scheduled to travel down Pennsylvania Avenue on Tuesday to make what could be a very difficult sales pitch to Senate Republicans.

Provisions in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act are set to expire next month, and Barr is expected to try to persuade senators to vote to reauthorize them.

Criticism of FISA is now mainstream among many Republicans and some Democrats after a thorny subplot from the Russia investigation.

Updated at 3:23 p.m. ET

A federal judge sentenced Roger Stone, a political adviser to President Trump, to more than three years in prison on Thursday amid an uproar about what critics call Trump's interference in the workings of justice.

Judge Amy Berman Jackson found herself in the middle of a political sandstorm as she and the parties closed in on sentencing for Stone following his conviction last year.

Stone also was ordered to pay a $20,000 fine and to serve two years of supervised release.

Updated at 6:56 p.m. ET

Four federal prosecutors withdrew from the Roger Stone case on Tuesday, hours after the Justice Department took the unusual step of intervening in the case to seek a shorter sentence for the longtime ally of the president.

The four prosecutors who filed their papers with the court to withdraw are Aaron Zelinsky, Jonathan Kravis, Adam Jed and Michael Marando.

Russia's attack on the 2016 presidential election caught then-President Barack Obama off guard, and he and advisers were partly paralyzed with indecision over how to respond, a new Senate report concludes.

The study by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence found that the government was "not well-postured" at the time Obama's administration began to detect and assess the wave of active measures launched by Russia against the presidential race.

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President Trump's legal position welcoming information from foreigners threatens to open Pandora's box in coming elections and nullify one of the key lessons from 2016, critics warned.

"This is setting precedent that is unheard of in our country," said Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich. "It's dangerous, dangerous, dangerous."

Updated at 10:08 p.m. ET

Senators fought a genteel melee over new witnesses in the impeachment trial on Wednesday but even hours' worth of questions, answers, and litigation on other issues didn't reveal an obvious path forward.

Members used dozens of written submissions over several hours to argue for and against the case for witnesses, the strength of the impeachment case and, in some cases, to actually ask questions.

The admission of new witnesses into President Trump's impeachment trial began to look less likely on Tuesday as defense attorneys and the White House signaled opposition in hopes of persuading Republicans to block them.

Lawyer Jay Sekulow called the claims in John Bolton's forthcoming book "inadmissible" as he delivered closing arguments and separately, White House aides reportedly began warning senators that a legal fight over witnesses could drag on for months.

Updated at 9:27 p.m. ET

President Trump's lawyers tore into Democrats' impeachment allegations on Monday with a legal and political pageant that culminated with a rejection of the relevance of new allegations from John Bolton.

Retired law professor Alan Dershowitz closed the day's arguments with a stemwinder about what he called the constitutional weaknesses of the case against Trump.

President Trump will go on abusing his office and imperiling elections unless the Senate removes him, House Democrats argued on Friday as they wrapped their opening presentation in Trump's impeachment trial.

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., warned in some of his strongest language yet that what he called Trump's venality and moral bankruptcy would only grow worse if Congress allows him to remain president after what Democrats say he's committed.

Updated at 9:43 p.m. ET

Congress has the power to impeach and remove a president over conduct that may not violate black-letter law — and President Trump's actions qualify, House Democratic impeachment managers argued Thursday.

The Constitution doesn't specify that a president must technically have broken a law in order to be impeached, said Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., although Democrats also underscored that Trump did break at least one law in the Ukraine affair.

Updated at 9:49 p.m. ET

The matter before the Senate isn't just President Trump's conduct; it is no less than the fate of the Constitution and America's role in the world, House managers said on Wednesday.

With the ground rules having been settled in the early hours after sometimes-bitter litigation between the House delegation and Trump's legal team, senators returned Wednesday afternoon to hear the formal opening of the case.

Democrats are going first with 24 hours over three days to present their arguments for removing Trump from office.

Threats to U.S. elections this year could be broader and more diverse than before, warns the spy world's boss for election security — and she also acknowledged the limits of her ability to tackle them.

Shelby Pierson, the intelligence community's election threats executive, told NPR in an exclusive interview that more nations may attempt more types of interference in the United States given the extensive lessons that have since been drawn about the Russian attack on the 2016 presidential election.

Updated at 1:57 a.m. ET on Wednesday

After more than 12 hours of action Tuesday, the Senate adopted the ground rules for the coming weeks in President Trump's impeachment trial. It brought a reminder that even this highly scripted ordeal may include a few surprises after all.

Last month, the House of Representatives voted for only the third time in history to impeach the president. Then something else unusual happened:

Nothing.

President Trump, members of Congress, much of Washington and millions of Americans effectively pushed pause on a once-in-a-generation political saga to take off for the holidays.

So for those just tuning back in for the first full workweek of 2020, nothing substantive has changed in the story — but that also means the coming month may churn into a whirlwind.

Updated at 1:07 p.m. ET

President Trump ordered a bold strike against Iran this week that jangled the Middle East and Washington, drawing praise from allies, skepticism from critics and, most of all, questions about what comes next.

Updated at 9:27 p.m. ET

House lawmakers voted to impeach President Trump on Wednesday in only the third such rebuke in American history.

The move triggers a trial for Trump in the Senate, expected in January — one in which majority Republicans are likely to permit him to retain his office.

The vote was 230 to 197 on the first of two articles of impeachment — abuse of power — with one member voting present. The House then passed the second article — obstruction of Congress — with a vote of 229 to 198, with one member voting present.

Updated at 6:20 p.m. ET

The secret court that oversees intelligence collection upbraided the FBI and Justice Department on Tuesday with a highly unusual order for them to re-validate their work.

Alex Brandon/AP

10:15 AM UPDATE: The House Judiciary Committee has approved two articles of impeachment that formally accuse President Donald Trump of obstruction of justice.

ORIGINAL STORY: Planned votes on two articles of impeachment against President Trump were delayed late Thursday night by Rep. Jerry Nadler, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. He asked members to consider how they want to vote and to reconvene at 10 a.m. Friday.

Updated at 10:50 p.m. ET

House Democrats began work on completing their articles of impeachment against President Trump Wednesday evening, setting the stage for a vote by the full House.

The Judiciary Committee convened to amend the impeachment legislation introduced Tuesday by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., with its chairman, Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., calling the facts against Trump "overwhelming" and that Congress must act now to protect the integrity of U.S. election and its national security.

J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press

Democrats are pressing ahead Monday with their impeachment program by reviewing the findings of their earlier investigations — likely with Republicans battling every step of the way.

Updated at 6:51 p.m. ET

Democrats in the House took the next step toward impeachment on Monday with the presentation of what they call the evidence of President Trump's improper conduct in the Ukraine affair.

"President Trump's persistent and continuing effort to coerce a foreign country to help him cheat to win an election is a clear and present danger to our free and fair elections and to our national security," said Daniel Goldman, the Democratic staff counsel who presented the Democrats' case in the Judiciary Committee hearing.

PBS NewsHour

Wednesday could bring the beginning of the end to House Democrats' efforts to impeach President Trump.

Updated at 6:40 p.m. ET

Wednesday marked the beginning of a new phase in House Democrats' efforts to impeach President Trump.

What members called the fact-finding portion of the process is complete, so the House Judiciary Committee began assessing what action to take and what articles of impeachment to draft, if it decides to draft them.

Updated at 7:02 p.m. ET

The White House pursued a "months-long effort" involving top officials to extract concessions from Ukraine's government aimed at helping President Trump's reelection in 2020, House Democrats charged in a new report.

The marathon of testimony in Democrats' impeachment inquiry this week confirmed that the Ukraine affair, like so many earlier subplots in the era of President Trump, boils down to two big questions:

What do the president's words mean? Can the president do what he did?

The answers to those questions have been a partisan inkblot test since Trump exploded onto the political scene, and now they are burning again as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats decide how they'll move ahead in a showdown over impeachment.

There's an unverified story that has circulated placing Donald Trump in the presidential suite of the Moscow Ritz-Carlton in 2013.

NPR has not detailed it because it remains unverified. Trump and his supporters have called it outrageous and ridiculous.

So where did it come from?

Seven Russian sources told British specialist Christopher Steele the hotel anecdote, write Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch in their new book, Crime in Progress: Inside the Steele Dossier and the Fusion GPS Investigation of Donald Trump.

Update: Thursday's hearing has now concluded.

House Democrats are closing their second week of public impeachment hearings Thursday with testimony from two witnesses expected to detail events inside the White House and a key conversation involving President Trump.

Updated at 4:40 p.m. ET

Fiona Hill, who served as the top Russia expert on the National Security Council before resigning last summer, criticized Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee for advancing theories that Ukraine, and not Russia, interfered with the 2016 presidential election.

Testifying on the third and final day of impeachment hearings before the panel this week, Hill said, "I would ask that you please not promote politically driven falsehoods that so clearly advance Russian interests."

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