Tim Mak

Tim Mak covers national security and politics for NPR.

His reporting topics include investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, as well as the potential for future interference by foreign actors; challenges to America's democratic institutions; as well as the conservative movement and Republicans in the context of the 2018 elections.

Before joining NPR, Mak worked as a senior correspondent at The Daily Beast, covering the 2016 presidential elections with an emphasis on foreign affairs. He has also worked on the Politico Defense team, the Politico breaking news desk, and at the Washington Examiner. He covered the rise of the Tea Party movement in 2009 and 2010 for FrumForum. He has reported abroad from the Horn of Africa and East Asia.

Mak graduated with a B.A. from McGill University, where he was a valedictorian. He also holds a national certification as an Emergency Medical Technician.

Russia's influence campaign on Twitter pushed pro-gun and pro-National Rifle Association messages during the 2016 election and beyond — a rare example of consistency in a scheme that mostly sought to play up extremes on the left and right.

On every issue, from race to health care, women's rights to police brutality, gay marriage to global warming, accounts associated with the Internet Research Agency sought to amplify controversy by playing up conflict.

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President Trump has sent mixed messages on just how seriously he takes the threat of foreign influence in U.S. politics - especially when it comes to Russia. But his administration is trying to telegraph to the public that the threat is real.

Senate intelligence committee Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., summed up how lawmakers and Trump administration officials have failed to acknowledge the dangerous problem of foreign influence operations in America on Wednesday, with a description of an Internet meme.

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The net appears to be closing in on Roger Stone.

The outspoken, self-described "dirty trickster" and longtime confidant of President Trump is facing heat from congressional investigators, as well as a possible indictment from the Justice Department — or so he suspects.

The Koch brothers are going rogue.

For years the political network funded by billionaires Charles and David Koch funded politicians on the right, laying the foundation for the libertarian causes the two support. Their support has gone almost exclusively to Republican candidates, with rare exception.

But in the era of Trump, what it means to be on the "right" is changing, and the Koch network's tactics are changing to reflect new realities.

Updated at 5:48 p.m. ET

The FBI warned four years ago that a foundation controlled by the Russian oligarch who allegedly reimbursed Donald Trump's personal lawyer might have been acting on behalf of Russia's intelligence services.

Updated at 10:55 a.m. ET

Kremlin-linked Russian politician Alexander Torshin traveled frequently between Moscow and various destinations in the United States to build relationships with figures on the American right starting as early as 2009, beyond his previously known contacts with the National Rifle Association.

Mark Zuckerberg left Capitol Hill last week with his primary mission complete.

The National Rifle Association may have accepted more contributions from Russian donors than it first acknowledged, new documents show.

A Russian citizen who works for a U.S.-sanctioned arms manufacturer was arrested earlier this year when he tried to board a flight from Los Angeles to Moscow carrying a rifle scope — one authorities say requires an export license.

Soon, we might not be able to believe our own ears.

New technologies for creating faked audio are evolving quickly in the era of active information campaigns and their use of "fake news."

This has serious repercussions for politics: Influence-mongers could create fake clips of politicians to undermine them — or politicians could deny they said things they were really recorded saying, calling it fake audio.

Updated on March 6 at 11:45 a.m. ET

A former campaign aide to Donald Trump appears to have changed his mind and will not fight a subpoena he says he has received in the Russia investigation — after daring special counsel Robert Mueller to arrest him in multiple media appearances.

Sam Nunberg called reporters and TV news programs on Monday and said live that he'd gotten a grand jury subpoena as part of Mueller's investigation asking for communications with other people in the Trump orbit — but that he would not comply.

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher is facing numerous challengers from the right and the left over his warm embrace of all things Russia. NPR went to Rohrabacher's district to explore the political campaign in America where Russia looms largest.

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Updated at 10:25 p.m. ET

A prominent Kremlin-linked Russian politician has methodically cultivated ties with leaders of the National Rifle Association and documented efforts in real time over six years to leverage those connections and gain deeper access into American politics, NPR has learned.

Russian politician Alexander Torshin said his ties to the NRA provided him access to Donald Trump — and the opportunity to serve as a foreign election observer in the United States during the 2012 election.

President Trump has appointed digital strategist Brad Parscale to lead his 2020 re-election effort, his campaign announced Tuesday.

"Brad was essential in bringing a disciplined technology and data-driven approach to how the 2016 campaign was run," said senior White House official Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law. "His leadership and expertise will be help build (sic) a best-in-class campaign."

The Trump campaign pledged its apparatus would not only prepare for the president's re-election, but also play a role in the 2018 midterm elections this year.

Eight years ago, the Koch brothers' network spent millions to help boost the Tea Party wave.

In 2010, the right benefited from historical trends: Midterm elections are traditionally disastrous for the president's party. Close to a decade later, the wave is rolling back in.

"You're just going against the tide. You're going against history, which makes it a little tough," quipped network official Tim Phillips, president of the grassroots organization Americans For Prosperity.

Updated on Jan. 16 at 2:54 p.m. E.S.T.

A new Senate bill would require America's spy bosses to report within one month of a federal election on whether a foreign power had interfered with it.

That's part of a proposal by Florida Republican Marco Rubio and Maryland Democrat Chris Van Hollen, who say Congress must do more to safeguard elections following the attack by Russia on the presidential race in 2016.