Philip Ewing

Philip Ewing is NPR's national security editor. He helps direct coverage of the military, the intelligence community, counterterrorism, veterans and other topics for the radio and online. Ewing joined the network 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.

Updated at 11:24 p.m. ET

President Trump pointed his fingers at his own head and said then-national security adviser Michael Flynn had "serious judgment issues," according to a redacted, unclassified version of then-FBI Director James Comey's original memo about his fateful dinner with Trump.

That's one new detail included in copies of the memoranda sent by the Justice Department to Congress on Thursday evening in response to a request from the leaders of the Judiciary and intelligence committees.

The Treasury Department wove a sprawling epic about global power and money on Friday in announcing new sanctions that target some of Russia's most powerful men — including three with ties to Trump world.

The announcement included everything necessary for a first-class soap opera, from arms trafficking to organized crime to the smuggling of millions in cash in suitcases.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the time has come for the United States to shine a light on what Russia is doing:

The next time Vladimir Putin meets President Trump, he'll be dealing with a very different man — politically, at least.

In the months since the two leaders last were face-to-face, Trump has publicly blamed Russia for its attack on the 2016 election, increased sanctions, kicked out a horde of Russian intelligence officers and closed Russia's last diplomatic mission on the West Coast.

Updated at 1:24 p.m. EDT

House intelligence committee Republicans revealed Thursday why they're ending their investigation into Russia's attack on the 2016 election by concluding President Trump's campaign did not conspire with it: People involved said they didn't.

"When asked directly, none of the interviewed witnesses provided evidence of collusion, coordination or conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russian government," according to new documents.

The White House could look for another political booster shot on Thursday if its allies on the House intelligence committee give more detail about how they cleared President Trump's campaign of colluding with Russia's attack on the 2016 presidential election.

Updated at 12:30 a.m. ET Saturday

Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired outgoing FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe on Friday even though he was on the doorstep of retiring and receiving his pension after two decades of service to the bureau.

President Trump responded on Twitter just after midnight Saturday, calling McCabe's firing "a great day for the hard working men and women of the FBI - A great day for Democracy."

The House intelligence committee has completed its "Choose Your Own Adventure" story about the Russia imbroglio. Republicans wrote a happy ending for President Trump. Democrats wrote a cliffhanger.

Even though members of the committee say they're taking separate ramps off this highway, however, the road goes ever on. Here are 4 more mileposts still to come in the remainder of the Russia imbroglio.

Updated at 1:10 p.m. ET

President Trump's nominee to take over the CIA faces a rocky confirmation hearing in the Senate and a narrow political path to secure the job.

Deputy CIA Director Gina Haspel is a career intelligence officer widely respected within the agency but tied up inextricably with one of the ugliest chapters in its history.

Updated at 3:00 p.m. ET

President Trump announced Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was fired on Tuesday morning in a tweet that followed a year of frequent tension between the two leaders.

Updated at 4:31 p.m. ET on March 1

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is trying to defend President Trump in the Russia imbroglio, but Trump has slapped Sessions down — again — for work he says isn't good enough.

Updated at 6:17 p.m. ET

President Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has lost the top-level security clearance he has been using on an interim basis to do his work inside the White House, according to reports on Tuesday.

Instead, Kushner will begin using a lower level of access to classified information along with other White House staffers who had temporary clearances.

After nearly a month of pronouncements, melodrama, headlines and strife, Round One of memo mania is finally complete.

House Intelligence Committee Republicans went first with their Feb. 2 salvo that alleged "biased" FBI and Justice Department officials had abused their surveillance powers by withholding information from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

Then, on Saturday, committee Democrats released a rebuttal giving their perspective on the story — or at least part of it.

Why didn't then-President Barack Obama stop Russia's campaign of active measures against the 2016 presidential campaign?

Memoranda have only been Washington's favorite dueling weapons for a short time but the art of wielding them has evolved quickly.

Witness the slow-motion jiujitsu between President Trump and his Democratic antagonists this week over a secret countermemo that rebuts the once-secret GOP memo unveiled last week.

Updated at 7:05 p.m. ET

The House intelligence committee voted without opposition on Monday to declassify a secret Democratic rebuttal to the once-secret Republican memo about alleged surveillance abuses that was unveiled on Friday.

The Democrats' document now goes to the White House, where President Trump will decide whether it should become public.

This week in the Russia investigations: The much-talked-about memo finally made its public debut.

After a week of hyperpartisan madness that critics warn could shatter key D.C. institutions forever, the inescapable, once-secret spying memo wound up falling like a drop of rain into the Pacific Ocean.

Updated 2:30 p.m. ET

President Trump joined his Republican allies on Friday in piling on with attacks about "bias" in the FBI and the Justice Department as Washington, D.C., waited on tenterhooks for the release of a controversial secret spying memo.

Updated at 9:31 a.m. ET

The latest political sandstorm in the Russia saga is over four pages of paper that have never seen the light of day. Here's what you need to know to make sense of what's going on with this story.

1. What exactly is this memo that everyone is talking about?

Updated 5:35 a.m. ET Friday:

President Trump ordered White House counsel Don McGahn to fire Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller last summer — but McGahn refused and threatened to quit himself if the president went ahead, according to an explosive report in The New York Times.

Trump, in brief remarks as he entered the conference hall at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, dismissed the story in what has become his characteristic fashion.

If 2016 was the bravura opener and 2017 the tension-building second act, 2018 could deliver an action-packed conclusion to the Russia imbroglio.

Or this story might still be getting started.

Even without knowing every surprise the saga might bring in the new year, there are already enough waypoints on the calendar to confirm that 2018 will ratchet up the volume yet again.

Here are four big storylines to watch.

International influence campaigns have been around for centuries, but 2017 made clear how much they remain a part of daily life.

Through court documents, congressional testimony, press reports and other sources, Americans learned not only about the extent of the "active measures" — as they're known to intelligence officers — that Russia waged against the U.S. through the presidential election.

Sanctions on Russia were to be "ripped up" early in the Trump administration, then-national security adviser Mike Flynn said on Inauguration Day, according to new information released Wednesday.

The new details suggest that President Trump and his aides not only were amenable to new negotiations with Russia about its bilateral relationship with the U.S — despite its attack on the 2016 presidential election — but had concluded by the time they took office that they would definitely void existing sanctions.

This week in the Russia investigations: A progress report — sort of — from the Senate Intelligence Committee; Robert Mueller meets the author of the dossier; and Donald Trump Jr. may have a date on Capitol Hill.

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