9:22 AM 12/15/2017 – Mueller asked the data firm Cambridge Analytica to turn over the emails of its employees

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TRUMP-RUSSIA

Democratic lawmakers have called on the Justice Department to explain why it released anti-Trump text messages shared between top F.B.I. agent Peter Strzok and F.B.I. lawyer Lisa Page, both of whom are under investigation for their work on special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Darren Samuelsohn reports at POLITICO.

Senate Republicans have sought to protect Mueller from attacks by the Republican Party, the Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (Iowa) said that he has confidence in Mueller. The comments by Republican senators demonstrate an attempt to separate Mueller from the political storm that has surrounded him since the revelations that members of his team held anti-Trump sentiments, Karoun Demirjian reports at the Washington Post.

Mueller asked the data firm Cambridge Analytica to turn over the emails of its employees

who worked on the Trump campaign and the firm complied with the request. Separately, an individual familiar with the matter said that the chief executive of Cambridge Analytica answered questions put to him by the House Intelligence Committee via videoconference yesterday, Rebecca Ballhaus reports at the Wall Street Journal.

Relations between the U.S. and Russia are being undermined by the political opposition to Trump, the Russian President Vladimir Putin said yesterday, claiming that the allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election were invented and added that he hopes that Trump still wants to improve relations. Andrew Roth and David Filipov report at the Washington Post.

Fourteen former national security, intelligence and foreign policy officials have filed an amicus brief against the Trump campaign and Trump’s adviser Roger Stone, outlining how the Kremlin used local actors to influence politics during the 2016 U.S. election. Natasha Bertrand reports at Business Insider.

Trump continues to reject evidence that Russia interfered in U.S. democracy and his stance undermines the government’s response to a national security threat. Greg Miller, Greg Jaffe and Philip Rucker explain at the Washington Post.

There is a growing body of evidence showing links between Trump associates and Russian operatives, David Ignatius breaks down what is known till now at the Washington Post and says that the president has been blustering because the law and the facts are against him.

The TRUMP ADMINISTRATION

White House officials have been frustrated by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, expressing exasperation at Tillerson’s comments this week calling for negotiations with North Korea, with one White House official saying that Tillerson “had not learned his lesson” from the previous instance when he called for talks, the atmosphere of distrust has increased speculation that Tillerson will leave his post in the near future. Josh Dawsey and Anne Gearan report at the Washington Post.

Critics of national security adviser H.R. McMaster have accused him of hurting efforts to recruit members to a key intelligence advisory board, demonstrating the latest apparent quarrel within the Trump administration. Jenna McLaughlin reports at Foreign Policy.


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