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.

Updated at 9:51 p.m. ET

Members of Congress in both parties demanded answers on Monday about reported bounties paid by Russian operatives to Afghan insurgents for targeting American troops.

The stories appeared to have taken even the most senior lawmakers off guard, and they said they wanted briefings soon from the Defense Department and the intelligence community.

Updated at 2:44 p.m. ET

A federal appeals court in Washington ordered a lower court judge to dismiss the case against former national security adviser Michael Flynn on Wednesday.

That ruling followed earlier arguments by Flynn's attorneys that the matter had become moot after both they and the Justice Department asked for the case to be dropped.

Updated at 4:29 p.m. ET

Justice Department witnesses told House lawmakers on Wednesday they've observed political interference in big cases, including those involving a friend of President Trump's.

Two currently serving lawyers appeared before the House Judiciary Committee to detail their concerns, which were revealed Tuesday in written testimony they prepared ahead of time.

Updated at 1:45 a.m. ET Friday

The picnic that is political life in Washington seldom encounters a skunk of the magnitude of John Bolton.

He was a centerpiece of the establishment, and now President Trump and Republicans have rejected him as a turncoat.

Democrats, never fond of his worldview, now despise him as never before.

Foreign influence-mongers are altering their tactics in response to changes in the practices of the big social media platforms since the 2016 election, three Big Tech representatives told House Democrats on Thursday.

Leaders from Facebook, Twitter and Google told the House Intelligence Committee that their practices have prompted hostile nations to make some of their information operations less clandestine and more overt than they have in recent years.

Updated at 9:33 p.m. ET

President Trump told Chinese President Xi Jinping that he endorsed Beijing's now-infamous archipelago of prison camps for minority Uighurs, John Bolton writes in his new memoir, The Room Where It Happened.

The former national security adviser quotes U.S. officials who took part in Trump's meetings with their Chinese counterparts.

Republicans and Democrats seldom agree on much in 21st century politics — but one issue that divides them more than ever may be voting and elections.

The parties didn't only battle about whether or how to enact new legislation following the Russian interference in the 2016 election. They also differ in the basic ways they perceive and frame myriad aspects of practicing democracy.

Updated at 3:46 p.m. ET

Members of Congress put themselves on a collision course with the White House on Thursday over the politics of America's Confederate legacy.

The Republican-led Senate Armed Services Committee adopted an amendment that would create a commission charged with renaming Army installations that bear Confederate names and removing their Confederate symbols.

A bipartisan team of House members, both veterans, proposed something similar.

Updated at 4:09 p.m. ET

Former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said Wednesday that if he knew then what he knows now, he would not have signed his now-infamous application to continue surveillance on an ex-junior aide to Donald Trump.

Rosenstein told the Senate Judiciary Committee that he relied on lower-level investigators and attorneys to do the right thing in preparing applications for the secret court that authorizes surveillance on Americans.

Updated at 3:43 p.m. ET

The United States is rescinding a number of special considerations for Hong Kong in retaliation for what Washington calls a naked power grab by China's central government.

President Trump announced a suite of changes Friday in what had been billed as a press conference but which turned out to be an on-camera statement, after which he took no questions.

Updated at 6:07 p.m. ET

The Senate sought to strengthen some protections for those targeted by government surveillance on Thursday with the passage of an amended bill that now faces an uncertain outlook.

Senators voted 80-16 to reauthorize lapsed provisions of the now-notorious Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and also revise some aspects of how it can be used by the Justice Department and the FBI.

In the final days of the Obama administration, someone leaked a key nugget of information to The Washington Post about Michael Flynn, President-elect Donald Trump's national security adviser.

Then, since and today, Trump and Republicans have argued that was an abuse of power and a breach of the law, one that, in their view, needlessly cost Flynn his reputation, his liberty and a fortune in legal fees.

Updated at 5:34 p.m. ET

Former Vice President Joe Biden is on a list of names provided to Senate Republicans by a sympathetic spy boss in connection with the case of former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

That was the latest twist in a years-long saga that changed course again this week following action by acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell, who declassified the names of a number of people who requested intelligence information in the final days of the Obama administration.

The judge handling the case of former national security adviser Michael Flynn is asking for opinions about what he should do now that the Justice Department wants to drop its prosecution of Flynn.

Judge Emmet Sullivan issued an order on Tuesday soliciting "friend of the court" briefs but did not address the government's reversal or suggest when he might.

Updated at 8:27 p.m. ET

The Justice Department is dropping its case against President Trump's first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia's then-ambassador to the United States.

The about-face by the department brings to a close the long-running case against Flynn brought by former special counsel Robert Mueller during the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Sophisticated fake media hasn't emerged as a factor in the disinformation wars in the ways once feared — and two specialists say it may have missed its moment.

Updated at 3:11 p.m. ET

President Trump's nominee to serve as America's top spy vowed on Tuesday to operate independently in response to bipartisan questions as to whether he could keep politics out of intelligence work.

Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas., assured both Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that if confirmed as director of national intelligence, he would not apply a partisan filter to reporting, shade conclusions to please Trump, or apply inappropriate tests to workers in the intelligence community.

American crews have seized haul after haul of drugs since the White House announced "enhanced" operations one month ago — but two broad goals of that strategy are so far unmet.

First, Venezuelan strongman Nicolas Maduro remains in power even after the new counter-narcotics gambit and other attempts by Washington to pressure what many nations consider his illegitimate regime.

The U.S. Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort is scheduled to depart New York City on Thursday after deploying there to help with the coronavirus pandemic.

U.S. Northern Command announced on Tuesday that the Comfort, which arrived in Manhattan on March 30, would return to its berth in Norfolk, Va.

Testing is the key that will unlock normalization for millions of Americans.

It's the doorway between the disaster response mode of the pandemic and confidence about returning to work, school and life. And it's also still apparently weeks or more away from scaling to a level that will make a big difference for most people in most places.

Precisely how far away isn't clear, although President Trump and a pageant of guests attempted on Monday to sell the idea that victory is just around the corner.

Updated at 7 p.m. ET

More than a dozen states have unveiled formal plans to move from coronavirus disaster response and toward reconstruction, the White House said Thursday, but officials also didn't rule out the need for more mitigation.

Vice President Pence said that 16 states have released formal plans about progressing out of the crisis. Many are pursuing a "phased approach" county by county, he said, pointing specifically to Missouri, Pennsylvania, Oregon and Idaho.

Updated at 7:07 p.m. ET

President Trump vowed to sign the latest coronavirus relief legislation nearing the finish line in Washington on Tuesday after it was passed by the Senate.

Members of Congress have reached an agreement on about $484 billion more in relief funding to help small businesses and others hurt by the mitigation measures aimed at slowing the spread of the virus.

The House could vote as soon as Wednesday.

Updated at 7:21 p.m. ET

The White House unveiled guidelines on Thursday it said the nation can use to plot a course out of the coronavirus disaster and toward something like normal.

Trump also spoke via teleconference with the governors of the 50 states earlier Thursday to outline his plan for the way they'll proceed with re-opening and normalization.

Updated at 7:43 p.m. ET

Parts of the United States could relax their pandemic mitigation countermeasures before the end of the month, President Trump suggested on Tuesday, although the details aren't clear.

Trump used his daily briefing at the White House to tease the prospect that more than 20 states might be able to re-open in some form or change their practices before May 1 — even though he also said the federal guidelines on social distancing and other practices would stay in effect until then.

Updated at 11:13 a.m. ET

President Trump is expected to specify officially on Tuesday who will help him decide when — and how — portions of the country can get onto a path to normal after the coronavirus disaster.

Trump has said the choices associated with that goal may be the most consequential he'll make as president. He made clear on Monday that he considers them his to make, not those of the council, local officials or state governors.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top immunologist who has been helping steer President Trump's pandemic policy, doesn't appear in immediate danger of being fired.

The White House rejected what it called speculation about that prospect even though President Trump retweeted a tweet on Sunday that included the hashtag #FireFauci.

"This media chatter is ridiculous – President Trump is not firing Dr. Fauci," White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said in a statement on Monday.

Updated at 4:36 p.m. ET

President Trump plans to appoint a council to advise him on how best to reopen America after much of the nation went dormant to help mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.

Trump said Friday that he plans to announce on Tuesday whom he has named to make recommendations about some kind of path to normalcy.

"I'm going to surround myself with the greatest minds," he said in another marathon news conference at the White House. "We're going to make a decision, and hopefully, it's going to be the right decision."

Updated at 7:38 p.m. ET

President Trump and congressional Democrats appeared to have a ways to go on Wednesday before they could agree on details for more relief spending for the coronavirus disaster.

Updated at 7:18 p.m. ET

President Trump acknowledged that he learned only recently about a warning earlier this year from a top adviser about the risks of the coronavirus — but he defended his actions on Tuesday at a news conference.

"I couldn't have done it any better," Trump said about his and the administration's handling of the pandemic.

Updated at 7:50 p.m. ET

President Trump said "we certainly want to try" to lift restrictions on life in the U.S. by April 30 but he made no definitive commitment at a news conference on Monday at the White House.

Trump sought to walk a tightrope between grim warnings about a new spike in fatalities forecast for the coming weeks and upbeat exuberance about how well he said the response is going.

"Tremendous progress has been made in a very short period," Trump said.

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