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Stephen K. Bannon
Stephen K. Bannon (Patrick Semansky / Associated Press)

With his wounds still fresh after a vicious falling-out with President Trump, former White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon is expected to testify behind closed doors to the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, according to a source with knowledge of the schedule. 

The House committee is one of at least three congressional panels investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign. Bannon has not previously testified before any of them, or, as far as is known, before special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, who is conducting a separate criminal investigation.

Bannon’s testimony before the House panel has been expected since last month, when his name was added to a roster of upcoming interviews. But his appearance comes at a dramatic moment. 

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(Tim Berger / Glendale News Press)

Rep. Adam Schiff, whose frustration with his Republican colleagues on the House Intelligence Committee has been building for months, said Thursday that members of President Trump’s party were trying to stymie the congressional investigation into Russian interference with the 2016 campaign. 

“That’s a head-in-the-sand approach, which is deeply at odds with the commitment we’ve made to the public,” Schiff said in a meeting with reporters. 

The Burbank Democrat said Republicans had refused to invite dozens of witnesses to testify before the committee. Schiff also said they haven’t issued subpoenas for Twitter communications involving Wikileaks, which released emails that were hacked from Democratic officials during the campaign, or Deutsche Bank records involving the president’s finances. 

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  • Congress
  • Russia

The Kremlin dismissed a U.S. congressional report on alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 elections as “unfounded” and blamed Washington’s "paranoid concerns" about Russia as harmful to bilateral relations.

"We can only voice regret over the continuing campaign [against Russia] and once again recall that so far, all these concerns, all the accusations against our country of meddling have had no grounds and are absolutely unfounded," Dmitry Peskov, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, told reporters on a daily press call Thursday.

Peskov was referring to staff report released Wednesday by Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that detailed alleged attempts by the Kremlin to undermine the U.S. elections process in 2016.

The Kremlin has continually denied accusations that it tried to interfere in America’s presidential election and blamed “Russophobia” growing in Washington as a major constraint in attempts to rebuild relations between the two countries.

  • White House
  • Congress
  • Immigration

A federal judge’s decision to stop President Trump from ending protections for so-called Dreamers offered the young immigrants a temporary reprieve but may have stalled the urgency in Congress toward a more lasting legislative solution.

The president on Wednesday denounced the federal courts as “broken and unfair” after a district judge in San Francisco issued a temporary ruling keeping the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in place, despite Trump’s decision to end it this year. The administration vowed to request a stay and appeal.

But the nationwide preliminary injunction produced cross-currents in Congress, where lawmakers have been meeting frantically in bipartisan groups to come up with deportation protections for some 700,000 immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children and have been working, attending school or serving in the military.

  • White House
  • Russia
(Evan Vucci / Associated Press)

President Trump’s anger over the Russia investigation melded with his itchy Twitter finger on Thursday to undermine support for an intelligence program that the White House has been lobbying hard to preserve.

The House  is scheduled to vote Thursday on renewing the National Security Agency’s broad authority to collect communications from foreigners, without warrants, including those communicating with U.S. citizens. The outcome is in doubt.

The White House has been lobbying aggressively to maintain the authority, against a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers — conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats — who say the act compromises civil liberties.

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The announced retirement this week of two highly vulnerable Southern California congressmen, Republicans Darrell Issa and Ed Royce, could signal something larger. If a Democratic wave is building, the swell may be gathering off the Pacific Coast.

California always stood at the center of this year’s fight for control of the House. Democrats, in the minority for most of the decade, need 24 seats to seize control in November. More than half a dozen of their top targets are in California, including the seats held by Issa and Royce.

Significantly, their districts — filled with well-educated suburbanites, social moderates, aspiring immigrants and their millennial offspring — are the very embodiment of the year’s election battleground; not just in California, but in Arizona, Minnesota, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington state.

A federal judge on Wednesday denied a request for a preliminary injunction to remove Mick Mulvaney as acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

(Evan Vucci / Associated Press)

President Trump, who once said he would “be glad to” talk to special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, on Wednesday demurred, suggesting no such interview need take place. 

"We'll see what happens,” Trump said during a joint press conference with the prime minister of Norway. “When they have no collusion, and nobody has found any collusion, at any level, it seems unlikely that you'd even have an interview."

Mueller has been investigating whether anyone from Trump’s team assisted with Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential campaign, but also whether Trump tried to obstruct justice by impeding the probe.

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  • White House
(Brendan Smialowski / AFP)

President Trump expressed unusual optimism about talks between North and South Korea, citing “good energy” after initial discussions produced agreement that North Korea will send a delegation to the Winter Olympics in South Korea next month. 

“A lot of good talks are going on right now,” Trump said Wednesday during a news conference at the White House with Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg. “A lot of good energy,” he added.

Trump had spoken by phone with South Korean President Moon Jae-in earlier Wednesday, following the two Koreas’ first high-level talks in two years. The North and South agreed to continue discussing ways to reduce tensions, which have risen as North Korea has sped toward the development of a missile-born nuclear weapon that can reach U.S. soil.

With new deadlines looming, President Trump plans to again refuse to certify to Congress that the Iranian nuclear deal is the U.S. interest — but stop short of reimposing sanctions that could kill the landmark accord, according a U.S. official involved in the process and a person familiar with the deliberations.

The White House is expected to announce the president’s decision, which could still change, on Friday.

The moves would maintain the status quo in place since October, when Trump first declined to certify the 2015 deal, which was negotiated with Iran by the United States and five other world powers. The Obama administration considered it a crowning foreign policy achievement that blocked Iran from developing nuclear weapons.