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.

This week in the Russia investigations: The collusion mystery may be insoluble, Mueller and his team fly around to the dark side — perhaps — and punishment for Papadopoulos.

Updated at 8:39 p.m. ET

Another surreal twist in the midst of another frenetic week has brought an unexpected question to the top of the conversation in Washington, D.C.

What is the 25th Amendment?

The short answer: It's a way, other than impeachment, provided by the Constitution for power to be taken away from a sitting president.

This week in the Russia investigations: The final countdown is running — or is it? How much longer does Bruce Ohr have at the Justice Department? How much should Big Tech worry about the threat from Congress?

The ticking clock

Next Friday, Sept. 7, marks 60 days until Election Day. According to the thesis that Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller doesn't want to do anything to influence the midterm election season, that gives him one more week to make a move before he must go ultraquiet.

This week in the Russia investigations: "Where's the collusion?" Trump asks. If the special counsel's office has an answer, it so far isn't forthcoming.

Find some collusion

"Where is the collusion?" President Trump asked this week. "You know, they're still looking for collusion. Where is the collusion? Find some collusion."

Updated at 12:35 p.m. ET

President Trump snapped back at Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Friday with a series of Twitter posts that sarcastically took up Sessions' theme about the importance of political independence at the Justice Department.

"Jeff, this is GREAT, what everyone wants, so look into all of the corruption on the 'other side' including deleted Emails, Comey lies & leaks, Mueller conflicts, McCabe, Strzok, Page, Ohr......" Trump wrote.

This week in the Russia investigations: President Trump strikes back at one of his most politically dangerous critics. Will a short-term victory have longer-term costs?

The revocation, Part 1

President Trump made good on his threat to revoke the security clearance held by former CIA Director John Brennan this week, escalating the politics of the Russia imbroglio in an important way.

Trump, whether or not this was his intention, has demoted Brennan from what lawyers might call a "fact witness" to a simple critic.

Updated at 7:24 p.m. ET

The FBI has fired an embattled special agent who was removed from the Russia inquiry after internal investigators discovered he had criticized then-candidate Donald Trump in text messages with another bureau official.

Peter Strzok had remained on the FBI payroll until his employment finally was terminated on Friday, his attorney said Monday morning.

This week in the Russia investigations: The White House is trying to burn the clock to get into a better political position to handle the Russia imbroglio. Why it might — or might not — work.

Time trouble

In the championship chess match that is the Russia imbroglio, President Trump and the White House are hoping that Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller has stumbled into what players call "time trouble."

What if, this time around, a wave of foreign interference is aimed at helping Democrats take control of Congress?

It's an idea that has been batted around a great deal since 2016. It is based on the thesis that Russian President Vladimir Putin doesn't actually care about either party. What he wants is chaos, strife, deadlock and a corrosion of faith in U.S. political institutions.

This week in the Russia investigations: Michael Cohen goes rogue; what would it mean if it is determined he is telling the truth? And, the effort to impeach Rod Rosenstein sputters in the House — for now.

President Trump is open to visiting Russia if President Vladimir Putin extends a formal invitation, the White House said on Friday.

Putin said in South Africa earlier in the day that he has already talked with Trump about a visit to Russia, although it did not appear that the Russian government has gone through the official protocols involved with following up.

The effort of some House conservatives to impeach the deputy attorney general sputtered within Congress on Thursday, but the political story will likely rage on.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and other GOP leaders made clear that the House would not schedule a vote to impeach Rod Rosenstein as a small group of his opponents had formally proposed on Wednesday.

"I don't think we should be cavalier with this process or with this term," Ryan told reporters.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions and others hailed Rosenstein, and he appeared to remain safe in his job.

Updated at 3:50 p.m. ET

Russian President Vladimir Putin won't visit the United States this year after all, the White House said Wednesday, following an earlier invitation by President Trump after their recent summit in Helsinki.

"The president believes that the next bilateral meeting with President Putin should take place after the Russia witch hunt is over, so we've agreed that it will be after the first of the year," national security adviser John Bolton said in a statement released by the administration.

Updated at 2:14 p.m. ET

President Trump resumed acknowledging Russian election interference on Tuesday and said he fears that this year, it will benefit Democrats.

Trump, who goes back and forth about what he accepts about the years-long campaign of "active measures" against the West, now says the cyberattacks, online agitation and other techniques could be turned against him and Republicans in the 2018 congressional races.

Updated at 10:06 a.m. ET

A hot, newly released document offers a sliver of new understanding to the Russia imbroglio — but has not dislodged warring partisans from their long-term deadlock about evidence and surveillance in the case.

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