Russia

Updated at 11:55 a.m. ET

A senior FBI official said Wednesday the nation is "under relentless assault" from foreign adversaries, as the Senate Judiciary Committee continued its probe into Russia's interference with last year's presidential election.

Bill Priestap, assistant director of counterintelligence at the FBI, painted a bleak picture of efforts — both overt and covert — by foreign government agents inside the U.S. "Our economy, our national security and our way of life are being actively threatened by state actors and their proxies," he said.

The biggest story of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing scheduled for Wednesday might be about the people who aren't there.

The chairman, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and ranking member, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., wanted Donald Trump Jr., the president's oldest son, and Paul Manafort, the president's onetime campaign chairman, to appear and testify — either voluntarily or involuntarily, if necessary, under subpoena.

Those witnesses said they agreed — but they arranged with the committee to do so in private as opposed to under the TV lights.

Updated: 7:26 p.m.

The House overwhelmingly passed a sanctions bill on Tuesday that would punish Russia for interfering in the 2016 election and tie President Trump's hands in terms of lifting economic restrictions on Moscow.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Jared Kushner went before the House Intelligence Committee today for almost three hours. Adam Schiff of California is the ranking Democrat on that committee. And he joins us from Capitol Hill. Welcome to the program, once again.

Updated at 8 p.m. ET

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday rescinded subpoenas for two key witnesses in the Russia imbroglio, including President Trump's former campaign chairman, as part of agreements in which they'd agree to talk with the committee behind closed doors.

Updated at 2:00 p.m. ET

"I did not collude, nor know of anyone else in the campaign who colluded, with any foreign government," President Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner said in a statement prior to his closed-door meeting Monday before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Speaking to reporters at the White House after the appearance, he said that documents and records that he provided the committee "show that all of my actions are proper, and occurred in the normal course of events of a very unique campaign."

In November 2013, Donald Trump took the Miss Universe pageant to Moscow, bringing his trademark glitz and glamour to a country that had never hosted a major beauty contest.

Trump later boasted that he met a lot of important people at the pageant. They included the billionaire real estate tycoon Aras Agalarov, who is now figuring prominently in the investigations into the Trump campaign's ties to Russia. Here is a look back at how the Miss Universe contest came together and what happened there.

If you're not familiar with the Magnitsky Act, a 2012 U.S. law, here is the most important thing to understand: Russian President Vladimir Putin and everyone in his orbit hates it.

"A purely political, unfriendly act," Putin called it at the time, and he has been railing against it ever since.

Updated at 11:23 a.m. ET

When Donald Trump Jr. met with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya last June at Trump Tower to gather information on Hillary Clinton for his father's presidential campaign, it's now clear there was at least one more Russian in the room. He has been identified in published reports as a Russian-American lobbyist named Rinat Akhmetshin.

Now that Donald Trump Jr.'s emails have produced the kind of solid evidence the Russia connection story had been lacking, what had been mostly speculative reporting has instead become the first draft of history.

Expect that history to be much debated. All accounts of political skulduggery with foreign actors tend to be "tangled and murky," as one foreign policy historian has written.

Pages