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.

Voting systems in the United States have come a long way since the hanging chads of the 2000 recount in Florida — but now cybersecurity is as big a concern as ballot fidelity.

Here's what you need to know.

The good news

President Trump defended the idea of buying Greenlandderided by critics within the United States and rejected by Denmark, which controls it — in part by saying the idea first came from President Harry Truman.

Updated at 4:32 p.m. ET

President Trump abruptly dropped his intention to nominate Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, to serve as director of national intelligence on Friday.

Updated at 2:23 p.m. ET

The Federal Election Commission is considering proposed new rules to outlaw exchanges like the one that took place when a Russian delegation visited Trump Tower in 2016 to offer Donald Trump's campaign "dirt" on Democrats.

Although U.S. law already forbids contributions from foreigners to American political campaigns, President Trump has said that the meeting taken by his son Donald Trump Jr. and others was business as usual and that everybody in politics accepts "opposition research."

Updated 1:35 p.m. ET

Rep. John Ratcliffe is President Trump's choice to become the next top leader of the U.S. intelligence community.

The Texas Republican thanked Trump on Twitter following the president's earlier announcement, also on Twitter, that Ratcliffe is his nominee to replace outgoing Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats.

Former special counsel Robert Mueller did what Democrats wanted him to do on Wednesday — the question now is how much difference that may make.

Mueller's hearings did not feature a telegenic star who could deliver a message as exuberantly as President Trump's opponents hoped.

Updated at 4:56 p.m. ET

Peril from foreign interference in American elections will persist through the 2020 presidential race, former special counsel Robert Mueller warned on Wednesday.

Asked whether Russia would attempt to attack future U.S. elections, as it did in 2016, Mueller replied: "They're doing it as we sit here."

Mueller didn't detail a prescription for how he believes Congress or the United States should respond, but he recommended generally that intelligence and law enforcement agencies should work together.

Former special counsel Robert Mueller is testifying before Congress on Wednesday, and lawmakers have so many questions they may not have enough time to ask them all.

The House judiciary and intelligence committees have scheduled hearings for 8:30 a.m. and noon.

Majority Democrats and minority Republicans are expected to try their utmost to get the most good they can from Mueller — in very different ways.

Robert Mueller's appearance in Congress this week will be a hinge moment — the question is which way it might swing the political trajectory in Washington.

The Democrats who have negotiated for months to get Mueller to appear, and wound up compelling him with a subpoena, want Americans to watch the former special counsel tell his story on Wednesday in TV-friendly soundbites that erode support for President Trump.

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats has installed a new czar to oversee election security efforts across the spy world, he announced on Friday.

A veteran agency leader, Shelby Pierson, has been appointed to serve as the first election threats executive within the intelligence community, or IC, Coats said.

"Election security is an enduring challenge and a top priority for the IC," said Coats.

Updated at 2:13 p.m. ET

President Trump has conflated an infamous practice in and among political campaigns — "opposition research" — with foreign election interference like that launched by Russia against the United States in 2016.

Are they the same thing? Is foreign interference just a kind of "oppo research," as Trump said in an interview with ABC?

Updated at 5:53 p.m. ET

The separation-of-powers standoff between Congress and the executive branch deepened on Wednesday over a dispute about access to materials involving the controversial citizenship question planned for the 2020 census.

The Justice Department notified the House oversight committee that it's withholding documents sought by the panel's chairman because it says they're shielded by executive privilege — the doctrine that permits an administration to conceal some of its internal workings.

Updated at 6:35 p.m. ET

The House has authorized its committee leaders to pursue civil contempt cases to get information for their myriad investigations into President Trump.

Although the vote, 229-191, clears the way for more lawsuits against Cabinet departments, administration officials, bankers, accountants and more, it represented a sidestep from a more aggressive partisan confrontation that might have been.

Updated at 4:30 p.m. ET

The House voted on Tuesday to authorize its committees to sue the Trump administration and others in pursuit of witnesses and documents for their manifold investigations into President Trump.

Updated at 3:25 p.m. ET

The Justice Department is to begin providing documents to the House Judiciary Committee after a dispute over a subpoena — but members of Congress are reserving the ability to continue to pursue contempt litigation down the line.

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