Russia

President Trump issued his first pardon in August 2017, just about seven months into his presidency. Three years and three dozen clemencies later, some patterns have emerged.

Updated Saturday at 10:22 a.m. ET

President Trump on Friday evening commuted the prison sentence of his longtime friend Roger Stone, a veteran Republican operative who was convicted of lying to Congress about his efforts to contact WikiLeaks during Russia's interference in the 2016 election.

Russian military intelligence, known as the GRU, was founded a century ago under the leadership of the revolutionary Leon Trotsky.

Only in recent years has it come to the fore with a series of brazen actions. They include Russia's military operations in Ukraine and Syria and the hack of Democratic Party emails in the 2016 U.S. election.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper never received a briefing about alleged Russian practices against U.S. troops in Afghanistan that included the term "bounty," he told Congress on Thursday.

Esper said so in an answer to a carefully worded question from Rep. Mike Turner, R-Ohio, who appeared to be aware about how to cue Esper, potentially from the lawmaker's own awareness of the still-secret underlying intelligence about the Russian allegations.

"To the best of my recollection, I have not received a briefing that included the word 'bounty,' " Esper said.

"Fake." "Nonsense." "Lies."

The Kremlin reacted the same way the White House did to news reports that U.S. intelligence had allegedly found Russia offered bounties on American troops in Afghanistan.

India has now surpassed Russia to become the third-worst country affected by the coronavirus, in terms of total infections. Only the United States and Brazil have more.

On Tuesday, India's death toll from COVID-19 crossed 20,000 and its total caseload now exceeds 700,000. Both tallies are now rising at their fastest pace since the pandemic began.

Updated at 4:35 p.m. ET

The political squall over alleged Russian bounties targeting U.S. troops strengthened on Tuesday amid potent new reports and deepening partisan rancor about what Washington should do next.

The day began with criticism by House Democrats of President Trump after a briefing at the White House on the allegations, which left the lawmakers calling for more information directly from the intelligence community.

Updated 11:45 p.m. ET Monday

In a tweet late Sunday night, President Trump said the intelligence community told him he was not briefed about allegations that Russia had offered the Taliban bounty payments to kill Western forces — including U.S. troops — because it did not find the reports credible.

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.

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