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Former National Security Adviser H. R. McMaster in Washington, D.C., in 2018. Photo: Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

H.R. McMaster told CNN Tuesday evening President Trump and other U.S. leaders are "making it easy" for Russian President Vladimir Putin to peddle conspiracy theories on the U.S. election and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.

What he's saying: "It's just wrong ... it's really important for leaders to be responsible about this because, really, as you know Putin doesn't create these divisions in our society, he doesn't create these doubts, he magnifies them," Trump's former national security adviser told CNN's Jake Tapper.

  • "And we just have to be really careful not to be our own worst enemies."

The big picture: FBI Director Chris Wray told Congress last Thursday that the bureau has seen "very active efforts by the Russians to influence our election in 2020," primarily to "denigrate" Trump's Democratic presidential rival Joe Biden and "what the Russians see as kind of an anti-Russian establishment."

The other side: Trump responded to Wray's testimony, by tweeting that "you don't see any activity from China, even though it is a FAR greater threat than Russia, Russia, Russia" before going on to insist that they and others would "be able to interfere in our 2020 Election without totally vulnerable Unsolicited (Counterfeit?) Ballot Scam."

  • On Monday, Trump said at a rally in Ohio that Putin "likes" him. "We get along," he said. "Wouldn't you say it's smart to get along? OK? It's smart."

Go deeper: McMaster says Trump's Afghanistan policy has left U.S. less safe

Go deeper

Aug 22, 2019 - World

Russian interference, 2020

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Americans are at each other's throats. Politically, socially and culturally, we suspect each other's motives and plain sanity. So certain are we of the other's intent to do the nation harm, some of us have joined political gangs and assaulted one another, resulting in at least 1 death.

Which is to say: Americans have played into Russian President Vladimir Putin's hands — again. It is assumed he can attack next year's elections if he so chooses, but since no outsider knows exactly how, what comes next is one of the great underlying mystery-dramas of the 2020 election campaign.

Oct 1, 2020 - World

Alexei Navalny in first interview: Putin was behind Novichok poisoning

Photo: Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP via Getty Images

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny on Thursday accused President Vladimir Putin of orchestrating his poisoning with the nerve agent Novichok, a calling card of the Russian security services.

Driving the news: In his first interview since being released from a German hospital, where he was kept in a medically induced coma for weeks, Navalny told Der Spiegel that German Chancellor Angela Merkel paid him a personal visit last week.

Updated Apr 18, 2019 - Politics & Policy

What the Mueller report tells us about Trump and Russia

President Trump at the Helsinki summit with Vladimir Putin. Photo: Chris McGrath/Getty Images

The first part of special counsel Robert Mueller's redacted report addresses Russian interference in the 2016 election and any role the Trump campaign may have played in those efforts.

What to know: Mueller defines election interference as comprising of 2 sets of efforts: The social media disinformation campaign carried out by a Russian troll farm known as the Internet Research Agency, and the hacking and dissemination of Democratic emails by Russian intelligence officers. He narrowly defines "coordination" as an "agreement—tacit or express—between the Trump Campaign and the Russian government on election interference."

This post is breaking news and will be updated.