russia

President Trump is in the process of inviting Russian President Vladimir Putin to come to Washington, D.C., this fall to continue the talks they started in Helsinki earlier this week.

It's another sign of Trump's efforts to build closer ties with Moscow, even though he insists his administration has taken a hard line toward Russia.

"There's never been a president as tough on Russia as I have been," Trump told reporters on Wednesday.

That might sound like hyperbole, but in this case, there's actually some basis for the president's boast.

A pyrotechnic week of geopolitical intrigue has yielded new clarity about the whys and wherefores of the Russia imbroglio, including one insight straight from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Why did Putin order the campaign of "active measures" that have been directed against the United States and the West since before the 2016 election?

Updated at 3:50 p.m. ET

A federal magistrate judge ordered Wednesday that a Russian woman charged with being a Russian agent in the United States must be jailed ahead of her trial after prosecutors said she was a flight risk.

The woman, Maria Butina, has been in regular contact with Russian intelligence, the Justice Department says, and she attempted to offer sex in exchange for a position with an organization she targeted.

Updated at 5:18 p.m. ET

A day after his much-criticized news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin, President Trump attempted some damage control Tuesday, saying "I accept" the findings of the U.S. intelligence community that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential campaign.

But he again repeated his claim that there was no collusion between his presidential campaign and Russia and suggested that others may have interfered in the election.

Updated at 7:13 p.m. ET

President Trump's effort to reset relations with Russia backfired at home after he failed to side with the U.S. intelligence community over Moscow's interference in the 2016 election. The president's equivocation drew bipartisan condemnation, capping a week in which Trump alienated allies and cozied up to adversaries.

Trump himself declared his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday in Helsinki a success, in what he called the "proud tradition of bold American diplomacy."

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is in Pyongyang on Thursday, meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to discuss the state of talks with South Korea — and inviting Kim to visit President Vladimir Putin in Russia.

Updated at 5:40 a.m. ET

Russian President Vladimir Putin took the oath of office for a fourth term as president – solidifying his place as the country's longest-serving leader since Communist dictator Josef Stalin. Putin easily won re-election in March after his chief opponent was disqualified.

The elaborate Kremlin ceremony took place at the Grand Kremlin Palace at noon Moscow time.

Updated at 2 p.m. ET

The Trump administration is weighing a new round of economic sanctions against Russia for its backing of Syrian President Bashar al Assad's alleged use of chemical weapons.

The proposed sanctions follow U.S.-led airstrikes against Syria's chemical weapons capability and President Trump's promise that Assad and his allies, namely Moscow, would pay a "big price" for enabling the use of chemical weapons.