Tim Mak

Tim Mak covers national security and politics for NPR.

His reporting topics include investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, as well as the potential for future interference by foreign actors; challenges to America's democratic institutions; as well as the conservative movement and Republicans in the context of the 2018 elections.

Before joining NPR, Mak worked as a senior correspondent at The Daily Beast, covering the 2016 presidential elections with an emphasis on foreign affairs. He has also worked on the Politico Defense team, the Politico breaking news desk, and at the Washington Examiner. He covered the rise of the Tea Party movement in 2009 and 2010 for FrumForum. He has reported abroad from the Horn of Africa and East Asia.

Mak graduated with a B.A. from McGill University, where he was a valedictorian. He also holds a national certification as an Emergency Medical Technician.

The Russia investigation has shown few signs of having an impact in this year's congressional elections, but there's a House race in Orange County, Calif., where Vladimir Putin looms large.

In fact, the congressman running for re-election there says he once arm wrestled the Russian president.

Updated on March 6 at 11:45 a.m. ET

A former campaign aide to Donald Trump appears to have changed his mind and will not fight a subpoena he says he has received in the Russia investigation — after daring special counsel Robert Mueller to arrest him in multiple media appearances.

Sam Nunberg called reporters and TV news programs on Monday and said live that he'd gotten a grand jury subpoena as part of Mueller's investigation asking for communications with other people in the Trump orbit — but that he would not comply.

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher is facing numerous challengers from the right and the left over his warm embrace of all things Russia. NPR went to Rohrabacher's district to explore the political campaign in America where Russia looms largest.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Updated at 10:25 p.m. ET

A prominent Kremlin-linked Russian politician has methodically cultivated ties with leaders of the National Rifle Association and documented efforts in real time over six years to leverage those connections and gain deeper access into American politics, NPR has learned.

Russian politician Alexander Torshin said his ties to the NRA provided him access to Donald Trump — and the opportunity to serve as a foreign election observer in the United States during the 2012 election.

Outside a Trump campaign rally in West Palm Beach, Fla., there was a cage holding a person dressed up like Hillary Clinton in a prison uniform. In the outrageous state of the 2016 campaign, it wasn't altogether shocking to see someone at a Trump event staging the visual stunt, after the "lock her up!" chants that punctuated Trump rallies.

But it's now known that this moment was set up by Russians.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson sounded an alarm this week: The Russians are already meddling in the 2018 midterm elections.

"The point is that if their intention is to interfere, they're going to find ways to do that," Tillerson told Fox News. "I think it's important we just continue to say to Russia, look, you think we don't see what you're doing. We do see it, and you need to stop."

Eight years ago, the Koch brothers' network spent millions to help boost the Tea Party wave.

In 2010, the right benefited from historical trends: Midterm elections are traditionally disastrous for the president's party. Close to a decade later, the wave is rolling back in.

"You're just going against the tide. You're going against history, which makes it a little tough," quipped network official Tim Phillips, president of the grassroots organization Americans For Prosperity.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.


A liberal group is filing a complaint with the Federal Election Commission on Monday to demand an investigation into whether the National Rifle Association took contributions from Russians, which would be a violation of the law.