Meet the actors in the Russia drama

It’s been another explosive week of revelations about Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Here is a look at those who are at the center of the storm.

House Intelligence Committee

The investigation of Russia led by chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) is in crisis.

The New York Times reported this week that two White House officials played a role in passing classified information to Nunes, giving more ammunition to critics who say the GOP-led investigation has been compromised.

It was the latest setback for the embattled Nunes, who has steadfastly refused to present evidence or sources for his claim that some in Trump’s inner circle were the subject of incidental surveillance during the transition.

Questions about Nunes’s handling of the issue — and the Trump administration’s possible involvement — have prompted calls from Democrats for Nunes to step aside.

Republicans have tried to hold ranking Intelligence Committee member Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffSchiff blasts DOJ over memo on withholding Trump tax returns Schiff blasts DOJ over memo on withholding Trump tax returns Hillicon Valley: Hacker group targeted electric grid | House Democrats press CBP over facial recognition program | Senators offer bill to protect health data | Groups file FCC complaint over carriers' use of location data MORE (D-Calif.) to the same standard, taking him to task for claiming — without proof — that he has seen hard evidence of collusion between Trump officials and Moscow.

Senate Intelligence Committee

With the House investigation flailing, many are looking to the Senate to conduct the authoritative review of Russia and possible Trump connections.

The committee’s first public hearing this week spent little time on the politically explosive aspects of the Russia issue, such as intelligence leaks or President Trump’s wiretapping claims.

Still, there were several revealing moments.

Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioElection security bills face GOP buzzsaw Election security bills face GOP buzzsaw The Hill's Morning Report — Uproar after Trump's defense of foreign dirt on candidates MORE (R-Fla.) said Russian hackers had targeted his presidential campaign, while a former FBI agent accused Trump of spreading Russian propaganda and "fake news."

But overall, chairman Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrElection security bills face GOP buzzsaw Election security bills face GOP buzzsaw Tillis dodges primary challenge in NC MORE (R-N.C.) and ranking member Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerElection security bills face GOP buzzsaw Election security bills face GOP buzzsaw Trump puts GOP in tough spot with remarks on foreign 'dirt' MORE (D-Va.) seem eager to avoid the appearance of politicization in their investigation.

Michael Flynn

Trump’s former national security adviser has offered to provide testimony to the House and Senate Intelligence committees on the condition that he is given legal immunity.

So far, the panels have not taken him up on the offer.

Democrats have characterized Flynn’s request as an admission of guilt. But in a tweet on Friday, Trump encouraged Flynn to testify and said he was smart to request immunity amid the “witch hunt…by media & Dems.” 

The White House says it is not worried that Flynn might have dirt on the administration.

Trump asked Flynn to step down in February for lying to Vice President Pence about the nature of his conversations with Russian officials during the transition period.

There are also questions about whether Flynn was properly registered as a foreign agent. 

It was revealed this month that Flynn lobbied on behalf of the Turkish government during the campaign. Flynn only filed his foreign agent documents after news reports detailed how his consulting firm had taken more than $500,000 for the work.

Paul Manafort

President Trump’s former campaign chairman left the campaign last August amid questions about his work for a pro-Russia political party in Ukraine.

Now, McClatchy reports the FBI, Justice Department and Treasury Department are investigating who paid Manafort for that work, how Manafort handled those payments and whether he was properly registered as a foreign agent at the time.

Manafort’s personal finances have also attracted scrutiny. 

WNYC reports that Manafort used shell companies for cash purchases of property in New York City before taking out loans against those properties in his own name.

And NBC reports that Manafort closed about a dozen bank accounts in Cyprus after his dealings attracted scrutiny from regulators there.

Manafort has denied any wrongdoing and has offered to be interviewed by the House Intelligence Committee. The White House has sought separation from him, with press secretary Sean Spicer saying Manafort “played a very limited role for a very limited amount of time” with the campaign.

The Obama administration

Republicans are certain that holdovers from the Obama administration are behind a series of damaging leaks of sensitive information. 

Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsSarah Sanders to leave White House Sarah Sanders to leave White House Barr compares his return to DOJ to D-Day invasion MORE has said that rooting out those leaks and prosecuting offenders who have broken the law will be a priority for his Justice Department.

Trump’s allies are adamant that while the media chases stories about collusion between the campaign and Russia, that only one verifiable crime has been committed — the unmasking of Flynn in a classified intelligence report and its subsequent leak to the media.

At a House Intelligence committee hearing this month, Rep. Trey GowdyHarold (Trey) Watson GowdyOur sad reality: Donald Trump is no Eisenhower GOP takes aim at Comey, Brennan House Dem calls on lawmakers to 'insulate' election process following Mueller report MORE (R-S.C.) asked FBI director James Comey about potential “suspects,” ticking through the names of former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former CIA Director John Brennan, former national security adviser Susan Rice, former White House adviser Ben Rhodes, former Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former acting Attorney General Sally Yates. He asked whether they would have had access to the intelligence in the leaked reports.

Comey responded in the affirmative for each.

Meanwhile, Republicans are eagerly awaiting Nunes’s findings. They think he will reveal that the Obama administration passed around surveillance reports — obtained legally, but through backdoor means — of the Trump campaign.

Fox News White House reporter John Roberts said Friday he had been told by intelligence officials that Nunes is “aware of who did the unmasking of certain individuals in the transition and may be aware of who ordered the unmasking of those individuals.”

Sens. John McCainJohn Sidney McCain#JohnMcCainDay trends on Trump's 73rd birthday #JohnMcCainDay trends on Trump's 73rd birthday New poll finds little GOP support for spending cuts to specific federal programs MORE (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamElection security bills face GOP buzzsaw Election security bills face GOP buzzsaw House Intel Republican: 'Foolish' not to take info on opponent from foreign ally MORE (R-S.C.)

McCain and Graham have led the charge in calling for an independent 9/11-style commission to investigate Russian meddling in the election.

The senators have been extremely critical of Nunes’s handling of the House Intelligence Committee investigation, saying the effort has been spoiled by partisanship, bungling and questionable contacts with the White House.

The senators want either a special prosecutor brought in to oversee an investigation outside of Congress, or for lawmakers to appoint a select committee to lead an investigation on Capitol Hill.

An independent investigation has strong support from Democrats, but has so far been rejected by the White House and most Republicans in Congress, who want to see the House and Senate committees complete their work.

Cracks are beginning to show in the GOP, however.

Two other Republican lawmakers — Reps. Walter Jones (N.C.) and Carlos Curbelo (Fla.) — told The Hill this week they would support a select committee or independent commission to lead an investigation.

Jared Kushner

President Trump’s son-in-law, who is also a White House senior adviser, has volunteered to be interviewed by the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Kushner has acknowledged meeting with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the campaign, although it is common for foreign diplomats to meet with campaign and government officials.

But the revelation that Kushner spoke with executives from a Russian bank sanctioned by the U.S. for its role in Russia’s incursion into Ukraine has raised questions.

Officials from the bank have described the encounter with Kushner as a normal-course strategic session with industry leaders.

Sally Yates

Democrats are eager to hear from the former acting attorney general after a Washington Post report this week suggested the Trump administration sought to use executive privilege to block her from testifying before the House Intelligence Committee. 

After Trump fired Yates earlier this year for refusing to defend his immigration executive order, it was revealed that she had previously notified the White House that then-national security adviser Flynn had not properly explained his contact with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Flynn was later fired for misleading Vice President Pence on the issue.

The Washington Post has published documents that showed the DOJ informed Yates that if she testified, she might be limited in what she could say because of executive privilege.

Yates was scheduled to testify this week before the House Intelligence Committee, but Nunes canceled the hearing.

That has led to accusations that the Trump administration and House Intelligence Committee conspired to squash testimony from a witness out of fear she would provide damaging testimony.

The White House said it never considered invoking executive privilege, and press secretary Sean Spicer this week said he hopes Yates will testify.

Roger Stone

The conservative political operative and longtime Trump ally is in hot water over his own public statements.

Shortly before WikiLeaks published emails that hackers stole from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, Stone tweeted: “Trust me, it will soon be Podesta’s time in the barrel.”

And Stone has acknowledged a private Twitter correspondence with Guccifer 2.0, a hacker.

At the Senate hearing this week, ranking member Warner said Stone “predicted the release of Podesta’s emails” and was in contact with Guccifer 2.0, described by Warner as “the Russian intelligence persona responsible for these cyber operations.”

Stone maintains that he had no idea the Podesta leaks were coming and described his conversation with Guccifer 2.0 as “totally benign.”

Stone has volunteered to give public testimony before the House Intelligence Committee. He says the FBI has not contacted him about an investigation into his activities.

Carter Page

Page was a foreign policy adviser to Trump, although the campaign downplayed his involvement.

The oil industry consultant whose financial dealings involve deep ties to Russia officially left the campaign last September amid scrutiny over one of his trips to Moscow.

Page has denied meeting with Russian officials on the trip and says the allegations leveled against him in an unsubstantiated dossier compiled by a British spy are false.

Page has been blanketing the airwaves to say he’s the subject of a witch hunt and a smear campaign. He has offered to speak with the House Intelligence Committee on the matter.