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Miles Parks

Miles Parks is a reporter and producer on NPR's Washington Desk. He covers election interference and voting infrastructure and reports on breaking news.

Miles joined NPR as the 2014-15 Stone & Holt Weeks Fellow. Since then, he's investigated FEMA's efforts to get money back from Superstorm Sandy victims, profiled budding rock stars, and produced for all three of NPR's weekday news magazines.

A graduate of the University of Tampa, Miles also previously covered crime and local government for The Washington Post and The Ledger in Lakeland, Fla.

In his spare time, Miles likes playing, reading and thinking about basketball. He wrote The Washington Post's obituary of legendary women's basketball coach Pat Summitt.

You can contact Miles at mparks@npr.org.

Updated at 8:53 p.m. ET

Prosecutors in Paul Manafort's bank and tax fraud trial did not rest their case on Friday as had been expected earlier.

Instead, they called a witness to the stand who highlighted the sometimes murky line for Manafort between the personal and the political, and they said they expected to call one or two more witnesses on Monday before resting then.

Updated at 7:05 p.m. ET

Paul Manafort's former business partner Rick Gates concluded three sometimes punishing days of testimony in Manafort's bank and tax fraud trial on Wednesday as prosecutors and defense lawyers battled over his credibility.

Gates spent the early part of the week corroborating prosecutors' version of events, but Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning, he endured a bruising cross-examination by Manafort's defense that touched on his admitted financial crimes and an extramarital affair.

Updated at 8:23 p.m. ET

Paul Manafort's former business partner Rick Gates underwent hours of brutal cross-examination on Tuesday in a vicious courtroom battle over his credibility.

Gates is the marquee witness in the government's case against Manafort, who stands charged with bank and tax fraud.

After Gates described the intricate financial web he says he and Manafort spun to commit financial fraud together, defense attorneys battered Gates with questions about an extramarital affair and asked why anyone should put any stock in what he says now.

Updated at 6:23 p.m. ET

Paul Manafort's former business partner Rick Gates took the witness stand on Monday for the most highly anticipated — and likely crucial — testimony in Manafort's trial on bank and tax fraud charges.

Gates worked as Manafort's right-hand man over the past decade, and prosecutors say he helped Manafort evade taxes and lie to banks to qualify for loans.

Bank and tax fraud trials normally aren't very compelling theater.

When it's the former campaign chairman for the current president of the United States, however, and it's the first trial brought by a special counsel tasked with investigating Russian interference in American democracy, things are a bit more interesting.

Updated at 7:34 p.m. ET

After an initial focus on Paul Manafort's lavish spending, including on luxury suits and home landscaping, the former Trump campaign chairman's trial has now moved squarely into the heart of his alleged financial crimes

On Day 4 of the federal trial Friday in Alexandria, Va., jurors heard from two of Manafort's former tax accountants, Cindy Laporta and Philip Ayliff. Their testimony directly addressed the bank and tax fraud charges the government has brought against Manafort.

Updated at 6:15 p.m. ET

President Trump asked his attorney general to stop Robert Mueller's special counsel investigation Wednesday morning, as the first trial stemming from that investigation entered its second day.

Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign chairman, is on trial in Alexandria, Va., for bank and tax fraud charges, not, as Trump noted in a Twitter thread Wednesday morning, for "collusion."

When Russian hackers targeted the staff of Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., they took aim at maybe the most vulnerable sector of U.S. elections: campaigns.

McCaskill's Senate staff received fake emails, as first reported by The Daily Beast, in an apparent attempt by Russia's GRU intelligence agency to gain access to passwords. McCaskill released a statement confirming the attack but said there is no indication the attack was successful.

House Republicans confronted two of President Trump's top economic advisers on trade on Thursday, while also breathing a sigh of relief after the administration's decision to begin easing tensions with Europe a day earlier.

Winter in Wisconsin is tough.

So tough, in fact, that living creatures might go searching for shelter in unlikely places.

House Speaker Paul Ryan explained Thursday that a family of woodchucks moved into his Chevy Suburban recently, eating the wiring and rendering the car useless.

"My car was eaten by animals," Ryan said, to laughs from an audience at an event hosted by The Economic Club of Washington D.C. "It's just dead."

President Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani said Sunday that the president's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, "should cooperate" with prosecutors, and that if he tells the truth, Trump has nothing to worry about.

Giuliani made the television rounds Sunday morning, appearing on three different programs, as speculation grew louder last week that Cohen was inching closer to criminal charges and possibly working out a deal with prosecutors.

"Michael Cohen should cooperate with the government," Giuliani said on ABC's This Week.

Updated at 6:40 p.m. ET

First lady Melania Trump made an unannounced trip to the Southern U.S. border Thursday to visit children who entered the country illegally and see the centers where they are being detained.

The trip comes a day after President Trump signed an executive order ending his controversial policy of family separation for migrant families detained as they're crossing into the U.S. illegally at the Southern border.

Updated at 6:29 p.m. ET

Michael Horowitz, the Justice Department's inspector general, returned to Capitol Hill on Tuesday to take questions from lawmakers hoping to put their spin on the report his office released last week.

The nearly 600-page report is a comprehensive look at the Justice Department's handling of its investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server in 2016.

When Congress approved giving $380 million to states to bolster the security of their elections, state officials were caught off guard but extremely grateful. Elections are notoriously underfunded and haven't seen a windfall like this from the federal government in more than a decade.

But getting that money out to all the states, and then into the hands of localities that run the elections, with enough time to have a meaningful effect on the 2018 midterm elections is a difficult proposition.

Updated at 7:02 p.m. ET

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz and FBI Director Christopher Wray headed to Capitol Hill Monday for a grilling from senators — that quickly turned partisan — about the inspector general's scathing report on the FBI's mishandling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation in 2016.

Updated at 4:28 p.m. ET

The Trump administration's decision to separate children from their families as a way to curb illegal immigration is adding fuel to an already fiery debate over immigration.

A group of House Democrats converged on an immigration detention facility in New Jersey on Sunday, days before a planned vote by House Republicans next week. Meanwhile, Trump administration officials alternately took credit and sought to distance the administration from the family separation policy.

Updated at 11:23 p.m. ET

After one White House adviser said there was "a special place in hell" for foreign leaders like Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and another said Trudeau "stabbed us in the back," Canadian leaders offered a measured — even polite — response.

Roger Stone, a longtime adviser of President Trump, complained of partisan behavior by special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation on Sunday, but also speculated that he could be under investigation by Mueller for a crime unrelated to coordinating with Russia leading up to the 2016 presidential election.

"It is not inconceivable now that Mr. Mueller and his team may seek to conjure up some extraneous crime, pertaining to my business, or maybe not even pertaining to the 2016 election," Stone said, in an appearance on NBC's Meet The Press.

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

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

When a WWE wrestler, especially one known for his demonic antics and a move called the "tombstone piledriver," runs for mayor of your county, you know your election is going to get more attention than usual.

But in Knox County, Tenn., it wasn't the fact that Glenn Jacobs, also known to wrestling fans as Kane, was running for mayor that gained national attention on the county primary day, May 1.

As America heads toward the 2018 midterms, there is an 800-pound gorilla in the voting booth.

Despite improvements since Russia's attack on the 2016 presidential race, the U.S. elections infrastructure is vulnerable — and will remain so in November.

Cybersecurity expert Bruce Schneier laid out the problem to an overflowing room full of election directors and secretaries of state — people charged with running and securing elections — at a conference at Harvard University this spring.

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

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

We're about to be in the thick of primary season. Voters are deciding the candidates for November's midterm elections. Four states vote tomorrow, with another four next week.

President Trump's personal attorney, Michael Cohen, has dropped a pair of defamation lawsuits he filed after BuzzFeed News published the infamous Russia dossier last year.

The embattled lawyer isn't conceding anything about the substance of what was detailed in the dossier, which is unverified, but says he has too much else on his plate to proceed now that he is dealing with a federal court case in New York.

"The decision to voluntarily discontinue these cases was a difficult one," said a lawyer for Cohen, David Schwartz.

Updated at 5:54 p.m. EDT

Donald Trump's longtime attorney Michael Cohen also has been representing Fox News host Sean Hannity, it emerged in federal court on Monday.

Federal judge Kimba Wood ordered an attorney for Cohen to reveal the identity of a client that Cohen's team had withheld in earlier court documents as part of a dispute over evidence seized by the FBI from Cohen's home and office earlier this month.

Updated at 11:55 p.m. ET

Just a few hours before James Comey's first television appearance ahead of his new book's release, President Trump published a string of tweets calling Comey a "slimeball" and saying the notes the former FBI director says he took were "fake."

At an event billed as a roundtable discussion about taxes in West Virginia, President Trump went off script Thursday afternoon, and notably repeated a claim about voter fraud that has repeatedly been proven false.

"In many places, like California, the same person votes many times — you've probably heard about that," Trump said. "They always like to say 'oh that's a conspiracy theory' — not a conspiracy theory folks. Millions and millions of people."

Updated on April 2 at 9:42 a.m. ET

More than 30,000 people are expected for this year's White House Easter Egg Roll, and you can be pretty sure at least one of them will be wearing a terrifying bunny costume.

The tradition of rolling eggs on the White House's South Lawn began 140 years ago, officially dating back to Rutherford B. Hayes's administration.

The massive spending bill President Trump signed into law on Friday includes enough money to replace voting machines that leave no paper trail, a top priority for many election officials and cybersecurity experts. But according to a new analysis, it seems unlikely that's how the money will be spent.

Updated at 5:57 p.m. ET

Swing states, and even individual precincts within those states, present a significant point of vulnerability when it comes to the threat of election interference because of their potential to impact the result in a presidential race, the current secretary of the Department of Homeland Security and one of her key predecessors both told senators Wednesday.

Updated at 3:46 p.m. EDT

State elections officials need more funding and better safeguards against cyberattacks in order to prepare to defend the 2018 midterm elections, according to new Senate intelligence committee recommendations on Tuesday.

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