Ryan Lucas

Ryan Lucas covers the Justice Department for NPR.

He focuses on the national security side of the Justice beat, including counterterrorism, counterintelligence and the investigations into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. Lucas also covers a host of other justice issues, including the Trump administration's "tough-on-crime" agenda and its fight against sanctuary city policies.

Before joining NPR, Lucas worked for a decade as a foreign correspondent for The Associated Press based in Poland, Egypt and Lebanon. In Poland, he covered the fallout from the revelations about secret CIA prisons in Eastern Europe. In the Middle East, he reported on the ouster of Hosni Mubarak in 2011 and the turmoil that followed. He also covered the Libyan civil war, the Syrian conflict and the rise of the Islamic State. He reported from Iraq during the U.S. occupation and later during the Islamic State takeover of Mosul in 2014.

He also covered intelligence and national security for Congressional Quarterly.

Lucas earned a bachelor's degree from The College of William and Mary, and a master's degree from Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland.

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Updated at 5:38 p.m. ET

The Justice Department unsealed criminal charges against China's most important telecommunications company on Monday, in a deepening of the ongoing geopolitical chill across the Pacific Ocean.

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker said Huawei has been indicted on 13 criminal counts and that he is requesting that Canada extradite its chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, who was arrested in Vancouver on Dec. 1 on a U.S. warrant.

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A Russian lawyer who met with senior Trump campaign officials at Trump Tower in the summer of 2016 has been charged with obstruction of justice tied to a money laundering case in New York.

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan announced the single criminal count against the attorney, Natalia Veselnitskaya, on Tuesday. The allegation in the indictment suggests she has close ties to the Russian government — something she has previously denied in the context of the special counsel's Russia investigation.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein continues to oversee special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation even though acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker has decided not to recuse himself, the Justice Department says.

President Trump tapped Whitaker, who had been serving as then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions' chief of staff, to lead the Justice Department on an interim basis after Sessions stepped down under pressure from the White House.

Updated at 2:30 p.m. ET

The Justice Department announced charges Thursday against two alleged hackers suspected of working on the orders of the Chinese government as part what the U.S. alleges is a long-running effort to steal American intellectual property.

The charges were part of a broader move by the Trump administration to push back against what U.S. officials describe as China's relentless drive to steal American business secrets.

The Trump administration is banning bump stocks, the firearm attachment that allows a semiautomatic weapon to shoot almost as fast as a machine gun.

The devices, also known as slide fires, came under intense scrutiny after they were used by the gunman who opened fire on a country music concert in Las Vegas last year, killing 58 people.

The massacre touched off a public outcry, including from some lawmakers, for the accessories to be banned.

Two new reports produced for Senate investigators say that Russian influence efforts infected every major social media platform, extensively targeted African-Americans and amounted to what researchers called a "propaganda war against American citizens."

The reports, which were drawn up by private cybersecurity firms on behalf of the Senate intelligence committee, offer the most comprehensive look yet at Russia's online influence operations.

They are based on information provided by the panel and the social media companies themselves.

Updated at 4:13 p.m. ET

A federal judge sentenced Donald Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen to three years in prison on Wednesday following Cohen's guilty pleas to a number of political and finance crimes.

Those three years would be followed by three years of supervised release, and Cohen also is subject to forfeiture of $500,000, restitution of $1.4 million and fines totaling $100,000.

Cohen had asked for leniency. He said in court, however, that he accepts responsibility for his actions.

Updated at 8:51 p.m. ET

Federal prosecutors have requested a "substantial term of imprisonment" for Donald Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen but asked that a judge consider his cooperation with the special counsel's Russia probe and other investigations in his sentencing.

Updated at 1:33 p.m. ET

President Trump said Friday that he intends to nominate William Barr, a prominent Republican lawyer and former attorney general, to return and lead the Justice Department.

Barr, who served as George H.W. Bush's attorney general from 1991 to 1993, holds sweeping views of executive power and hard-line positions on criminal justice issues.

"He was my first choice from Day 1," Trump told reporters outside the White House. "I think he will serve with great distinction."

Friday is shaping up as a busy day in the Justice Department's Russia investigation.

Special counsel Robert Mueller faces deadlines in two federal courts in cases involving two former Trump insiders, a former FBI director treks up to Capitol Hill for a closed-door interview, and a onetime Trump campaign adviser gets out of prison.

Here's a quick breakdown of what's on tap for the day:

Mueller's office to detail Paul Manafort's alleged lies

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For many Americans, "impeachment" could become the term du jour if Democrats take control of the House in next week's midterm election. But party leaders say they want to focus on a different I-word: investigations.

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and her lieutenants say they want to embrace the significant oversight powers that Democrats would gain in the majority.

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In January, Border Patrol agents walked up to a ramshackle old building on the outskirts of a small town in Arizona's Sonoran Desert. They found three men.

Two were Central Americans who had crossed the border illegally. The third was an American — a university lecturer and humanitarian activist named Scott Warren.

Warren was arrested and ultimately charged with two federal criminal counts of harboring illegal migrants and one count of conspiracy to harbor and transport them. Warren has pleaded not guilty.

Updated at 4:55 p.m. ET

The Justice Department unsealed charges Wednesday against a suspected Chinese spy for allegedly conducting economic espionage and trying to steal trade secrets from U.S. aerospace companies.

The alleged Chinese intelligence officer, Yanjun Xu, was extradited to the United States on Tuesday from Belgium, where he was arrested in April at Washington's request.

His extradition marks what appears to be the first time that a Chinese spy has been brought to the U.S. to face prosecution, according to U.S. officials.

FBI special agents spoke with nine people as they investigated allegations of sexual misconduct against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, the White House said on Thursday.

Administration officials declined to detail who had spoken with investigators, but some of the people involved, or their lawyers, have talked on their own about whether or not they have given interviews to the FBI.

Updated at 10:12 p.m. ET

Judge Brett Kavanaugh issued a mea culpa of sorts on the eve of a key Senate vote that could determine whether or not he reaches the Supreme Court, admitting in an op-ed that his testimony last week forcefully defending himself from sexual assault allegations "might have been too emotional at times."

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