Ryan Lucas | WYPR

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.

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

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.

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."

Updated at 8:59 p.m. ET

The Senate Judiciary Committee is reviewing a statement from a third woman who has come forward with sexual misconduct allegations against Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

The allegations, from a woman identified as Julie Swetnick, were made public by attorney Michael Avenatti on Wednesday morning. Avenatti posted Swetnick's three-page sworn declaration on Twitter.

Updated at 7:03 p.m. ET

Michael Cohen, President Trump's former personal lawyer and fixer, has pleaded guilty to eight counts in federal court in New York, federal prosecutors announced Tuesday evening.

They include five counts of tax evasion, one count of falsifying submissions to a bank and two counts involving unlawful campaign contributions.

Updated at 6:26 p.m. ET

A federal jury on Tuesday found Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, guilty on eight of the 18 charges he faced in his tax and bank fraud trial.

The verdict delivered a painful fall from grace for a top political operative who has advised presidents from Gerald Ford to Donald Trump and a shot in the arm to an investigation derided by President Trump as a "witch hunt."

Updated at 7 p.m. ET

Day 3 of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort's federal trial on bank and tax fraud charges began Thursday, in much the same way Wednesday ended: with prosecutors illustrating what Manafort spent his money on and, more important, the method he used to spend it.

Updated at 3:28 p.m. ET

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein clashed with Republican lawmakers in a contentious House Judiciary Committee hearing on Thursday as he challenged allegations that the Justice Department is hiding information from Congress.

A senior FBI official who has come under fire for sending politically charged text messages while working on the Hillary Clinton email investigation and the Trump-Russia probe has been escorted out of the FBI building.

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Telecom giant AT&T made a "big mistake" in paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to President Trump's personal lawyer to seek his help as the company pursued a merger that the administration opposed, the company said Friday.

CEO Randall Stephenson said in a message to employees that although he believes everything about the relationship with Michael Cohen was legal and "entirely legitimate," it represented a "serious misjudgment."

"In this instance, our Washington D.C. team's vetting process clearly failed, and I take responsibility for that," he wrote.

Updated at 5:08 p.m. ET

The document released this week that described millions of dollars' worth of payments to Donald Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen is rife with inaccuracies and may have depended upon leaked or stolen information, attorneys for Cohen charge.

As a businessman, Donald Trump was not shy about jumping into the trenches for litigious battles large and small. In fact, he seemed to almost relish the fight.

The game has changed, however, since Trump won the White House, and his enthusiasm for such scraps may have waned as the legal challenges facing him have piled up.

It's all a distraction, Trump says, from the real work of his administration.

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The U.S. government has been holding an American citizen in Iraq without charge for more than seven months. Yesterday, a federal judge blocked the government from transferring the man against his will to a third country.

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The FBI raids on Monday targeting President Trump's longtime personal attorney, Michael Cohen, sent a jolt through Washington and darkened the legal cloud hanging over the administration.

Trump lashed out at the Justice Department and special counsel Robert Mueller, telling reporters that "it's a disgraceful situation" and "an attack on our country."

On Tuesday, Trump zeroed in on a particular angle of the raid: the seizure of privileged communications between Cohen and his legal clients, the most prominent of whom, of course, is the president.

As a federal prosecutor in New York and Virginia, Mary Daly worked narcotics cases involving gangs and international drug traffickers. Now, she's the Justice Department's point person on the biggest drug case of all—the opioid crisis that is killing an average of 115 Americans every day.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions appointed Daly, 40, to the newly created post of opioid coordinator in February, making her the hub for the Justice Department's efforts to try to get a grip on the epidemic.

Updated at 10:09 p.m. ET

Attorney General Jeff Sessions says he is not appointing — for now — a second special counsel to investigate allegations of wrongdoing by the FBI and Justice Department, telling Republican lawmakers that he has already asked a veteran prosecutor to look into the matter.

Republicans on Capitol Hill, including the chairmen of the Senate and House judiciary committees, have ramped up their push in recent weeks for a second special counsel to investigate what they say was misconduct by the FBI and Justice Department in 2016 and 2017.

The Justice Department's internal watchdog says it will launch a review in response to allegations by Republican lawmakers that the department and the FBI abused their surveillance authorities to target a former Trump campaign adviser in the early days of the DOJ's Russia investigation.

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Updated at 12:12 p.m. ET

The Trump administration imposed new sanctions against Russia on Thursday, slapping punitive measures on 19 people and five entities over their alleged role in Moscow's interference in the 2016 election and other "destructive" cyberattacks.

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