Listen

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.

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

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

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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.

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

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

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

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

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.

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.

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

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

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.

Updated at 3:30 p.m. ET

As students staged a national walkout Wednesday morning over gun violence, senior federal officials sat down for a grilling from Congress over law enforcement's failure to act on tips about the suspect in last month's school shooting in Parkland, Fla.

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

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Updated Saturday 11:10 a.m. ET

President Trump has pardoned a former Navy sailor who pleaded guilty to illegally retaining photographs he had taken of classified areas inside a nuclear submarine.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced the pardon for Kristian Saucier on Friday.

Updated at 3:05 p.m. ET

The House intelligence committee should speak with two individuals who attended a secret meeting in the Seychelles with a Russian official in January 2017, the panel's top Democrat said Thursday amid new reports about what transpired during the secret tête-à-tête.

Updated at 8:32 p.m. ET

A federal grand jury unveiled new charges on Thursday against Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his business associate Rick Gates, accusing them of a broader range of financial crimes.

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

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

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

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Updated at 5:43 p.m. ET

After days of buildup amid a political firestorm, House Republicans released a controversial memo on Friday that alleges the FBI abused its surveillance authority to target a former foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign.

The memo also has shed more light on the broader Russia case and confirmed or advanced other aspects of the story beyond the GOP's campaign against the FBI and Department of Justice.

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

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Joining us now with the latest on that classified memo is NPR justice reporter Ryan Lucas. Hi, Ryan.

RYAN LUCAS, BYLINE: Hello there.

Updated at 3:34 p.m. ET

President Trump could notify Congress as soon as Friday that he endorses releasing the controversial memo that alleges the FBI and Justice Department abused their surveillance powers.

That would set the stage for it to become public, perhaps that afternoon, although the procedure is unclear.

Democrats went on the attack Thursday trying to stop the process and even to get rid of the man who has driven it, Trump ally Devin Nunes, the Republican chairman of the House intelligence committee.

Updated at 3:30 a.m. ET Thursday

The FBI clashed with the White House on Wednesday over the much discussed Republican memo that alleges the bureau abused its surveillance powers. The bureau said it has "grave concerns" about the "accuracy" of the document that the president supports making public.

Meanwhile, the ranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee, which voted to release the memo, says Republicans secretly made "material changes" to the document after the decision to make it public.

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

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Updated at 3:39 p.m. EST on Jan. 24

The hottest thing on Capitol Hill this week is a document that no one in the outside world is allowed to see.

A secret four-page memorandum prepared by the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee has become a rallying cry for Republicans waging a sustained campaign against the FBI and the Justice Department.

The document, pulled together by Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., alleges that the Obama administration abused the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act in targeting the Trump campaign.

Updated at 2:17 p.m. ET

Attorney General Jeff Sessions was interviewed last week by special counsel Robert Mueller as part of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Sessions is the first member of President Trump's Cabinet known to have been questioned by the special counsel's office in its investigation into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Moscow.

Justice Department spokesman Ian Prior confirmed Sessions' interview to NPR on Tuesday. Sessions cooperated voluntarily.

It has been called a "criminal cabal" rife with corruption. It's been said that its leaders need to be taken out in "handcuffs." And its reputation, one high-placed official has charged, is "in tatters."

The FBI has come under criticism before, but the ongoing barrage of allegations has left its current and former officials shaken. It also has fueled concerns that the bureau's reputation with the public could begin to crumble.

Updated at 6:50 p.m. ET

The nation's top spy bosses scrambled to the White House early Thursday to urge President Trump to restate his support for a controversial surveillance law after he spent the morning trashing it on Twitter.

CIA Director Mike Pompeo, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, White House chief of staff John Kelly and national security adviser H.R. McMaster all convened in the Oval Office with the president to urge him to row back his criticism. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., also joined in by telephone.

Updated at 4:45 p.m. ET

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is scrapping Obama-era guidelines that essentially removed marijuana from the list of federal drug enforcement priorities as more states legalized it.

In guidance issued Thursday, Sessions rescinded those policies and instead will permit individual U.S. attorneys to decide how aggressively to go after marijuana in their jurisdictions.

Sessions, a former Alabama senator, has long viewed pot as a public menace and a source of street crime.

Pages