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 3:37 p.m. ET

An American citizen suspected of becoming a sniper and weapons trainer for the Islamic State has been brought back to the United States and charged with aiding the terrorist group.

The charges against Ruslan Maratovich Asainov are contained in a criminal complaint unsealed Friday in federal court in the Eastern District of New York.

Updated at 3:14 p.m. ET

Donald Trump took part in phone calls with his then-personal lawyer Michael Cohen as the attorney and other aides scrambled to arrange hush payments to a woman in 2016 to buy her silence about an alleged sexual relationship with Trump.

Those details come from hundreds of pages of court papers — warrant applications, affidavits and other related materials — made public on Thursday.

A federal judge on Tuesday barred President Trump's longtime informal adviser, Roger Stone, from posting on Instagram or other social media platforms through the end of his trial.

Judge Amy Berman Jackson concluded that Stone had violated an earlier gag order with a series of social media posts and media contacts over the past several months.

"Mr. Stone, what am I supposed to do with you?" Jackson said during a more than two-hour hearing. "Whether the problem is you can't follow simple orders or won't, I need to help you out."

Judges on a federal appeals court grilled President Trump's lawyer and the counsel for the House of Representatives on Friday over Trump's effort to block a subpoena ordering his accounting firm to turn over financial records.

The Democratic-led House oversight committee requested the information from Trump's longtime accounting firm, Mazars USA, in April. The panel's subpoena seeks financial records and other documents related to Trump's personal and business finances dating to 2011.

Updated at 5:14 p.m. ET

Former White House communications director Hope Hicks declined to answer questions related to her time in the Trump administration during her closed-door testimony on Capitol Hill Wednesday, frustrating Democrats and leading some to say they will go to court to compel her testimony.

The session lasted eight hours and included a one-hour lunch break.

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Updated at 11:47 a.m. ET

A Russian woman who plotted to infiltrate conservative political circles and open back channel lines of communication as part of an unofficial influence campaign was sentenced to 18 months in prison on Friday.

Maria Butina pleaded guilty in December to one count of conspiracy to act as a Russian agent in the U.S. without registering with the Justice Department. She faced up to five years in prison.

Members of Congress and the public can finally read what special counsel Robert Mueller and his team of investigators found in their 22-month probe into Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election.

There is a catch, however: Readers cannot see every word, sentence and paragraph in the massive document.

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It has been roughly 22 months since special counsel Robert Mueller began his investigation into the 2016 election. Along the way, he's charged 34 people, including 25 Russians. More than seven have been found guilty of crimes.

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We're expecting a redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller's report to be released tomorrow. Lawmakers and the public alike will get the chance to read for themselves what the special counsel unearthed, disregarded and concluded. And while fights over the report are going to keep going, this release is the culmination of investigations that go back nearly three years, reaching across continents and into President Trump's inner circle. NPR justice reporter Ryan Lucas takes us back to the beginning.

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Updated April 3 at 9:33 a.m. ET

A woman carrying two Republic of China passports has been charged after allegedly lying to Secret Service agents to gain access to President Trump's private Mar-a-Lago club while he was there last weekend.

The woman, Yujing Zhang, has been charged with making false statements and illegally entering a restricted area.

Information about her case appeared in a criminal complaint that became public on Tuesday.

President Trump's onetime campaign chairman Paul Manafort is due back in federal court on Wednesday for sentencing in his criminal case in Washington, D.C.

The hearing in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia comes less than a week after Manafort was sentenced to just under four years in prison in a federal case in Virginia.

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Seven months ago, a jury convicted President Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, in a bank and tax fraud trial that grabbed the national spotlight.

On Thursday, a federal judge is scheduled to sentence Manafort for those crimes.

Manafort was found guilty on two counts of bank fraud, five counts of tax fraud and one count of failing to declare a foreign bank account. The jury did not reach a unanimous decision on 10 other charges.

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In his books and speeches, President Trump has often promoted the power of walking away from a deal. And that is what he did in Vietnam today, ending a summit early with the leader of North Korea.

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Michael Cohen intends to give Congress an account of what he calls President Trump's "lies, racism and cheating" — including lawbreaking since Trump took office, a person familiar with his plans said on Tuesday.

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Updated at 6:34 p.m. ET

A federal judge on Thursday barred Roger Stone from talking publicly about his case after an inflammatory photo was posted on his Instagram account of the judge that included what appeared to be a crosshairs.

Judge Amy Berman Jackson rejected apologies offered by Stone, both in writing and in person at a hearing in Washington, D.C. If Stone violates the order, Jackson warned him, she would be "compelled to adjust your environment."

Updated at 1:38 p.m. ET

A former U.S. Air Force counterintelligence specialist who defected to Iran has been charged with providing classified information to the Islamic Republic, according to an indictment unsealed Wednesday by the Justice Department.

Monica Witt, who was born and raised in Texas, allegedly provided Iranian security officials with the code name and classified mission of a U.S. Defense Department special access program.

In May 2014, then-Attorney General Eric Holder announced charges against five members of the Chinese military.

They'd allegedly hacked the computer networks of American companies and stolen everything from intellectual property and trade secrets to the firms' litigation strategies.

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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.

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