Ryan Lucas

Ryan Lucas covers the Justice Department for NPR.

He focuses on the national security side of the Justice beat, including counterterrorism, counterintelligence. Lucas also covers a host of other justice issues, including the Trump administration's "tough-on-crime" agenda and anti-trust enforcement.

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 9:58 a.m. ET

Federal prisons are wrestling with the rapid spread of the coronavirus at more than two dozen facilities across the country in an outbreak that has already claimed the lives of at least seven inmates and infected almost 200 more, as well as 63 staff.

One of the hardest-hit so far is the Federal Correctional Complex in Oakdale, La., located about a three-hour drive west of New Orleans. It's home to two low-security prisons and a minimum security camp, which all told house some 2,000 inmates.

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The Department of Justice's internal watchdog has found "apparent errors or inadequately supported facts" in more than two dozen FBI wiretap applications to the secretive domestic surveillance court.

Those findings come from an initial audit by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz of 29 FBI applications to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, also known as the FISA court.

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The U.S. government has charged Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro with drug trafficking. Attorney General Bill Barr announced the charges earlier this morning. Here he is.

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Businesses controlled by the president, senior executive branch officials or members of Congress will be barred from receiving funds under the huge economic rescue package the Senate could vote on as early as Wednesday, according to the Senate's top Democrat.

As COVID-19 begins to hit jails and lockups around the country, the Trump administration is coming under growing pressure to release elderly and other particularly vulnerable inmates in the federal prison system to mitigate the risk of the virus' spread.

Already, three inmates and three staff at federal correctional facilities across the United States have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons. In detention centers at the state and local level, including in New York City's jail system, confirmed cases of COVID-19 are on the rise.

Conducting more witness interviews over the phone. Staggering work hours to keep physical distance from co-workers. Wearing protective masks and gloves when executing search warrants or making arrests.

Those are just some of the ways in which the FBI is adjusting to the coronavirus outbreak and the sweeping changes it has imposed on all facets of American life.

The bureau's headquarters in Washington issued a memo to all employees this week that spelled out how the agency will adapt to the new reality.

The Justice Department has dropped its prosecution of two Russian firms linked to interference in the 2016 election after accusing them of gaming the U.S. legal system.

The companies, Concord Management and Consulting LLC and Concord Catering, were indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller as part of the investigation into Moscow's campaign of active measures.

Federal courthouses across the United States are taking steps large and small — including postponing trials and moving courtroom hearings to video conferences — as officials scramble to curtail public gatherings and limit the spread of the coronavirus.

The impact on the federal court system is just one of a thousand ways in which the virus is dramatically altering life in the U.S. and across the world.

Sporting events have been canceled, restaurants ordered temporarily shut to dine-in customers and schools have been told to close for weeks.

Updated at 7:40 p.m. ET

Three domestic surveillance tools used by the FBI in counterterrorism investigations look all but certain to lapse--at least temporarily--after the Senate failed to vote to renew them before they expire this weekend.

The authorities, which the intelligence community says are critical to national security, are set to lapse on Sunday without action by Congress. The Senate adjourned on Thursday evening until Monday without resolving the matter, signaling that the surveillance tools will likely expire.

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A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that the Justice Department must give House lawmakers secret grand jury materials from former special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation.

The 2-1 decision from a three-judge panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit upholds a district court ruling from last year and gives House Democrats a victory in their ongoing legal battles with the Trump administration.

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House Democrats on Friday asked the attorney general to turn over documents and to permit more than a dozen current and former employees to testify in connection with a probe of "improper political interference" at the Justice Department.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler made the request in a four-page letter to Attorney General William Barr — the latest chapter in a tumultuous stretch for the Justice Department that has raised concerns on Capitol Hill and in the legal community about the possible politicization of the department.

Updated at 8:01 p.m. ET

A federal judge in Washington on Tuesday heard arguments from Roger Stone's lawyers and federal prosecutors on the longtime Republican operative's bid for a new trial based on his allegations of juror misconduct.

Amy Berman Jackson has worked in the Washington, D.C., legal world for more than 30 years — as a federal prosecutor, white collar defense attorney and now district court judge.

But it is her current work presiding over several prosecutions stemming from the Russia investigation, including the case against President Trump's longtime friend and informal adviser, Roger Stone, that have put Jackson in the public spotlight on the national stage.

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Attorney General William Barr has told people close to him that he has considered resigning over his growing frustration with President Trump and the president's public statements about the Justice Department and its ongoing cases, an administration official tells NPR.

It is unclear whether the attorney general ever informed the president he was considering quitting, and for now, Barr remains at the department's helm. A spokeswoman says he has "no plans to resign."

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We know that Attorney General William Barr did not appreciate President Trump publicly commenting on the work of the Justice Department.

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Does the president have the right to weigh in on a criminal case? President Trump says via Twitter that he does, but he adds, so far, he's chosen not to.

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Updated at 6:56 p.m. ET

Four federal prosecutors withdrew from the Roger Stone case on Tuesday, hours after the Justice Department took the unusual step of intervening in the case to seek a shorter sentence for the longtime ally of the president.

The four prosecutors who filed their papers with the court to withdraw are Aaron Zelinsky, Jonathan Kravis, Adam Jed and Michael Marando.

Attorney General William Barr has issued new restrictions on opening investigations into politically sensitive individuals or entities, including a requirement that he approve any inquiry into a presidential candidate or campaign.

Barr outlined the new policies in a three-page memo obtained by NPR as the Democratic primaries are underway and the country gears up for November's presidential vote. The memo was first reported by The New York Times.

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