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 8:15 p.m. ET

Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort is close to reaching a plea deal that would avert a trial scheduled to start later this month in Washington, D.C.

No details were immediately available about the charges to which Manafort might plead guilty or whether he might cooperate with prosecutors, according to a person familiar with the matter. The person asked not to be identified.

The tentative deal was first reported on Thursday evening by ABC News.

Updated at 6:09 p.m. ET

The Justice Department announced charges Thursday against a North Korean man in connection with a series of infamous cyberattacks, including the 2014 hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment and the WannaCry ransomware that paralyzed computers across the globe.

Park Jin Hyok was part of a hacking group that conducted some of the most destructive recent online attacks in the world, according to a criminal complaint unsealed Thursday.

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 7:59 p.m. ET

Jurors are set to begin deliberations in the trial of Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort after prosecutors and defense attorneys delivered their closing arguments on Wednesday.

Prosecutors worked to paint Manafort, who faces 18 tax and bank fraud charges, as a man engulfed in a sea of financial lies.

Defense attorneys countered that the government has failed to make a case beyond a reasonable doubt that he broke the law.

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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.

As a member of Congress, Dan Coats liked to get his name in the paper. Now that he's the country's top intelligence official, Coats said he prefers to stay out of the headlines.

But the director of national intelligence, who oversees the United States' sprawling spy agencies, has been front and center in the past week as he has pushed back against President Trump over Russia's interference in American elections.

FBI Director Christopher Wray said Wednesday that he stands by the U.S. intelligence agencies' assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 election, and he warned that the Kremlin has not stopped trying to undermine American democracy.

"My view has not changed, which is that Russia attempted to interfere with the last election and that it continues to engage in malign influence operations to this day," Wray said. "It's a threat that we need to take extremely seriously and respond to with fierce determination and focus."

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.

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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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A judge in New York state trial court has ordered that depositions in a lawsuit against President Trump must be complete by early next year, setting up a potential showdown over whether Trump must answer questions under oath.

New York State Supreme Court Judge Jennifer Schecter set the timeline on Tuesday for evidence and other procedures in the case brought by Summer Zervos, a former contestant on Trump's reality TV show The Apprentice.

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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 Comey memos are now out in the open. These are the contemporaneous notes that the former FBI director took after each of his interactions with President Trump. That's something Comey discussed in his public testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee last June.

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Tonight 15 pages of memos that former FBI director James Comey wrote after his conversations with President Trump have been turned over by the Justice Department to Congress. NPR's Ryan Lucas has been reading through them and joins us now. Hi, Ryan.

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