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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The number of hate crimes reported last year rose by 4.6 percent compared to the previous year, according to data released Monday by the FBI.

The total tally of hate crimes in 2016 was 6,121, compared to 5,850 in 2015. More than half of those incidents were motivated by the victim's race.

The FBI statistics are based on voluntary reporting by nearly 16,000 local law-enforcement agencies. Civil-rights groups, however, say the figures are deeply flawed because of what they say is systemic under-reporting.

A former national security adviser to the Trump campaign says he had concerns about Carter Page's visit to Moscow in the summer of 2016 — chief among them the possibility that he would embarrass the campaign.

J.D. Gordon also told NPR that Page as well George Papadopoulos, who recently pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his own Russia contacts, were marginal figures in the Trump world. Both men served as members of the then-candidate's foreign policy team, but they were not central figures with a meaningful voice, he said.

Former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page told a number of his campaign colleagues and supervisors about his dealings with Russians, he told members of Congress last week.

One of them was Jeff Sessions, then an Alabama senator and early Trump endorser and now the attorney general. Sessions has denied he was aware of anyone in the campaign communicating or dealing with Russians who were interfering with the election.

A federal judge on Thursday ordered President Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and his business associate Rick Gates to remain under home confinement and GPS monitoring for now.

U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson decided to keep in place the restrictions that were put on the two men at their initial court appearance on Monday. Jackson said the unsecured bonds set earlier this week — $10 million for Manafort and $5 million for Gates — may not be enough to ensure the two men remain in the court's jurisdiction. She set a bail hearing for Monday.

Facebook, Google and Twitter appeared in a Capitol Hill marathon before the Senate and then House Intelligence Committees. At today's hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee, the public got a clearer view of how Russia operated online to interfere in the 2016 presidential campaign.

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Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort on Monday was charged by the Mueller investigation into Russian interference in last year's U.S. election.

Manafort was charged along with his long time business associate, Rick Gates. In addition, George Papadopoulos, a former Trump campaign adviser, has pleaded guilty to making false statements to FBI agents about his contacts with Russians.

Updated at 4:20 p.m. ET

Apparent Russian agents began reaching out to Donald Trump's presidential campaign as early as March 2016, the Justice Department established in documents released Monday, with appeals for partnership and offers of help including "dirt" on Trump's opponent, Hillary Clinton.

That case is made in charging documents in the case of then-Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.

A long-simmering fight is back on this week over the role of the infamous Donald Trump dossier after a new report that confirmed that the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton's campaign helped fund it.

The battle over the unverified dossier is a crucial front in the broader political fight over the Trump White House, the public's perceptions of the president and his stunning election win.

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The Justice Department said Tuesday that it has indicted two Chinese nationals suspected of manufacturing and then distributing in the U.S. a synthetic opioid that officials say kills thousands of Americans every year.

The two suspects, Xiaobing Yan and Jian Zhang, face a raft of charges, including conspiracy to distribute large quantities of fentanyl and drugs with a similar chemical makeup in the U.S. through the mail or international delivery services.

Two weeks ago, bump stocks were just an odd-sounding firearm attachment largely unknown outside gun enthusiast circles.

That all changed early last week with the deadly shooting in Las Vegas, where police discovered a dozen of the devices in the shooter's hotel room overlooking the city's neon-lit Strip. Now, Republicans and Democrats in Congress, the National Rifle Association and other pro-gun groups are asking for a fresh look at the legality of bump stocks.

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The 2016 election is over, and yet Russia is still using social media to influence public opinion in the U.S. about all sorts of things.

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Attorney General Jeff Sessions had some things to say today about the intense national debate over protest and free speech. Instead of stadiums, though, Sessions focused on college campuses. NPR's Ryan Lucas has more.

If James Comey was looking for a smooth landing in his new job after his rocky departure from the FBI, he may not have found it as a lecturer at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

For more than nine months, Twitter and Facebook have tried to dodge the intense public scrutiny involved with the investigation into Russian interference in last year's presidential election.

Now they're in the spotlight.

Congressional investigators are digging in on Russia's use of Facebook, Twitter and other social media companies to try to influence the 2016 campaign.

Updated at 5:09 p.m. ET.

The Senate Intelligence Committee said it would require a longtime attorney for Donald Trump to appear in a future open session after his statement for a closed one on Tuesday began appearing beforehand in the press.

Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., and Vice Chairman Mark Warner, D-Va., said they had "postponed" a closed-door meeting between Michael Cohen and committee staffers.

Facebook's concession that it sold $100,000 in ads to Russian-linked accounts last year may be "just the tip of the iceberg" of how social networks were used to interfere in the election, warned the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, who is leading the Senate's investigation into Russia's election attack, said Thursday he has long believed that Moscow used overt social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to intervene in the 2016 election, as well as other covert tools such as cyberattacks.

Updated at 5:55 p.m. ET

Donald Trump Jr. told congressional investigators on Thursday that his June 2016 meeting with a Russian contingent after an offer of dirt on Hillary Clinton provided no useful information and was ultimately a waste of time.

In fact after it was over, Trump Jr. said, "I gave it no further thought."

The meeting, which took place at Trump Tower in New York City, has emerged as an important point of the investigations into potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia's interference in last year's election.

Donald Trump's long-serving personal lawyer issued a sweeping denial of allegations in a dossier that claims he played a pivotal role in a purported covert relationship between the Trump campaign and the Russian government during the 2016 election.

Michael Cohen delivered that rejection as congressional investigators and Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller forge ahead with their probes into Russia's interference in last year's presidential race.

Those investigations are looking into possible collusion between the Trump camp and the Kremlin.

Erik Prince has bounced around the American news universe for more than a decade. He first rose to prominence with his security firm Blackwater, which helped guard U.S. officials and government facilities overseas, most notably in Iraq. After selling the company in 2010, Prince fell off the U.S. radar for several years during which he helped establish a mercenary army for the United Arab Emirates.

A senior attorney for the Trump Organization has acknowledged sending an email to Russian President Vladimir Putin's personal spokesman during the 2016 presidential campaign about a possible real estate project in Moscow.

Michael Cohen said in a two-page statement provided to congressional investigators on Monday that he sent the email to Dmitry Peskov in January 2016 to seek his help securing government approval for a proposed Trump Tower in the Russian capital.

Updated at 12:52 p.m. ET

The Trump administration is lifting limits on the transfer of some surplus military hardware, including grenade launchers, bayonets and large-caliber weapons, to police departments.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions made the announcement in a speech on Monday to the Fraternal Order of Police conference in Nashville, Tenn. He said President Trump will issue an executive order that would restore in full a program that provides the military gear to local law enforcement.

Updated at 1:08 p.m. ET Aug. 24

Congress could authorize "top secret" security clearances for each state's chief election official to help protect voting systems from cyberattacks and other potential meddling.

That provision, which was part of the Senate Intelligence Committee's 2018 policy bill for U.S. spy agencies, is one of the first concrete steps that lawmakers have taken to try to defend future elections from the sort of foreign interference that plagued the 2016 presidential race.

Senate investigators met this week with the co-founder of the political research firm behind the explosive dossier of unsubstantiated and salacious material about President Trump's alleged ties with Russia.

Glenn Simpson, a former Wall Street Journal reporter who later helped found the private investigation firm Fusion GPS, sat down with Senate Judiciary Committee staff behind closed doors on Tuesday, congressional aides told NPR.

Los Angeles sued the Justice Department on Tuesday over the Trump administration's threat to cut millions in federal funding for so-called sanctuary cities, which limit their cooperation with federal authorities on immigration enforcement.

A member of Congress who's one of the staunchest defenders of Russia in American politics met with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in London on Wednesday.

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., spent around three hours with Assange talking at the Ecuadorean Embassy there, where Assange sought refuge in 2012 in the face of sexual assault charges in Sweden.