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Ryan Lucas

Ryan Lucas covers the Justice Department for NPR.

He focuses on the national security side of the Justice beat, including counterterrorism and 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.

The Biden Justice Department is forging ahead with a controversial legal effort started under former President Donald Trump to intervene on Trump's behalf in a defamation lawsuit brought against him by a writer who says Trump sexually assaulted her in the 1990s.

E. Jean Carroll leveled the accusations against Trump in her memoir published in 2019. Trump denied the allegations and accused Carroll of lying to sell books.

Don McGahn, who served as former President Donald Trump's first White House counsel and was a key witness for investigators during the Russia probe, is set to testify Friday before the House Judiciary Committee.

McGahn will sit down for a transcribed interview behind closed doors more than two years after the Democratic-led panel subpoenaed him for testimony about the Russia investigation and Trump's possible obstruction of justice.

A Florida man who stormed the U.S. Capitol and stood on the Senate floor during the Jan. 6 insurrection has become the second person to plead guilty in the federal investigation into the deadly riot.

Paul Hodgkins entered his plea during a virtual hearing Wednesday in federal court in Washington. The 38-year-old was originally facing five charges, but under a deal negotiated with prosecutors, he pleaded guilty to one count of obstructing an official proceeding.

Even in rough-and-tumble 21st-century Washington politics, the confirmation process for director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives can be brutal.

One former ATF agent once likened it to walking into a buzz saw.

Now, that same former agent, David Chipman, is President Biden's nominee to lead the ATF.

Federal agents have seized 68 lions, tigers and other big cats from the Oklahoma couple who took over an animal park featured in the Netflix documentary series Tiger King.

The Justice Department said Thursday that a jaguar and lion-tiger hybrids were also among the animals that authorities recovered from the Tiger King Park in Thackerville, Okla., over three days this month.

A former Florida politician who is a key figure in the investigation into Rep. Matt Gaetz will plead guilty to sex trafficking of a minor and other offenses and has agreed to cooperate with federal investigators.

According to a copy of a plea agreement filed in federal court Friday, Joel Greenberg will plead guilty to six charges: producing a false identification document, identity theft, wire fraud, stalking, conspiracy and sex trafficking of a minor.

An active-duty officer in the U.S. Marine Corps has been arrested and charged for allegedly assaulting police during the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by a mob of Trump supporters.

Maj. Christopher Warnagiris was arrested Thursday in Virginia and charged with five counts, including assaulting or impeding an officer, obstruction and unlawful entry. Officials say he is believed to be the first active-duty military service member to be charged in connection with the Capitol insurrection.

A federal judge has ordered two men who are charged with conspiracy for allegedly assaulting police officers during the Capitol riot to be detained pending trial.

Updated April 29, 2021 at 12:01 AM ET

Federal investigators in Manhattan executed a search warrant Wednesday at Rudy Giuliani's apartment as part of a probe into the former New York City mayor's activities involving Ukraine, his attorney told NPR.

A federal judge on Monday ordered two alleged leaders of the far-right extremist group the Proud Boys detained pending trial on conspiracy and other charges tied to the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly found that the evidence presented so far in the case weighs in favor of jailing Ethan Nordean and Joseph Biggs ahead of their trial. Both men had been released, but the government renewed its request to have them returned to custody after they were indicted.

Updated April 16, 2021 at 1:50 PM ET

A heavy metal musician and founding member of the Oath Keepers extremist group pleaded guilty Friday to charges connected to the storming of the U.S. Capitol and agreed to cooperate with investigators — a first in the massive probe into the deadly Jan. 6 assault.

In April of 2009, a bespectacled former Army paratrooper and Yale Law School graduate took the microphone at a small rally just outside of Boston to introduce his new self-styled militia.

"I'm Stewart Rhodes," he said. "And I'm the founder of Oath Keepers."

That event on Lexington Green served as a coming-out party for Rhodes and Oath Keepers, a group that touts itself as a defender of the rights of Americans from what it views as a tyrannical government.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Authorities investigating the attack on democracy January 6 are interested in the founder of the Oath Keepers. Stewart Rhodes started the far-right militia group. So who is he really? Here's NPR justice correspondent Ryan Lucas.

For nearly three months, federal investigators have been digging to get to the bottom of a major question hanging over the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol: Was it planned and coordinated?

The public has begun to see pieces of an answer to that question in recent weeks through court filings and statements from prosecutors. Those materials do not — at this point — show that those in the pro-Trump mob that stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 had a clear, coherent plan ahead of time to breach the building, according to an NPR review.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

NOEL KING, HOST:

Were the people in the pro-Trump mob that attacked the Capitol in January planning and coordinating that assault? This is a key question for investigators.

The founder of the Oath Keepers militia had a 97-second phone call with a senior member of the group who minutes later took part in a military-style "stack" formation with other Oath Keepers to breach the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, according to federal prosecutors.

The allegation emerged in court papers the Justice Department filed overnight in the case against 10 alleged members or associates of the Oath Keepers facing conspiracy and other charges in connection with the Capitol riot.

Updated March 24, 2021 at 12:13 PM ET

A member of the Oath Keepers paramilitary group who is charged with conspiracy in connection with the Capitol riot claimed to be coordinating with the Proud Boys and a far-right, self-styled militia to form an "alliance" on Jan. 6, according to court papers filed by the Justice Department.

A federal judge sharply criticized the Justice Department Tuesday for speaking to the press about its case against alleged members of the Oath Keepers paramilitary group facing conspiracy and other charges in connection with the Capitol insurrection.

"I called this hearing this afternoon to make clear to everyone that this case will not be tried in the media," U.S. District Court Judge Amit Mehta said. "If there are further public comments or stories of the kind that we've seen in the last 48 hours, I will not hesitate to consider a gag order."

Four alleged leaders of the Proud Boys have been indicted in connection with the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol over allegedly conspiring, including in discussions on encrypted messaging apps, to obstruct the certification of President Biden's Electoral College victory.

The indictment unsealed Friday charges the defendants — Ethan Nordean, Joseph Biggs, Zach Rehl and Charles Donohoe — with six counts, including obstruction of an official proceeding, obstruction of law enforcement, destruction of government property and conspiracy.

Updated March 18, 2021 at 2:34 PM ET

The FBI released a series of videos Thursday that show 10 people suspected of some of the most violent attacks on police officers during the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and asked the public for help identifying the assailants.

Federal prosecutors allege that the founder and leader of the Oath Keepers paramilitary group, Stewart Rhodes, was in direct communication — in the runup to Jan. 6 and then during the Capitol insurrection itself — with militia members who stormed the building.

The allegations emerged in court papers filed late Monday by the government in the case against Thomas Caldwell, an alleged Oath Keeper who along with eight other people is facing conspiracy and other federal charges in connection with the Jan. 6 insurrection.

The FBI has arrested a former mid-level State Department aide in the Trump administration for allegedly assaulting police officers while storming the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

Federico Klein, who also worked on the 2016 Trump campaign, was taken into custody on Thursday in Virginia. He is facing several charges, including obstructing an official proceeding, obstructing law enforcement and assaulting an officer with a dangerous weapon.

Updated at 6:41 p.m. ET

FBI Director Christopher Wray on Tuesday condemned the attack on the U.S. Capitol as "domestic terrorism," defended the bureau's handling of intelligence about potential threats ahead of the event and rejected conspiracy theories blaming left-wing extremists for the violence on Jan. 6.

Updated at 2:01 p.m. ET

The U.S. Supreme Court, in a one-sentence unsigned order, declined former President Donald Trump's request to further delay the enforcement of a subpoena from the Manhattan district attorney for Trump's financial records. Monday's order paves the way for a New York grand jury to obtain the records and review them.

Updated at 11:05 a.m. ET

President Biden's pick for attorney general, Merrick Garland, vowed Monday that protecting civil rights and combating domestic terrorism would be priorities for the Justice Department under his watch.

Garland, a widely respected judge who has served for more than 20 years on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, is testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Watch the hearing live.

Updated at 2:57 p.m. ET

The Justice Department announced charges Wednesday against three North Korean hackers for allegedly conducting a series of destructive cyberattacks, computer-enabled bank thefts and cryptocurrency heists around the world.

Updated at 2 p.m. ET

Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson is suing former President Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani and two far-right groups — the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers — for allegedly conspiring to incite the deadly violence on Jan. 6 at the U.S. Capitol.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

The opening day of the Senate impeachment trial was like living through January 6 all over again. And that was the point. The Democrats, leading the push for a conviction, played a graphic video, scenes of the mob storming the U.S. Capitol building.

Updated at 1 p.m. ET

Lawyers for Donald Trump are rejecting the House managers' case for convicting the former president, calling it unconstitutional "political theater" and urging the Senate to dismiss the case.

Updated at 5:57 p.m. ET

The House impeachment managers accuse Donald Trump of summoning a mob to Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6, whipping the crowd "into a frenzy" and then aiming them "like a loaded cannon" at the U.S. Capitol, pinning the blame for the deadly violence that ensued directly on the former president.

The allegations are contained in a memo delivered to the Senate that presents an outline of the case against Trump that House impeachment managers plan to present on Feb. 9 when the trial begins.

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