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.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

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.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

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 5:55 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.

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.

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