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Ryan Lucas

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.

Updated at 3:23 p.m. ET

A federal judge sentenced Roger Stone, a political adviser to President Trump, to more than three years in prison on Thursday amid an uproar about what critics call Trump's interference in the workings of justice.

Judge Amy Berman Jackson found herself in the middle of a political sandstorm as she and the parties closed in on sentencing for Stone following his conviction last year.

Stone also was ordered to pay a $20,000 fine and to serve two years of supervised release.

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."

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.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Even by the secretive standards of U.S. national security, the court that oversees government surveillance in terrorism and espionage investigations is cloaked in mystery.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, also known as the FISA Court — for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which governs it — operates completely out of sight.

That means secrecy surrounds every case in which the FBI goes to the court to get approval to wiretap an American — or foreigner — on U.S. soil who's suspected of spying for a foreign power or belonging to a terrorist group.

Updated at 5:22 p.m. ET

The Justice Department's internal watchdog determined the FBI had sufficient evidence to open the Russia investigation — but sharply criticized the bureau over its surveillance of a former adviser to the Trump campaign.

In his highly anticipated 400-page report, inspector general Michael Horowitz also says he found no evidence of political bias in the FBI's decision to launch its investigation into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Updated at 4:49 p.m. ET

Prosecutors could bring more charges in the case of two Soviet-born associates of Rudy Giuliani — although it wasn't precisely clear when, what or who else might be involved after a conference in New York City on Monday.

Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman face charges of conspiracy, false statements and falsification of records in connection with two alleged schemes to violate U.S. election laws. But it's their work helping Giuliani dig up dirt in Ukraine that has put the pair under intense public scrutiny.

Updated at 3:20 p.m. ET

Roger Stone, a veteran Republican political operative and longtime confidant of Donald Trump's, was found guilty of all counts by a federal jury in Washington, D.C., on Friday in his false statements and obstruction trial.

The verdict, announced after two days of deliberations by the jury of nine women and three men, adds another chapter to Stone's long and colorful history as a self-described dirty trickster.

When William Barr's name surfaced as a possible replacement for Jeff Sessions as attorney general, Republicans and Democrats alike greeted the news with a measure of relief.

If Barr took over he'd replace a frequent target of the president's ire in private, on Twitter and in television interviews.

As a prominent Republican lawyer who had served as attorney general before, Barr was viewed as an establishment figure who could restore stability to a Justice Department caught in the middle of Washington's bitter political fight over the Russia investigation.

Updated at 4:37 p.m. ET

The Justice Department's review of the origins of the Russia probe has become a criminal investigation, a source familiar with the matter confirmed to NPR.

It is unclear what prompted the shift from an administrative review to a formal criminal investigation, when the change took place or what potential crime is under investigation.

The change drew immediate criticism from Democrats, who have accused Attorney General William Barr of turning the Justice Department into a political weapon for President Trump.

Once a fixture on cable channels and Sunday news shows, President Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, has all but disappeared since two of his associates were arrested this month on campaign finance charges.

The former New York City mayor's sudden reticence may have been spurred by a concern about his own potential legal peril as his dealings reportedly come under scrutiny by federal investigators.

Updated at 7:15 p.m. ET

Two Florida-based businessmen who helped President Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani in his efforts to dig up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden in Ukraine have been arrested and charged with campaign finance violations in a separate matter.

Updated at 5:10 p.m. ET

Majority Democrats in the House subpoenaed President Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, on Monday for documents related to his communications with Ukraine.

The House Intelligence Committee issued a subpoena for information about the role Giuliani played in Trump's request of Ukraine's president to investigate the family of former Vice President Joe Biden.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

NOEL KING, HOST:

Updated at 5:25 p.m. ET

President Trump told Ukraine's president that "a lot of people want to find out" about the activities of former Vice President Joe Biden's family in Ukraine and asked its leader to be in touch with lawyer Rudy Giuliani and Attorney General Bill Barr.

That's according to a briefing for correspondents about the contents of the July 25 phone call, on Wednesday at the Justice Department.

One of America's most recent espionage cases started with a friendly hello over the Internet.

It ended with a jury in Virginia finding former CIA officer Kevin Mallory guilty of spying for China. The Mallory case — a rare counterintelligence investigation to go to trial — provides a lesson in how Chinese spies use social media to try to recruit or co-opt Americans.

For the head of the Justice Department's National Security Division, John Demers, it also highlights a broader point.

With the clock counting down to Election Day 2020, what are the FBI and other national security agencies doing to protect against the foreign interference that marred the 2016 campaign?

They say they're doing a lot.

Lessons learned

American officials acknowledge they were caught a bit flat-footed in 2016 by Russia's active measures operation. U.S. intelligence agencies saw various pieces of what the Russians were up to, officials say, but did not put it all together until it was too late.

Updated at 5:01 p.m. ET

A federal jury on Wednesday found the prominent Washington lawyer Greg Craig, who worked for two Democratic presidents, not guilty of making false statements to the Justice Department about work he did for the Ukrainian government.

Jurors acquitted Craig after only about five hours of deliberations following a 2 1/2-week trial.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Walter Yovany-Gomez evaded authorities for years before the FBI put him on its Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list.

Gomez, a member of the MS-13 street gang, was wanted in connection with a brutal murder in Plainfield, N.J., that took place in May 2011. Police almost nabbed him a month afterward — but Gomez jumped out a second-story window and escaped.

Investigators finally tracked him down and arrested him in August 2017 in a gym parking lot in Northern Virginia.

Former Obama White House counsel Greg Craig goes on trial Monday, accused of making false statements connected to work he did on behalf of powerful interests in Ukraine.

Updated at 3:59 p.m. ET

The Senate intelligence committee has released its report detailing Russia's targeting of election systems in 2016 along with recommendations for protecting American elections from foreign interference.

The committee's final report on election security appeared Thursday as the 2020 presidential race gets underway in what promises to be a bitter and divisive election battle.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

NOEL KING, HOST:

Updated at 3:37 p.m. ET

An American citizen suspected of becoming a sniper and weapons trainer for the Islamic State has been brought back to the United States and charged with aiding the terrorist group.

The charges against Ruslan Maratovich Asainov are contained in a criminal complaint unsealed Friday in federal court in the Eastern District of New York.

Updated at 3:14 p.m. ET

Donald Trump took part in phone calls with his then-personal lawyer Michael Cohen as the attorney and other aides scrambled to arrange hush payments to a woman in 2016 to buy her silence about an alleged sexual relationship with Trump.

Those details come from hundreds of pages of court papers — warrant applications, affidavits and other related materials — made public on Thursday.

A federal judge on Tuesday barred President Trump's longtime informal adviser, Roger Stone, from posting on Instagram or other social media platforms through the end of his trial.

Judge Amy Berman Jackson concluded that Stone had violated an earlier gag order with a series of social media posts and media contacts over the past several months.

"Mr. Stone, what am I supposed to do with you?" Jackson said during a more than two-hour hearing. "Whether the problem is you can't follow simple orders or won't, I need to help you out."

Judges on a federal appeals court grilled President Trump's lawyer and the counsel for the House of Representatives on Friday over Trump's effort to block a subpoena ordering his accounting firm to turn over financial records.

The Democratic-led House oversight committee requested the information from Trump's longtime accounting firm, Mazars USA, in April. The panel's subpoena seeks financial records and other documents related to Trump's personal and business finances dating to 2011.

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