Carrie Johnson

Carrie Johnson is a Justice Correspondent for the Washington Desk.

She covers a wide variety of stories about justice issues, law enforcement and legal affairs for NPR's flagship programs Morning Edition and All Things Considered, as well as the Newscasts and NPR.org.

While in this role, Johnson has chronicled major challenges to the landmark voting rights law, a botched law enforcement operation targeting gun traffickers along the Southwest border, and the Obama administration's deadly drone program for suspected terrorists overseas.

Prior to coming to NPR in 2010, Johnson worked at the Washington Post for 10 years, where she closely observed the FBI, the Justice Department and criminal trials of the former leaders of Enron, HealthSouth and Tyco. Earlier in her career, she wrote about courts for the weekly publication Legal Times.

Outside of her role at NPR, Johnson regularly moderates or appears on legal panels for the American Bar Association, the American Constitution Society, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and others. She's talked about her work on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, PBS, and other outlets.

Her work has been honored with awards from the Society for Professional Journalists and the Society of American Business Editors and Writers. She has been a finalist for the Loeb award for financial journalism and for the Pulitzer Prize in breaking news for team coverage of the massacre at Fort Hood, Texas.

Johnson is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Benedictine University in Illinois.

Updated at 8:47 p.m. ET

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein denied an explosive report on Friday that said he discussed secretly recording President Trump at the White House and that he might seek to recruit members of the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment in order to remove Trump.

Rosenstein called the story "inaccurate and factually incorrect."

Updated at 2:49 p.m. ET

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort pleaded guilty on Friday and agreed to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller in his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Manafort entered his guilty plea to two felony counts during an hourlong hearing in federal court in Washington, D.C. The plea took place three days before he was to face trial on charges related to his lobbying work for Ukraine and alleged witness tampering.

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 6:30 p.m. ET

The man whose case helped launch the sprawling investigation of Russian election interference that has engulfed the White House was sentenced to 14 days in prison on Friday.

George Papadopoulos, 31, pleaded guilty last year to lying to the FBI to conceal his contacts with Russians and Russian intermediaries during the presidential campaign.

A federal judge also sentenced Papadopoulos to one year of supervised release and imposed a fine of $9,500.

President Trump was asked Friday whether he thinks Attorney General Jeff Sessions should investigate The New York Times column attributed to an administration official who wrote that Trump is unfit for office.

Yes, Trump said.

"I think so," he told reporters. "It's national security. I would say Jeff should be investigating who the author of that piece was because I really believe it's national security."

Prosecutors in Washington, D.C., have impaneled a grand jury to look into the case of former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who was fired from the bureau after investigators found he "lacked candor."

The Justice Department's internal watchdog referred McCabe to the U.S. attorney's office to determine whether he should face criminal charges in addition to having lost his job.

Prosecutors and grand jurors are reaching that determination now.

The U.S. attorney's office said on Thursday it would not confirm or deny any investigations.

Updated at 5:37 p.m. ET

Attorney General Jeff Sessions answered needling by President Trump on Thursday with a vow that as long as he runs the Justice Department, it won't be swayed by politics.

Sessions' statement was a rare broadside in response to TV and Twitter criticism by Trump of the department, which he and supporters accuse of perpetuating a "witch hunt" in the Russia investigation and going soft on Democrats.

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Updated at 7:33 p.m. ET

On the first day of Paul Manafort's trial, prosecutors sought to paint him as a man with absurdly extravagant taste who thought he was above the law, while the former Trump campaign manager's defense lawyers tossed blame onto one of his closest associates.

Most tax and bank fraud cases are built on stacks of bland business documents and Internal Revenue Service paperwork — hardly the stuff of international intrigue.

Less than a year into a lifetime appointment, a 45-year-old federal appeals court judge named James Ho may embody President Trump's most enduring legacy.

Ho has shaken up the staid world of appellate law by deploying aggressive rhetoric in cases involving guns, abortion rights and campaign finance regulations.

Today's government "would be unrecognizable to our Founders," he has written. He condemned what he called "the moral tragedy of abortion." And he's bemoaned that the Second Amendment appears to be considered a "second class right."

Updated at 3:50 p.m. ET

A federal magistrate judge ordered Wednesday that a Russian woman charged with being a Russian agent in the United States must be jailed ahead of her trial after prosecutors said she was a flight risk.

The woman, Maria Butina, has been in regular contact with Russian intelligence, the Justice Department says, and she attempted to offer sex in exchange for a position with an organization she targeted.

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Updated at 5:01 p.m. ET

Just hours after President Trump met with Russian President Vladimir Putin and held a joint news conference with his Russian counterpart that stunned many political observers in the U.S., federal prosecutors on Monday unsealed a criminal complaint alleging that a Russian graduate student living in the D.C. area conspired to act as an agent of Russia without registering, as required, under U.S. law.

A federal judge set out a timeline on Tuesday that could mean Donald Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, might be sentenced by late October.

Judge Emmet Sullivan called prosecutors and Flynn, a retired lieutenant general, into a hearing to meet with him about next steps in the case.

A different judge took Flynn's guilty plea for lying to the FBI last December. Sullivan said he had some "discomfort" at the thought of preparing a sentencing hearing for someone he had never met before.

Over a dozen years as a judge on the federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., Brett Kavanaugh has weighed in on controversial cases involving guns, abortion, health care and religious liberty.

But after Kavanaugh emerged on President Trump's shortlist for the Supreme Court, a suggestion the judge made in a 2009 law review article swiftly took center stage:

"Provide sitting presidents with a temporary deferral of civil suits and of criminal prosecutions and investigations," Kavanaugh proposed.

One day after Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement, a group calling itself Demand Justice staged a rally outside the court's front steps.

Updated at 1:31 p.m. ET

Scott Schools, a top aide to the deputy attorney general, is planning to leave the Justice Department at the end of the week, according to two people familiar with his decision.

The job title for Schools — associate deputy attorney general — belied his importance as a strategic counselor and repository of institutional memory and ethics at the DOJ. Schools has played a critical, if behind-the-scenes, role in some of the most important and sensitive issues in the building.

Michael Cohen, the personal lawyer and longtime fixer for the president who once said he would "do anything" to protect Donald Trump, now says his "first loyalty" rests with his family.

In an interview with ABC News, Cohen acknowledged that he soon could face criminal charges in an ongoing FBI probe of his finances and business dealings. But Cohen told ABC anchor George Stephanopoulos that he respects the prosecutors and the process.

Updated at 7:51 p.m. ET

A Justice Department watchdog on Thursday criticized former FBI Director James Comey for violating long-standing department guidelines and mishandling the Hillary Clinton email investigation in 2016.

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Democrats and Republicans who have led the Justice Department's criminal division are writing to Congress to push for a vote on the Trump administration's nominee for the post.

The five former government officials are urging senators to advance the nomination of Brian Benczkowski, whom they praise for his "professional experience, temperament and integrity." The officials said Benczkowski respects the Justice Department and "will work hard to protect the independence and integrity of this important institution."

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