Carrie Johnson

Former White House strategist Steve Bannon frustrated lawmakers this week when he declined to answer many of their questions about his time in the Trump administration.

To hear members of the House Intelligence Committee tell it, Bannon was using the concept of executive privilege to evade legitimate oversight from Congress.

At the podium Wednesday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders disagreed.

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Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort may not be headed for trial on money laundering and conspiracy charges until late autumn. The judge in his case expressed puzzlement over some of the legal positions he has taken.

Lawyers for Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller have turned over thousands of pages of material to Manafort and his former business partner Richard Gates, a process that prosecutors said is continuing.

But at least part of the holdup in the case is Manafort's own making, Judge Amy Berman Jackson said.

President Trump campaigned on a promise of law and order. He courted endorsements from police unions. And he even hinted to an audience of police officers that he supported the idea of roughing up suspects (the White House later said he was joking).

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We've heard a lot this week about the political fallout from the new Michael Wolff book about the Trump White House and the big break the book has caused between the president and his former political guru Steve Bannon.

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The Justice Department is changing its approach to marijuana enforcement. To talk about how far the Trump DOJ might go to bring new federal marijuana cases, NPR justice correspondent Carrie Johnson is here with us in the studio again. Hi, Carrie.

Nearly one year into the Trump administration, the Justice Department is operating without Senate-confirmed leaders in six of its most important units, including the criminal division and the national security division.

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Nearly one year into the Trump administration, the Justice Department has begun 2018 without Senate-confirmed leaders in at least six of its most important divisions.

The department's top priority — and one often cited by the White House, too — is safeguarding national security. But Justice's national security unit has no permanent Trump appointee in place.

What's more, a president and attorney general who campaigned on a promise of "law and order" do not have their choice in place to lead the Justice Department's criminal division, either.

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From the airwaves of conservative media to the hearing rooms of the House of Representatives, Republican allies of the White House are attacking the Department of Justice investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

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President Trump, minutes before heading to speak at the FBI's National Academy, lashed out at the bureau, saying, "It's a shame what's happened with the FBI" and claiming there are "a lot of very angry people that are seeing it."

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A new study finds that a lot of money is flowing into races for state Supreme Court. Millions of dollars are coming from sometimes mysterious donors, and a lot of it goes to negative advertising. Here's NPR justice correspondent Carrie Johnson.

The nomination of Brett Talley, the Justice Department official in line for a lifetime judicial appointment, "will not be moving forward," a Trump administration official told NPR on Wednesday.

Talley had been rated "unanimously unqualified" for the post by the American Bar Association this year after an evaluation that questioned his experience. Talley had never argued a case, or even a motion, in federal court, he testified.

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Four months into the new job, his predecessor is sharing deep thoughts on Instagram, his boss is tweeting that his agency's reputation is in "tatters" and lawmakers are blasting out dueling press releases to make the case that important decisions have been infected by politics.

It's not easy being FBI Director Christopher Wray.

On Thursday, Wray will get a say of his own when he appears in Congress for his first oversight hearing since the Senate voted overwhelmingly to confirm him in August. Here are a few things to watch.

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Updated at 3:36 p.m. E.D.T. on December 4.

President Trump may have been involved with a change to the Republican Party campaign platform last year that watered down support for U.S. assistance to Ukraine, according to new information from someone who was involved.

Diana Denman, a Republican delegate who supported arming U.S. allies in Ukraine, has told people that Trump aide J.D. Gordon said at the Republican Convention in 2016 that Trump directed him to support weakening that position in the official platform.

Updated 12/2, 11:47 a.m. ET

President Trump's first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, pleaded guilty Friday to lying to the FBI about his contacts with the Russian ambassador during the transition, and he is cooperating with the special counsel's investigation into Moscow's interference in last year's election.

Flynn told investigators that he was instructed to engage with the Russians by senior members of the Trump transition team.

To the many mysteries swirling around the investigation of Russian election interference and the dismissal of FBI Director James Comey, add this one: Why is Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein continuing to supervise the investigation?

Rosenstein is the Justice Department official who pulled the trigger and named special counsel Robert Mueller to lead the probe in May, only days after President Trump fired Comey under questionable circumstances.

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For Attorney General Jeff Sessions, an appearance before the House Judiciary Committee Tuesday presents a risk — and an opportunity.

The risk lies in testifying under oath, for the fourth time this year, about his awareness of Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 election while he served as a top surrogate for President Trump.

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Updated on Nov. 3 at 11:04 a.m. E.D.T.

President Donald Trump said "I don't remember much" about a March 2016 meeting at which a foreign policy adviser proposed setting up a meeting between then-candidate Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"It was a very unimportant meeting, took place a long time ago," Trump told reporters at the White House before he boarded a helicopter for his trip to Asia.

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Five months into his mandate, Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller III unleashed a legal version of "shock and awe" on Monday with criminal charges against President Trump's former campaign chairman and a guilty plea by a foreign policy aide.

Mueller made no public comment about the charges or the next steps in an investigation that's irritating the White House and riveting the nation. But there are some clues in the court documents about where the former FBI director and his investigators may be heading.

The deputy attorney general strode onto the stage last week in a seventh-floor conference room at the Justice Department to announce criminal charges against two Chinese men who used the Internet to sell deadly synthetic drugs.

"These cases reflect a new and disturbing facet of the opioid crisis in America," Rod Rosenstein, the second-in-command at Justice, told reporters who gathered for what was billed as a major development in the fentanyl epidemic that's afflicting the nation.

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