Ryan Lucas

Updated at 2:30 a.m. ET

President Trump pardoned Steve Bannon, his former chief strategist who was indicted over allegedly defrauding hundreds of thousands of people in an online campaign to raise funds for a southern border wall — one of dozens of acts of clemency in the final hours of his administration.

The lengthy list of 73 pardons and 70 commutations landed after midnight. Trump left the White House for the last time Wednesday morning, skipping the inaugural ceremonies of his successor, President-elect Joe Biden.

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Law enforcement agencies across the country are trying to track down those who attacked the Capitol. NPR justice correspondent Ryan Lucas, of course, has been following this. Ryan, thanks for being with us.

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President-elect Biden formally introduced today his nominee to lead the Department of Justice.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORING)

JOE BIDEN: For attorney general of the United States, I nominate a man of impeccable integrity, Judge Merrick Garland.

When John Demers came in to lead the Justice Department's national security division, the United States was grappling with the fallout from Russia's cyberattack on the 2016 election.

Now, as he and the Trump administration prepare to leave office, the U.S. is dealing with another massive hack that American officials have again pinned on Moscow.

"Well, there is a certain symmetry to all of this," Demers said in an interview with NPR as his time at the Justice Department draws to a close.

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Updated at 5:12 p.m. ET

Attorney General William Barr said Monday he sees no reason to appoint a special counsel to lead the ongoing federal investigation into Hunter Biden or to probe further President Trump's claims of widespread fraud in the 2020 election.

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Attorney General William Barr, an outspoken proponent of conservative values and an expansive view of presidential power, will leave office before Christmas, President Trump announced in a tweet Monday afternoon.

Trump said he and Barr had a "very nice meeting" at the White House and that their "relationship has been a very good one."

Deputy Attorney General Jeff Rosen will become acting attorney general, Trump said.

On more than one occasion, President Trump has demonstrated his willingness to use his pardon power to pluck a political ally or associate out of legal trouble.

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Updated at 4:23 p.m. ET

Of all the perks of being president, Donald Trump may soon miss most the legal protection that it affords.

For four years, Trump has benefited from the de facto immunity from prosecution that all presidents enjoy while in office. But that cloak will pass to Joe Biden when he's sworn in on Jan. 20, leaving Trump out in the legal cold.

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Five people have been arrested in connection with their roles in what U.S. officials call an aggressive Chinese government operation to track down dissidents and critics of Beijing in the United States and try to repatriate them.

The defendants — Zhu Yon, Hongru Jin, Michal McMahon, Ron Jing and Zheng Congying — were arrested Wednesday morning, officials said. Three other people also facing charges are not in custody and are believed to be in China.

A federal judge has denied the Justice Department's attempt to intervene on President Trump's behalf in a defamation lawsuit filed by a woman who alleges he sexually assaulted her in the mid-1990s.

In her memoir published last year, writer E. Jean Carroll accused the president of raping her in the dressing room of a Manhattan department store more than two decades ago.

Trump denied the allegations and accused her of lying to sell books.

Updated at 3:24 p.m. ET

The Justice Department filed an antitrust lawsuit Tuesday against Google alleging the company of abusing its dominance over smaller rivals by operating like an illegal monopoly. The action represents the federal government's most significant legal action in more than two decades to confront a technology giant's power.

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Updated at 2:33 p.m. ET

The Justice Department unsealed charges against six alleged Russian government hackers on Monday and said they were behind a rash of recent cyberattacks — from damaging Ukraine's electrical grid to interfering in France's election to spying on European investigations and more.

The men work for the Russian military intelligence agency GRU — which also led Russian cyber-interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Justice Department officials said Moscow has only sustained or heightened its intensity of effort since then.

Two British Islamic State militants accused of belonging to a terrorist cell that beheaded hostages in Syria are facing federal charges in the United States over their alleged role in the torture and killing of four Americans.

Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh face eight criminal counts, including conspiracy, hostage taking resulting in death, and material support to a terrorist organization. The men are expected to make their initial appearance Wednesday in federal court in Virginia.

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The U.S. Justice Department is expected to announce charges this week against two British nationals suspected of being part of a notorious Islamic State cell accused of torturing and beheading Western hostages, according to a law enforcement official.

The two men, Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh, were captured in Syria in 2018 by Kurdish allies of the U.S. and were transferred to U.S. military custody in Iraq. They are expected to arrive in the U.S. in the near future, setting the stage for one of the biggest terrorism trials in the country in recent years.

Questions have long swirled about the state of President Trump's finances.

The New York Times appears to have answered at least some of them with a revelatory report over the weekend that says, among other things, that the president paid just $750 in federal income tax in 2016 and 2017.

An FBI agent assigned to special counsel Robert Mueller's team told investigators he thought the probe into Michael Flynn was "unclear and disorganized" and that the former national security adviser wasn't conspiring with Russia.

That assessment from William Barnett is contained in a 13-page document summarizing an interview Barnett did on Sept. 17 with Justice Department investigators.

The department provided the summary to Michael Flynn's attorneys, who filed it late Thursday in federal court as part of the ongoing legal fight over his case.

Hunter Biden's position on the board of a Ukrainian energy company was "awkward" and "problematic" at the time his father, Joe Biden, was serving as vice president, two Republican-led Senate committees say in a new report — but the study does not show that it influenced U.S. government policy.

The long-awaited Republican report appeared six weeks ahead of the presidential election. Democrats have dismissed it as a politically motivated effort to try to hamper Biden's 2020 campaign in the race against President Trump.

The Justice Department announced charges on Wednesday against five Chinese nationals in connection with the hacking of more than 100 American and foreign companies as well as of nonprofits and universities.

The department also charged two Malaysian businessmen with conspiring with two of the indicted Chinese nationals to target companies in the billion-dollar computer game industry. American officials say Malaysian authorities have arrested the businessmen, who now face extradition to the United States.

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President Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani is playing down his contacts with a Ukrainian lawmaker who the Treasury Department says is a longtime Russian agent.

In President Trump's telling of it, Portland, Ore., is a city under siege by violent radical leftists. He has suggested that only the strong hand of federal law enforcement can save it.

On Fox News this week, Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf admonished state and local leaders there and elsewhere for failing to restore law and order, and he touted the administration's response.

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