Ryan Lucas

Attorney General William Barr did not speak at the Republican National Convention this week, but that doesn't mean he's been sitting silently on the sidelines during this election season.

Barr has done more than a half-dozen TV interviews with national broadcasters since early June in which he has addressed hot-button issues and political fights central to the 2020 campaign.

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The Justice Department says four Chinese nationals doing research here in the U.S. have been charged with visa fraud. Three of the defendants are now in federal custody. The fourth is a fugitive, someone hiding out at the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco.

The Justice Department announced charges Tuesday against two suspected Chinese hackers who allegedly targeted U.S. companies conducting COVID-19 research, part of what the government called long-running efforts to steal American trade secrets and intellectual property.

The 11-count indictment accuses the defendants, Li Xiaoyu and Dong Jiazhi, of conducting a hacking campaign that has targeted companies, nongovernmental organizations as well as Chinese dissidents and clergy in the United States and around the world.

Attorney General William Barr took aim at U.S. tech companies and Hollywood on Thursday over their relationship with China, accusing them of "kowtowing" to the Chinese government for the sake of profits.

In a nearly 45-minute speech on U.S.-China relations, Barr presented America's response to Beijing's global ambitions as a generational struggle that will define the political future of the world.

Updated at 5:14 p.m. ET

A federal judge denied bail Tuesday for Ghislaine Maxwell, a longtime confidant of disgraced financier and convicted sexual offender Jeffrey Epstein, saying she posed a "substantial" risk of flight before her trial on sexual exploitation charges.

The judge set a tentative trial date of July 12, 2021.

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Updated at 7:17 p.m. ET

President Trump has removed Geoffrey Berman, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, from office, ending the tenure of a top Justice Department official whose office has overseen the prosecutions of several of the president's associates.

Attorney General William Barr announced the termination Saturday, less than a day after initially suggesting that Berman was resigning — only to be contradicted by Berman himself.

A federal appeals court appeared skeptical Friday of Michael Flynn's bid to force a judge to dismiss his case after the Justice Department sought to abandon the prosecution.

A three-judge panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit considered Flynn's case after years of twists and turns that began in the first days of President Trump's administration.

A federal appeals court will hear arguments Friday on Michael Flynn's bid to force a lower court to dismiss the Justice Department's criminal case against the former national security adviser.

The hearing before a three-judge panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia is the latest front in the long-running legal case against Flynn, who pleaded guilty in 2017 to lying to the FBI about his contacts with the Russian ambassador.

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President Trump and his attorney general, William Barr, have repeatedly blamed antifascist activists, known as antifa, for the recent violence on the streets following George Floyd's death. Here is Barr talking to reporters last week.

U.S. Attorney General William Barr has repeatedly blamed anti-fascist activists for the violence that has erupted during demonstrations over George Floyd's death, but federal court records show no sign of so-called antifa links so far in cases brought by the Justice Department.

NPR has reviewed court documents of 51 individuals facing federal charges in connection with the unrest. As of Tuesday morning, none is alleged to have links to the antifa movement.

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The Justice Department is stepping up its response to the violence spreading across the country in response to George Floyd's death. And NPR justice correspondent Ryan Lucas joins us now.

Hi, Ryan.

RYAN LUCAS, BYLINE: Hi there.

Attorney General William Barr is sending specialized teams of federal agents to help control protests in Washington, D.C., and Miami, and the FBI is setting up command posts in cities across the country as demonstrations against George Floyd's death move into a second week.

The Senate is expected to take up three domestic surveillance tools used in national security investigations this week, reviving debate over the provisions two months after letting them expire.

The tussle over renewing the authorities is part of a larger political fight over the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, that dates back years but became a headliner during the Russia investigation — even though the tools that expired are not linked to that probe.

Updated at 8:27 p.m. ET

The Justice Department is dropping its case against President Trump's first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia's then-ambassador to the United States.

The about-face by the department brings to a close the long-running case against Flynn brought by former special counsel Robert Mueller during the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

A 37 year-old district court judge nominated for a seat on the powerful Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit appeared all but certain to be confirmed after a hearing Wednesday — over Democrats' objections.

The nominee, Justin Walker, was hand picked by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., for the D.C. Circuit court, which is often called the second most important court in the country.

Updated at 3:02 p.m. ET

The coronavirus pandemic has brought out the good side of many Americans but certainly not all Americans. Officials say that fraud related to COVID-19 — such as hoarding equipment, price gouging and hawking fake treatments — are spreading as the country wrestles with the outbreak.

"It's a perfect ecosystem for somebody like a fraudster to operate in," said Craig Carpenito, the U.S. attorney for New Jersey and the head of the Justice Department's COVID-19 price gouging and hoarding task force.

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President Trump's former lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, is to be released early from federal prison and moved to home confinement because of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to a range of financial and campaign finance crimes, as well as lying to Congress.

He is currently serving a three-year sentence at the federal correctional institution in Otisville, N.Y.

Updated at 9:58 a.m. ET

Federal prisons are wrestling with the rapid spread of the coronavirus at more than two dozen facilities across the country in an outbreak that has already claimed the lives of at least seven inmates and infected almost 200 more, as well as 63 staff.

One of the hardest-hit so far is the Federal Correctional Complex in Oakdale, La., located about a three-hour drive west of New Orleans. It's home to two low-security prisons and a minimum security camp, which all told house some 2,000 inmates.

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The Department of Justice's internal watchdog has found "apparent errors or inadequately supported facts" in more than two dozen FBI wiretap applications to the secretive domestic surveillance court.

Those findings come from an initial audit by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz of 29 FBI applications to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, also known as the FISA court.

Businesses controlled by the president, senior executive branch officials or members of Congress will be barred from receiving funds under the huge economic rescue package the Senate could vote on as early as Wednesday, according to the Senate's top Democrat.

As COVID-19 begins to hit jails and lockups around the country, the Trump administration is coming under growing pressure to release elderly and other particularly vulnerable inmates in the federal prison system to mitigate the risk of the virus' spread.

Already, three inmates and three staff at federal correctional facilities across the United States have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons. In detention centers at the state and local level, including in New York City's jail system, confirmed cases of COVID-19 are on the rise.

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