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.

This won't be the first time that William Barr, President Trump's nominee to become attorney general, will be involved with what's been called a "witch hunt."

Barr, who is scheduled to go before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday for his confirmation hearings, ran the Justice Department once before, under President George H.W. Bush.

Prosecutors investigating Russian interference in the last U.S. presidential election suspect former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort shared polling data with a business associate who has links to the Russian intelligence service, according to a new court filing.

The disclosure emerged in a legal brief filed by Manafort's defense lawyers, who are resisting the idea he intentionally lied to special counsel Robert Mueller, lies that the investigators said should torpedo his plea deal.

Updated at 1:25 p.m. ET

The ongoing government shutdown didn't stop the Justice Department's public affairs office from issuing statements this week about cases involving America's Southern border.

Officials in Washington, D.C., instructed field office workers on Dec. 21 that the public affairs unit would "only issue press releases to the extent it is necessary to ensure public safety or national security, such as a terrorist attack or something of similar magnitude."

Consider it another mark of the intense interest in the Justice Department's probe of Russian election interference:

Some 40 spectators — including reporters and a sketch artist — showed up on Thursday for a hearing that hinged on whether a long-shot case seeking $350 million from special counsel Robert Mueller could be steered to a particular judge.

The Trump administration more than doubled the number of judges it confirmed to federal appeals courts in 2018, exceeding the pace of the last five presidents and stocking the courts with lifetime appointees who could have profound consequences for civil rights, the environment and government regulations.

Updated at 7:25 p.m. ET

A federal judge delayed sentencing former national security adviser Michael Flynn on Tuesday after he pleaded guilty to lying to investigators about his talks with Russia's ambassador.

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan said he has significant outstanding questions about the case, including how the government's Russia investigation was impeded and the material impact of Flynn's lies on the special counsel's inquiry.

Two business associates of former national security adviser Michael Flynn have been charged in connection with an alleged plot to smear a Turkish cleric inside the United States with the aim of getting him extradited.

Bijan Kian, an American who is Flynn's business partner, and Kamil Ekim Alptekin, a Turkish man, were indicted this month by a grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia, according to court documents unsealed on Monday.

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Updated at 3:22 p.m. ET

A Russian woman who schemed to build back-channel ties between the Russian government and the Trump campaign pleaded guilty in federal court on Thursday to conspiring to act as a clandestine foreign agent.

Maria Butina also sought to connect Moscow unofficially with other parts of the conservative establishment, including the National Rifle Association and the National Prayer Breakfast.

Lawyers for former national security adviser Michael Flynn are asking a judge to spare him prison time, citing his acceptance of responsibility and extensive cooperation with authorities, which spanned more than 62 hours and included turning over "sweeping categories" of documents and electronic devices.

The attorneys are requesting that Flynn receive no more than one year of probation, with minimal supervision, and 200 hours of community service.

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Updated at 7:46 p.m. ET

Federal prosecutors have reached a plea deal with Maria Butina, the Russian woman who parlayed her interest in gun rights and her Republican Party connections into an unofficial influence campaign inside the U.S.

Butina has agreed to plead guilty to a single charge of conspiracy to act as a Russian agent on America's soil without registering as required with the Justice Department.

She faces a maximum of five years in prison but could serve far less time once she is sentenced next year.

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Updated at 9:45 p.m. ET

Paul Manafort allegedly lied to prosecutors about his communications with officials in the Trump administration, "information pertinent to another Department of Justice investigation" and more, the government said in a court filing on Friday.

Manafort met with prosecutors 12 times and testified twice before a grand jury, the Justice Department said.

Robert Mueller knows how to keep a secret.

As reporters and lawyers for President Trump speculate about the end of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, the special counsel threw a curveball this week.

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Updated at 9:38 p.m. ET

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn has provided "substantial" aid in the Russia investigation and beyond — and that merits a judge's consideration at Flynn's sentencing this month, prosecutors said in court papers late Tuesday.

The government said in a memo to a federal judge that it believes sentencing for Flynn should be lenient and that even a sentence without prison time "is appropriate and warranted."

Lawyers working for special counsel Robert Mueller told a federal judge Monday that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort had "breached the plea agreement" he reached with the government and that the judge should prepare to sentence him.

Government attorneys said Manafort committed new federal crimes "by lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Special Counsel's Office on a variety of subject matters." The special counsel team's court filing provided no details about the prevarication.

Prosecutors are negotiating a potential plea agreement with the Russian woman who was charged over the summer with being a clandestine foreign agent.

The U.S. attorney's office for Washington, D.C., said in a court filing that its lawyers are in talks with counsel for the woman, Maria Butina, who also was charged with alleged conspiracy.

Her lawyers have said she is simply a naive young woman who was "jabbering" about her efforts to influence U.S. politicians.

Updated at 12:00 p.m. ET

The U.S. government may be preparing criminal charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, according to suggestions in a document filed in an unrelated case.

Assange's name appeared at least twice in papers filed in the Eastern District Court of Virginia, both times appearing to say that Assange has already been made the subject of his own case.

Prosecutors in Virginia say the court document was an error.

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The Trump administration has already written the opening chapters of what could be its most enduring legacy: the makeup of the federal courts.

In partnership with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the Trump White House has secured lifetime appointments for 29 appeals court judges and 53 district court judges. That's not to mention two Supreme Court nominees.

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Updated at 5:34 p.m. ET

Jeff Sessions, the president's earliest and most fervent supporter in Congress, resigned under pressure as attorney general on Wednesday after brutal criticism from the president, bringing an abrupt end to his controversial tenure as the nation's top law enforcement officer.

Sessions noted in his resignation letter to the president that he was stepping down "at your request."

Last week, one of the last remaining secrets from the Watergate scandal was finally revealed.

It's a report that prosecutors sent to Congress 44 years ago, but experts said the document could offer a precedent for how the Russia investigation moves forward now.

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Last year, police in Washington state were chasing a lead about an elder abuse case that quickly took a turn toward the criminal.

Mark Williams, a veteran detective for the Suquamish Police Department, said he'd learned the nickname of a potential suspect in a kidnapping of a man in his 90s who suffered from poor health — but he needed to find the suspect's real name and address.

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One of President Trump's legacies will be in the courts. The White House has nominated and a Republican-led Senate has confirmed conservative jurists to federal courts at all levels. NPR national justice correspondent Carrie Johnson takes a closer look.

Updated 4:08 p.m. ET

The former head of security for the Senate intelligence committee pleaded guilty to one count of lying to the FBI on Monday in federal court in Washington, D.C.

James Wolfe had been charged with three such counts, but he reached a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney's office in exchange for leniency and to avoid a trial.

Wolfe was permitted to remain free until he's scheduled to return to court on Dec. 20 to be sentenced; he faces up to six months in prison.

One of the last secrets from the Watergate scandal could soon be revealed.

A federal judge in Washington has ordered the National Archives to review key documents that have remained under seal for 44 years and prepare for their release.

Those papers, known as the "road map," helped advance the impeachment effort aimed at then-President Richard Nixon.

They've been under wraps since then but scholars say they're newly relevant today as President Trump faces down a different investigation.

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