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.

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.

Her work has been honored with awards from the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, the Society for Professional Journalists, SABEW, and the National Juvenile Defender Center. 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.

Years from now, when people look back on the aftermath of Russia's attack on the 2016 election, a key part of that history will have been written by women.

Most of the federal judges in Washington, D.C. — who have been quietly managing the grand jury process and presiding over arraignments and guilty pleas for nearly two years — happen to be women.

Last October, a federal prisoner named Richard Evans noticed a suspicious mass in his neck. He reported the condition to prison officials in Louisiana. Nothing happened.

Evans, 74, is a former doctor who was convicted of conspiracy, fraud and distributing oxycodone and hydrocodone. He received a five-year sentence.

Updated at 3:45 p.m. ET

Members of Washington's elite legal community decried the "increasing politicization" of the justice system at a particularly sensitive time: as the special counsel probe of Russian election interference edges toward a conclusion.

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The Federal Aviation Administration now faces an awkward question.

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The FAA announced it is grounding all models of the Boeing 737 Max 8. It was responding to worldwide concern after two recent crashes. But here is that question. If there are concerns about the plane, why did the agency insist for days that the plane was safe? FAA Acting Administrator Daniel Elwell says there is a reason. The agency acted after learning new information about the Ethiopian Airlines flight that crashed this week.

One of the most prominent members of special counsel Robert Mueller's team investigating Russia's attack on the 2016 presidential election will soon leave the office and the Justice Department, two sources close to the matter tell NPR.

Updated at 3:16 p.m. ET

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort received a total sentence of about 7 1/2 years in federal prison on Wednesday following the guilty plea in his Washington, D.C., conspiracy case.

Judge Amy Berman Jackson effectively added about 3 1/2 years in prison to the sentence Manafort received last week from a different judge in the Eastern District of Virginia.

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President Trump declared a national emergency. Then he headed to Florida to spend the weekend at his Mar-a-Lago resort.

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Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe condemned what he called the "relentless attack" that President Trump has waged against the FBI even as it continues scrutinizing whether Americans in Trump's campaign may have conspired with the Russians who attacked the 2016 election.

Updated at 8:07 p.m. ET

A federal judge has ruled that President Trump's former 2016 campaign chairman Paul Manafort intentionally lied to special counsel Robert Mueller's office after agreeing to cooperate with its investigation into interference by Russia into the last presidential election.

The ruling from Judge Amy Berman Jackson means prosecutors are no longer bound by their plea deal with Manafort, who now faces the prospect of spending the rest of his life in prison.

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Updated at 12:58 p.m. ET

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 12-10 along party lines Thursday to recommend that the full Senate confirm William Barr, President Trump's nominee to take over the Justice Department.

Senators debated Barr's candidacy for hours and focused in particular on the role he will play supervising the Russia investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller.

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Updated at 12:16 p.m. ET

President Trump's nominee to replace Brett Kavanaugh on the nation's second-highest appeals court defended herself amid scrutiny of her collegiate writings about sexual assault, environmental protections and multiculturalism.

Neomi Rao currently leads the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, a position that's been described as the Trump administration's "deregulatory czar."

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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."

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.

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British Prime Minister Theresa May faces a vote of no confidence.

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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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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."

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.

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