Carrie Johnson

Updated at 7:51 p.m. ET

A Justice Department watchdog on Thursday criticized former FBI Director James Comey for violating long-standing department guidelines and mishandling the Hillary Clinton email investigation in 2016.

A lawyer for fired former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is suing the FBI, the Justice Department and its inspector general for refusing to turn over documents related to McCabe's termination.

McCabe, who worked at the FBI in various roles for more than 20 years, was dismissed only hours before his planned retirement in March, for what the Justice Department called a "lack of candor."

Prosecutors working for special counsel Robert Mueller are asking a judge to limit the kind of information a Russian company and other defendants in an ongoing criminal prosecution are able to review.

Government attorneys Rush Atkinson, Jeannie Rhee and Ryan Dickey warned in court documents that materials in the case could be "disclosed to Russian intelligence services."

In February, a grand jury in Washington, D.C., returned indictments against 13 Russians and three companies for allegedly operating an information warfare campaign that targeted the 2016 election.

Department of Justice and FBI officials are planning another secret briefing for congressional leaders about investigators' use of confidential sources in the early stages of the Russia investigation.

Officials are expected to meet early next week with the leaders of the full House and Senate and the chambers' intelligence committees — the "Gang of Eight" — a senior Justice Department official said.

The official asked not to be identified discussing the preparations for the secret briefing.

Updated at 9:15 a.m. ET on June 1.

The special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election has cost nearly $17 million dollars so far, according to a new report from the Justice Department.

Robert Mueller's team of prosecutors and FBI special agents has spent by far the most money on covering salaries, followed by rent and information technology services, the statement of expenditures says.

If you turn on the TV news these days, it's difficult to miss Michael Avenatti.

The lawyer for porn actress Stormy Daniels has been that way since his days in law school.

Professor Jonathan Turley remembered Avenatti as one of the best students at George Washington University Law School — a guy who stood out in class.

"He first spoke to me about his desire to join a litigation team in his first year and I joked that he might want to find out where his locker is before he joined a litigation team," Turley told NPR.

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A top congressional Democrat is urging the Justice Department and the FBI to launch a criminal investigation into how a confidential informant's name made its way into media coverage.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, of New York, said he was "deeply disturbed" after the identity of an FBI source who met with Donald Trump's campaign officials in 2016 to gather intelligence on Russian election interference was later conveyed to reporters.

Updated at 3:50 p.m. ET

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, President Trump's son-in-law, is regaining a top security clearance following a marathon interview last month with special counsel investigators, a person familiar with the matter said.

Government lawyers defended the way they obtained the search warrants used to seize evidence from Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort in a lengthy court hearing on Wednesday in Washington.

Manafort's attorneys had told Judge Amy Berman Jackson they believed the warrants were invalid — in one case, for example, lawyers argued that a person listed on the lease of a storage unit didn't have permission to permit FBI special agents to peek inside.

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Democrats and Republicans who have led the Justice Department's criminal division are writing to Congress to push for a vote on the Trump administration's nominee for the post.

The five former government officials are urging senators to advance the nomination of Brian Benczkowski, whom they praise for his "professional experience, temperament and integrity." The officials said Benczkowski respects the Justice Department and "will work hard to protect the independence and integrity of this important institution."

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Lawyers for a Russian company accused of funding an Internet troll factory that sought to undermine the 2016 election signaled in federal court Wednesday they'll adopt an aggressive approach to their defense.

Eric Dubelier, a U.S.-based lawyer for Concord Management and Consulting, told a federal judge in Washington D.C. that he expected to file motions attacking Constitutional questions including due process, the mandate of Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller, allegations of selective prosecution and other issues.

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This week, the Senate is on track to confirm six more federal appeals court judges. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt that he wants to make that a lasting contribution to the country.

Solicitor General Noel Francisco is a familiar face in conservative legal circles. But he could be about to enter a new and uncomfortable period in the national spotlight if he becomes the chief overseer of the special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

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Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein dismissed threats from antagonists in Congress on Thursday following months of tension between the Justice Department and conservative supporters of President Trump.

Rosenstein appeared at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. to celebrate Law Day and was asked about threats from members of Congress, including the putative "articles of impeachment" about him drafted by allies of Trump.

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Updated at 11:53 a.m. EDT

Fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe has created a legal defense fund to help him pay to deal with congressional investigations, contacts with the U.S. Attorney's Office and a possible wrongful termination and defamation case he may file against the Trump administration.

The trustees for the fund include former judges John Martin and James Robertson and the former police leader in Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia, Charles Ramsey.

Updated at 4:44 p.m. ET

The Justice Department inspector general has asked prosecutors in Washington, D.C., to examine whether former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe should face criminal charges.

Inspector General Michael Horowitz has referred McCabe to the U.S. Attorney's Office for Washington, D.C., according to a source familiar with the matter. The source asked not to be identified as discussing the sensitive ongoing case.

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In a new interview, fired FBI Director James Comey tells NPR that holding the job in 2016 felt like a 500-year flood. And there was no manual to tell him how to operate in it.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)

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James Comey says that in the past few years, the reputation of the FBI has grown worse.

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Nearly a year after President Trump fired James Comey, the former FBI director is out with a new memoir, A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, And Leadership. Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep and NPR Justice Correspondent Carrie Johnson talked to Comey about his book, his role in shaping the outcome of the 2016 election and where the FBI's credibility stands. Here's the full transcript of their conversation.

In an interview with NPR's Morning Edition, fired FBI Director James Comey defended his controversial decisions during the 2016 campaign and asserted that the reputation of his agency — which operates under near daily siege from the president and his allies — "would be worse today had we not picked the least bad alternatives."

"I saw this as a 500-year flood, and so where is the manual? What do I do?" he said.

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