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.

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.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

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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