U.S. Justice Department (DOJ)

Updated at 4:37 p.m. ET

The Justice Department's review of the origins of the Russia probe has become a criminal investigation, a source familiar with the matter confirmed to NPR.

It is unclear what prompted the shift from an administrative review to a formal criminal investigation, when the change took place or what potential crime is under investigation.

The change drew immediate criticism from Democrats, who have accused Attorney General William Barr of turning the Justice Department into a political weapon for President Trump.

Updated at 5:33 p.m. ET

House Democrats won an important victory in federal court on Friday when a judge ordered the Justice Department to surrender now-secret material from the Russia investigation — and, more broadly, validated the impeachment inquiry into President Trump.

Gov. Polis
Scott Franz / Capitol Coverage

Gov. Jared Polis says Colorado is challenging a Trump administration decision to deny the state $2.7 million in public safety funds already allocated by Congress.

Polis and Attorney General Phil Weiser said Tuesday the state will seek an injunction in federal court to compel the administration to release the funds.

Library of Congress

The parents sat stiffly; some had clearly been crying. Their children, largely oblivious, scribbled with crayons on the carpeted floor of a Denver immigration court. In a matter of months, the judge before them will make 71 life-changing decisions.

Earlier this year, the Department of Justice instructed ten immigration courts around the country to speed up cases of families seeking asylum on U.S. soil. In Denver, that directive is being carried out in a series of group hearings, designed to decide cases in less than a year.

Colorado Part Of New Congressional Cannabis Caucus

Feb 18, 2017
Stephanie Paige Ogburn / KUNC

Citing the need for a “professional presentation” to Congress and the American people, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) announced the newly-formed Congressional Cannabis Caucus at a news conference Feb. 16. The caucus, which includes four Democratic and Republican representatives from states that have legalized marijuana, plans to focus on freeing up banking and tax regulations, opening up research dollars and removing marijuana from the federal list of illegal drugs.

Luke Runyon / KUNC/Harvest Public Media

The massive industry that supplies farmers with the tools to raise crops is on the brink of a watershed moment. High-profile deals that would see some of the largest global agri-chemical companies combine are in the works and could have ripple effects from farm fields to dinner tables across the globe.

Six companies currently dominate the marketplace for agricultural seeds and farm chemicals, like fertilizer and pesticides: BASF, Bayer, DuPont, Dow, Monsanto and Syngenta. Of those, only BASF is not currently in discussions to merge.

Work crews in Honolulu recently dismantled wooden shacks and tents that lined city streets and housed almost 300 people.

It was the latest example of a city trying to deal with a growing homeless population, and responding to complaints that these encampments are unsafe, unsanitary and, at the very least, unsightly.

Last month, Madison, Wis., banned people from sleeping outside city hall. And in New Port Richey, Fla., the city council voted to restrict the feeding of homeless individuals in a popular park.

Joe Mahoney / Rocky Mountain PBS I-News

The federal government is stockpiling hundreds of "suspicious activity reports" that could provide federal agents with sufficient evidence to shut down any state-legalized marijuana business.

While it may appear that federal authorities have taken a wait-and-see approach to marijuana legalization in the 23 states that now allow either medical or recreational use, these reports are poised like a blade over the budding industry should federal laws be enforced.

This risk of federal prosecution has led some cannabis companies to literally launder their money.

Eric Holder's arrival in early February 2009 had all the hallmarks of a homecoming. Justice Department employees fatigued by scandals in President Bush's second term greeted Holder with sustained applause.

The Senate was receptive too, confirming him on a 75-21 vote and officially making him the first African-American attorney general in U.S. history.

But soon after he took the helm at Justice, Holder ran into headwinds — at times generated by his own words.

Brett Levin / Flickr - Creative Commons

A majority of the U.S. House of Representatives passed three amendments to an appropriations bill that could change how the government deals with medical marijuana and industrial hemp in Colorado and other states where the practices are legal.

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