Barr Makes 'Highly Unusual' Legal Move

Attorney general orders review of sensitive cases, including Michael Flynn's
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 14, 2020 1:47 PM CST
Another Big Twist With Justice Department
Attorney General William Barr speaks during a news conference, Monday, Feb. 10, 2020, at the Justice Department in Washington.   (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

The news involving Attorney General William Barr and his Justice Department just keeps coming. The latest is a front-page story in the New York Times saying that Barr has appointed an outside prosecutor to review sensitive cases, including that of Michael Flynn. "The review is highly unusual and could trigger more accusations of political interference by top Justice Department officials into the work of career prosecutors," per the Times. And Axios has a similar takeaway: The development "could trigger additional accusations of political interference at the Justice Department, especially for extremely sensitive cases involving former Trump allies." Flynn, President Trump's former national security adviser, pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI during an interview, though he is now trying to retract that plea.

NBC News reports that Barr has specifically asked a US attorney (a Trump appointee) to look into the circumstances of that interview. The seesawing backdrop: Barr on Thursday publicly pushed back against Trump and his constant tweets about criminal cases—though some were skeptical about the sincerity of his complaint—and the president on Friday responded that he has every right to direct the Justice Department's handling of cases. All of that came in the wake of criticism of the department's moves on the Roger Stone case. The new development might bolster critics who accuse Barr of doing the president's bidding. But a separate development on Friday undercuts that assertion: The department is dropping its case against former FBI official and Trump critic Andrew McCabe. (Read more William Barr stories.)

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