Barr has tapped outside prosecutor to review case against Flynn: NYT

Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrDecentralized leadership raises questions about Trump coronavirus response Feds distributing masks, other gear seized in price-gouging investigation to NY, NJ health care workers The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - All eyes on today's unemployment numbers MORE has ordered an outside prosecutor to review the criminal case against Michael Flynn, President TrumpDonald John TrumpPelosi eyes end of April to bring a fourth coronavirus relief bill to the floor NBA to contribute 1 million surgical masks to NY essential workers Private equity firm with ties to Kushner asks Trump administration to relax rules on loan program: report MORE's former national security adviser, sources tell The New York Times.

Such reviews are rare and are likely to raise new questions about potential political interference by Department of Justice (DOJ) officials into cases.

The report comes after the DOJ earlier this week reversed a decision to recommend a seven- to nine-year prison sentence for Roger StoneRoger Jason StoneJuan Williams: Mueller, one year on House Judiciary Committee postpones hearing with Barr amid coronavirus outbreak Trump 'strongly considering' full pardon for Flynn MORE, a longtime adviser to Trump. That decision led the entire prosecutorial team to resign in an apparent protest.

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According to the Times, Barr has also tapped outside prosecutors to review other politically sensitive cases being handled by the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington, which is overseeing Flynn’s prosecution.

Among the team members identified were Jeff Jensen, a prosecutor in the U.S. attorney’s office in St. Louis who is handling Flynn's case, and additional prosecutors from Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen’s office.

The report comes as the DOJ comes under scrutiny over whether its decisionmaking in politically sensitive cases has been unduly influenced by the White House.

Controversy erupted Tuesday when it appeared that an angry tweet by Trump about the severity of Stone’s sentence set in motion the department’s move to recommend a lesser punishment.

Later in the week, Barr signaled his independence from Trump in an ABC News interview. That was followed by the DOJ announcing it would not bring criminal charges against former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabeAndrew George McCabeTrump shakes up Justice Department, intelligence community Trump allies assembled lists of officials considered disloyal to president: report Bill Barr is trying his best to be Trump's Roy Cohn MORE, whom Trump has long considered a political enemy.

But the Times report on Friday cast further doubt on whether the department was operating free from political influence.

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Flynn campaigned with Trump in 2016 and was briefly considered for vice president before ultimately being tapped as national security adviser. He pleaded guilty two years ago to lying to the FBI about his contacts with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. during the Trump transition period.

Amid Flynn’s legal proceedings, Trump has spoken out in support of his former aide, a former three-star Army general, and painted him as a victim of injustice.

Flynn’s criminal case was prolonged by his decision last month to withdraw his guilty plea.

Judge Emmet Sullivan on Monday canceled a sentencing hearing slated for Feb. 27. The judge, a Clinton appointee, did not schedule a new hearing for Flynn.

Updated at 2:35 p.m.