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Attorney General William Barr speaks about the release of the redacted Mueller report on April 18, 2019. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Attorney General William Barr asked the Justice Department's inspector general on Saturday to investigate alleged sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein's death, as the FBI conducts an investigation of its own.

What's happening: Law enforcement officials said Epstein, 66, hanged himself and was found in a jail cell Saturday morning at roughly 7:30 am. Previously, on July 23, "Epstein was found passed out in his jail cell with marks on his neck," per the New York Times.

  • Epstein was under extra security in a special unit of the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan, but not under suicide watch, a prison official told the Times.
"I was appalled to learn that Jeffrey Epstein was found dead early this morning from an apparent suicide while in federal custody. Mr. Epstein's death raises serious questions that must be answered. In addition to the FBI's investigation, I have consulted with the Inspector General who is opening an investigation into the circumstances of Mr. Epstein's death."
— AG Bill Barr's statement on Saturday

Go deeper

Exclusive: White House meeting with members of Problem Solvers Caucus

Members of the Problem Solvers Caucus discuss the COVID-19 relief bill in December. Photo: Oliver Contreras/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Top White House officials will meet Wednesday with a bipartisan coalition of House lawmakers as the administration tries to enlist moderates to support the president's infrastructure proposal.

Why it matters: The meeting is something of an olive branch after President Biden's team courted groups of progressives to back the $2.2 trillion package.

35 mins ago - Health

The new vaccine threat is fear itself

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The FDA’s decision to pause the use of Johnson & Johnson's coronavirus vaccine has set off a chain reaction of fear — about the safety of the vaccine, and about whether the FDA is overreacting — that's causing unnecessary drama just as the vaccine effort is finally picking up speed.

The big picture: Throughout the pandemic, the public and the media, and sometimes even regulators, have struggled to keep risks in perspective — to acknowledge them without exaggerating them, and to avoid downplaying them because other people will exaggerate them.

Cryptocurrency giant Coinbase heads to Wall Street

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Coinbase, the country's largest cryptocurrency exchange, is expected to go public today at what could be a valuation north of $100 billion.

Why it matters: This gives crypto a Wall Street seal of legitimacy, after an early existence marred by ties to illicit goods.