May 14, 2019

Barr appoints U.S. attorney to investigate origins of Russia probe

Attorney General Bill Barr. Photo: Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Attorney General Bill Barr has appointed U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut John Durham to investigate the origins of the Russia probe and whether law enforcement's methods of collecting intelligence on the Trump campaign were legal, the New York Times first reported and the AP confirmed.

Why it matters: Barr had previously signaled that he wanted to review the FBI's surveillance of the Trump campaign, telling senators in a hearing last month that "spying did occur" — though he clarified that he did not mean to suggest that it was necessarily illegal. Durham has previously served as a special prosecutor investigating allegations of impropriety by intelligence officials, "including the F.B.I.’s ties to a crime boss in Boston and accusations of C.I.A. abuses of detainees," according to the Times.

The big picture: This is at least the third investigation into the origins of the Russia probe. The FBI's inspector general Michael Horowitz is currently investigating the government's use of wiretaps through the FISA process, while U.S. Attorney for Utah John Huber is also looking into claims of FBI misconduct.

  • Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham has also signaled his intention to "investigate the investigators," which has become a rallying cry for many Trump allies who believe the president was unfairly targeted.

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Older candidates take the lead on social media

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Michael Bloomberg, Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden — all close to 80 — are pushing the boundaries on social media, while their younger Democratic presidential rivals are comparatively staying out of the fray.

The big picture: President Trump's unexpected rise to political power has shown Democrats and world leaders the power of harnessing popular internet culture to get elected.

South Korea and Italy step up emergency measures as coronavirus cases jump

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus has spread to more nations as South Korea and Italy step up emergency measures in their countries amid rising case numbers on Sunday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed at least 2,462 people and infected almost 79,000 others, mostly in mainland China. South Korea increased the infectious disease alert to red, the highest possible, as its case numbers jumped to 602 and the death toll to five. Italy's government announced emergency measures, with several towns in the north effectively placed in lockdown, as it confirmed two deaths and infections rose to 79.

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Bernie Sanders wins Nevada caucus

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders waves to supporters at a campaign rally on Friday in Las Vegas. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders is projected to handily win the Nevada Democratic primary caucus, becoming the clear frontrunner among 2020 Democratic presidential primary election candidates.

Why it matters: Nevada is the first state with a diverse population to hold a nominating contest, highlighting candidates' abilities to connect with voters of color — particularly Latino voters.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy