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Michael Flynn. Photo: Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images

Attorney General Bill Barr has assigned an outside prosecutor to monitor the Justice Department's ongoing case against President Trump's former national security adviser Michael Flynn, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: The move could trigger additional accusations of political interference at the Justice Department, especially for extremely sensitive cases involving former Trump allies.

  • It adds "a secondary layer of monitoring and control over what career prosecutors have been doing in the Washington office," the Times notes.
  • The new team on the Flynn case includes members from the office of Jeffrey Jensen of the U.S. attorney's office in St. Louis — and as well as other members from the office of the deputy attorney general.
  • Jensen's team has been asked "to look into Flynn's FBI interview," according to NBC News.

The state of play: Flynn's sentencing has been indefinitely postponed after he filed court papers last month to withdraw his guilty plea related to allegedly lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia's ambassador to the U.S., blaming the government's "bad faith, vindictiveness, and breach of the plea agreement."

The big picture: The president's relationship with Barr and the Justice Department has come under scrutiny over the past week due to developments in the Roger Stone case.

  • Four prosecutors who tried Stone in November withdrew from the case after the Justice Department overruled their original sentencing recommendation of 7–9 years for the political operative.
  • Trump tweeted that the original recommendation was a "miscarriage of justice." He later told reporters that he didn't speak to the Justice Department about the case, but that he would have "the absolute right" to.
  • Trump withdrew his nomination for former U.S. attorney for D.C. Jessie Liu to serve in a top Treasury Department position. While at the Justice Department, she oversaw a number of politically charged prosecutions that included the case against Trump associates.
  • Barr told ABC News in an interview Thursday that Trump's "constant background commentary" about the Justice Department "makes it impossible for me to do my job" — particularly blaming the president's tweets.
  • And earlier Friday, Trump tweeted that he has "the legal right" to ask Barr to intervene in criminal cases, saying that he has "so far chosen not to."

The other side: The DOJ declined Friday to bring charges against former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe in an investigation into whether he lied to investigators about a press leak.

  • McCabe and Trump have had a turbulent relationship since Trump took office.
  • The Times notes that the decision "appears to be a sign that [Barr] wants to show that the Justice Department is independent from" the president.

Go deeper

8 people killed in shooting at FedEx facility in Indianapolis

A screenshot of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department spokesperson Genae Cook during a news conference Friday morning. Photo: Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department/Facebook

At least eight people are dead and multiple others injured in a shooting Thursday night at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis, authorities said.

Details: "The alleged shooter has taken his own life here at the scene," Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department spokesperson Genae Cook said during a news conference early Friday. The gunman is believed to have been acting alone.

  • FedEx said in a statement it's aware of the shooting and was working to gather more information and cooperating with authorities near the Indianapolis airport.

Editor's note: This a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

Dems race to address, preempt stimulus fraud claims

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Biden officials are working to root out the systematic fraud in unemployment and Paycheck Protection Program claims that plagued the Trump administration’s efforts to boost the economy with coronavirus relief money, Gene Sperling told House committee chairmen privately this week.

Why it matters: President Biden just signed another $1.9 trillion of aid into law, with Sperling tapped to oversee its implementation. And the administration is asking Congress to approve another $2.2 trillion for the first phase of an infrastructure package.

7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Biden close to picking Nick Burns as China ambassador

Nicholas Burns. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Nicholas Burns, a career diplomat, is in the final stages of vetting to serve as President Biden’s ambassador to China, people familiar with the matter tell Axios.

Why it matters: Across the administration, there's a consensus the U.S. relationship with China will be the most critical — and consequential — of Biden's presidency. From trade to Taiwan, the stakes are high. Burns could be among the first batch of diplomatic nominees announced in the coming weeks.