Roger Stone, friend and former adviser to President Trump, leaves the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia after being sentenced in February in Washington, DC. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Department of Justice inspector general's office has launched an internal investigation into Attorney General Bill Barr's intervention in the sentencing of President Trump's associate Roger Stone, the DOJ confirmed Monday night.

Why it matters: The probe centers around Barr's February decision to seek a lighter sentence after career prosecutors recommended seven to nine years in prison for Stone, who was convicted of obstruction, witness tampering and making false statements to Congress, NBC News first reported.

  • Career prosecutor Aaron Zelinsky testified before Congress in June that prosecutors were under "heavy pressure from the highest levels of the Department of Justice" in the case.

The big picture: Trump congratulated Barr for "taking charge of a case that was totally out of control and perhaps should not have even been brought." Barr has said he made "the right decision" in the case.

What they're saying: Justice Department spokesperson Kerri Kupec said in a statement to news outlets, "We welcome the review."

  • Stephanie Logan, a spokesperson for DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz, would only say to Politico, "Our general practice is to not confirm or deny the existence of any ongoing investigation."

Of note: Stone was the seventh person to be convicted and sentenced for crimes unearthed by former special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation.

Go deeper: Roger Stone says he plans to campaign for Trump

Go deeper

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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Democratic lawyers are preparing to challenge any effort by President Trump to swap electors chosen by voters with electors selected by Republican-controlled legislatures. One state of particular concern: Pennsylvania, where the GOP controls the state house.

Why it matters: Trump's refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power, together with a widely circulated article in The Atlantic about how bad the worst-case scenarios could get, is drawing new attention to the brutal fights that could jeopardize a final outcome.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
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A less visible but still massive trauma caused by the coronavirus is becoming clear: our mental health is suffering with potentially long-lasting consequences.

Why it matters: Mental health disorders that range from schizophrenia to depression and anxiety exert a severe cost on personal health and the economy. Addressing that challenge may require out-of-the-box solutions.

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Preview: "Axios on HBO" interviews Bob Woodward

On the next episode of "Axios on HBO," journalist Bob Woodward tells Axios National Political Correspondent Jonathan Swan why he spoke out about President Trump being the "wrong man for the job."

  • "I did not want to join the ranks of the Senate Republicans who know that Trump is the wrong man for the job, but won't say it publicly," Woodward said.

Catch the full interview on Monday, Sept. 28 at 11 p.m. ET/PT on all HBO platforms.