Bill Barr delivers remarks at the Securities and Exchange Commission on Oct. 03. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

A federal investigation into the Trump-Russia probe — which is essentially looking into claims that the FBI's probe into President Trump's 2016 campaign was influenced by anti-Trump sentiments — has evolved into a full-fledged criminal inquiry, two people familiar with the matter said, per the New York Times.

Why it matters: The Justice Department's investigation now has the authority "to subpoena for witness testimony and documents, to impanel a grand jury and to file criminal charges," per the Times.

  • The investigation, led by Attorney General Bill Barr-appointed U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut John Durham, had interviewed "about two dozen and current F.B.I. officials" as of Oct. 19.
  • The Justice Department is also technically launching a criminal investigation against itself, since the FBI reports to the attorney general within the DOJ.

The big picture: The increased power wielded by a criminal investigation into the FBI's probe of possible links between Trump's 2016 campaign and Russia "is likely to raise alarms" that the president is using the DOJ "to go after his perceived enemies," per the Times.

Go deeper: Investigation into Trump-Russia probe continues to grow

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Deadly Hurricane Zeta slams U.S. Gulf Coast

A satellite image of Hurricane Zeta. Photo: National Hurricane Center/NOAA

Hurricane Zeta has killed at least one person after a 55-year-old man was "electrocuted by a downed power line" in Louisiana as the storm caused widespread power outages Wednesday night, per AP.

What's happening: Zeta made landfall south of New Orleans as a Category 2 hurricane earlier Wednesday before weakening to Category 1. But it was still "battering southeastern Louisiana and southern Mississippi with life-threatening storm surge, high winds, and heavy rain" late Wednesday, per the National Hurricane Center.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: Biden ahead in Wisconsin, Michigan as cases surge in the Midwest.
  2. Health: Fauci says U.S. may not return to normal until 2022 — Trump's testing czar: Surge "is real" and not just caused by more tests Some coronavirus survivors have "autoantibodies."
  3. Business: Consumer confidence sinking Testing is a windfall.
  4. World: Europe faces "stronger and deadlier" wave France imposes lockdown Germany to close bars and restaurants for a month.
  5. Sports: Boston Marathon delayed MLB to investigate Dodgers player who joined celebration after positive COVID test.
2 hours ago - Health

Fauci says U.S. may not return to normal until 2022

Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Anthony Fauci, testifies during a September Senate hearing on COVID-19 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Graeme Jennings/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

NIAID director Anthony Fauci told the Journal of the American Medical Association on Wednesday he doesn't expect a COVID-19 vaccine to be ready until January 2021 or later.

What he's saying: Fauci said during the interview that the U.S. was in a "bad position" after failing to keep case numbers down post-summer. "We should have been way down in baseline and daily cases and we’re not," he said.