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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Updated 33 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 a.m. ET: 20,620,847 — Total deaths: 748,416— Total recoveries: 12,770,718Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 a.m. ET: 5,197,000 — Total deaths: 166,026 — Total recoveries: 1,714,960 — Total tests: 63,252,257Map.
  3. Politics: Pelosi says Mnuchin told her White House is "not budging" on stimulus position.
  4. Business: U.S. already feeling effects of ending unemployment benefits.
  5. Public health: America's two-sided COVID-19 response America is flying blind on its coronavirus response.
  6. Education: New Jersey governor allows schools to reopenGallup: America's confidence in public school system jumps to highest level since 2004.

Bob Woodward's new book details letters between Trump and Kim Jong-un

Bob Woodward during a 2019 event in Los Angele. Photo: Michael Kovac/Getty Images

Journalist Bob Woodward has obtained "25 personal letters exchanged" between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un for his new book, "Rage," publisher Simon & Schuster revealed on Wednesday.

Details: In the letters, "Kim describes the bond between the two leaders as out of a 'fantasy film,' as the two leaders engage in an extraordinary diplomatic minuet," according to a description of the book posted on Amazon.

Dozens of Confederate symbols removed in wake of George Floyd's death

A statue of Confederate States President Jefferson Davis lies on the street after protesters pulled it down in Richmond, Virginia, in June. Photo: Parker Michels-Boyce/AFP via Getty Images

59 Confederate symbols have been removed, relocated or renamed since anti-racism protests began over George Floyd's death, a new Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) report finds.

Why it matters: That's a marked increase on previous years, per the report, which points out just 16 Confederate monuments were affected in 2019.