Photo: Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

Key Bureau of Prisons staffers knew there was an order not to leave Jeffrey Epstein alone in his jail cell ahead of facing sex trafficking charges, but they apparently ignored the directive in his final hours, the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: If at least 8 officials did not follow key instructions in the 24 hours before Epstein's death, as is alleged, it would be a stunning systemic failure at the Manhattan Metropolitan Correctional Center.

  • Investigators suspect that at least some of those staffers knew Epstein had been left alone in a cell before he died, according to WashPost, citing people familiar with the matter.

Details: Sources told WashPost they're trying to determine the extent of such knowledge, but cautioned the apparent disregard for instruction does not necessarily mean there was criminal conduct.

  • It could simply be bureaucratic incompetence by individuals within the organization, the news outlet notes.

The big picture: The report comes days after Attorney General Bill Bar ordered the removal of acting director of the Bureau of Prisons Hugh Hurwitz, following the suicide of Epstein in the New York prison.

  • Barr has said previously there were "serious irregularities" at the MCC and that the Justice Department would ensure that those responsible for the oversight would be held accountable.

Go deeper: What we know: The life and death of Jeffrey Epstein

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Cleanup on aisle Biden

Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

After two gaffes and a low blow from President Trump questioning his faith, Joe Biden spent Thursday evening off his own message — clarifying comments and responding to attacks.

Why it matters: Biden’s responses reflect what we could see a lot more of in the next few months — cringeworthy comments and Trump smears, smacking into each other and pulling the Democrat off course.

2020 election strategy: Hire all the lawyers

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The coronavirus has sent overall U.S. unemployment into the double digits — but it's a sort of full-employment act for election law attorneys.

The big picture: The prospect of extended court fights over COVID-19-related voting changes, an absentee ballot avalanche, foreign interference and contested presidential results has prompted a hire-all-the-lawyers binge by candidates and campaigns — not just in swing states but around the country.

Right-wing media defanged by dissolving anti-Biden storylines

Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

The three biggest anti-Joe Biden storylines in right-wing media over the last year have either fizzled or are getting less online traction than they used to, according to data from NewsWhip provided exclusively to Axios.

Why it matters: This dynamic has rendered a formidable media ecosystem less effective in boosting President Trump as we move into the heart of the 2020 campaign.