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President Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn leaves the court in Washington, D.C., last June. Photo: Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images

A federal judge indicated President Trump's first national security adviser Michael Flynn could be held in contempt of court for perjury as he appointed an outsider on Wednesday to review the case.

Details: Federal Judge Emmet Sullivan said in an order he appointed retired judge John Gleeson "to present arguments in opposition to the government's Motion to Dismiss" and on "whether the Court should issue an Order to Show Cause why Mr. Flynn should not be held in criminal contempt for perjury."

Why it matters: It's the latest twist and a highly unusual move in the high-profile case that's prompted accusations from almost 2,000 former Department of Justice officials and former President Obama that Attorney General Bill Barr politicized the DOJ with its decision to drop charges to side with President Trump and his allies.

The big picture: Flynn is seeking to withdraw his guilty plea related to allegedly lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia's ambassador to the U.S.

  • The DOJ said in its filing following a review of the case that the interview in which Flynn lied to the FBI "was untethered to, and unjustified by, the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into Mr. Flynn," and "conducted without any legitimate investigative basis."
  • Trump has said he would consider bringing Flynn back into the administration, calling him "essentially exonerated" after FBI documents released as part of Flynn's effort to withdraw his guilty plea showed that bureau officials had asked whether their "goal" was "to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired."

Of note: Gleeson, who was appointed to the federal bench in New York by former President Clinton, already expressed his views on Flynn's case in a Washington Post op-ed he co-authored earlier this week.

  • "Government motions to dismiss at this stage are virtually unheard of,” Gleeson and his co-authors wrote. "There has been nothing regular about the department’s effort to dismiss the Flynn case. The record reeks of improper political influence."
  • After the judge's decision, Trump retweeted a report on two Republican senators releasing a declassified list from acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell naming the Obama administration officials who asked to "unmask" Flynn's identity when he was under government surveillance.

Read the judge's order, via DocumentCloud:

Go deeper: The facts on Michael Flynn, the FBI, and Bill Barr’s bombshell

Go deeper

12 mins ago - World

Jamal Khashoggi murder suspect arrested in Paris

A person holding a candle and a picture of journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a vigil outside of the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul in October 2018. Photo: Chris McGrath/Getty Images

A suspected member of the hit squad that murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul in 2018 was arrested at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris on Tuesday, according to AP.

Why it matters: Khalid Aedh Al-Otaibi — who is one of several people sanctioned by the United States, the United Kingdom and other countries over Khashoggi's murder — was trying to board a flight to Riyadh and is now being held on an arrest warrant from Turkey, AP reports, citing a French judicial official.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Americans shrug off Omicron, Axios-Ipsos poll finds — CDC director says number of U.S. Omicron cases "likely to rise."
  2. Vaccines: Omicron gives a shot to boosters — U.S. announces $400M for global COVID vaccine distribution — Vaccine mandates lose steam in the U.S. while Europe doubles down.
  3. States: Gov. Hochul will order some NY hospitals to halt elective surgeries — Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers.
  4. World: EU drug regulator backs mixing COVID vaccines — Poor global equity likely in COVID pill access — CDC raises travel advisories for France, Portugal to highest level amid COVID surge.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

Mark Meadows will stop cooperating with Jan. 6 panel, attorney says

Photo: Chris Kleponis/Polaris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows will no longer cooperate with the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, his attorney told Fox News Tuesday.

Why it matters: Meadows, who failed to appear before the panel last month, is believed to have insight into former President Trump's role in efforts to stop the certification of President Biden's election win.