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President Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Photo: Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn's lawyer told a federal judge Tuesday that she briefed President Trump in recent weeks on the case and asked him not to issue a pardon, Politico reports.

Why it matters: Flynn lawyer Sidney Powell was responding to questions from U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan in a highly anticipated hearing on Tuesday. Sullivan's questioning highlights the judge's concerns about the Justice Department's bid in May to dismiss prosecution against Flynn, who pleaded guilty in 2017 to lying to the FBI about his contacts with the former Russian ambassador.

  • Powell also told Sullivan that she had not asked the president to have Attorney General Bill Barr intervene and assign new attorneys to the matter.

The exchange, per Politico:

POWELL: “I can tell you I spoke one time to the president about this case to inform him about the general status of this litigation."
SULLIVAN: “Did you ever ask the president of the United States or request his attorney general to appoint new attorneys in this case?”
POWELL: “Oh, heavens no."

The big picture: Trump's allies have viewed Barr's move to withdraw charges against Flynn as the first major step in exposing the Russia investigation as a political hit job. Democrats fear Barr is weaponizing the Justice Department ahead of the election.

Go deeper: Ex-judge says Trump "pressure campaigns" led to DOJ reversal in Flynn case

Go deeper

Dec 17, 2018 - World

Russia is winning its war of disinformation

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

U.S. intelligence says Russia sought to disrupt the 2016 and 2018 elections and sow discord. Regardless of what Robert Mueller does, Russia did it — and is still at it.

The big picture: Multiple high-stakes, aggressive federal investigations were spawned by an initial FBI probe of Russian government efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election. And fallout from Russian meddling, including Democratic talk of impeaching President Trump, is likely to remain a dominant political issue as Democrats take over the House 17 days from now.

Moderna says vaccine appears to protect against new COVID-19 variants

Photo: Justin Tallis/AFP via Getty Images

Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine is effective against new variants of the virus that first appeared in the U.K. and in South Africa, the company announced on Monday.

Yes, but: The vaccine was as effective against the strain from U.K., but saw a six-fold reduction in antibodies against the South Africa variant. Even still, the neutralizing antibodies generated by the vaccine "remain above levels that are expected to be protective," according to the company.

Dave Lawler, author of World
Updated 1 hour ago - World

Xi Jinping warns against "new cold war" in Davos speech

Chinese President Xi Jinping. Photo: Wang Zhao - Pool/Getty Images

Chinese President Xi Jinping warned that a "new cold war" could turn hot, and must be avoided, in a speech on Monday at World Economic Forum’s virtual “Davos Agenda” conference.

Why it matters: Xi didn't refer directly to U.S.-China tensions, but the subtext was clear. These were his first remarks to an international audience since the inauguration of President Biden, whose administration has already concurred with Donald Trump's determination that China is committing "genocide" against Uyghur Muslims, and issued a warning about China's aggression toward Taiwan.