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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.

Super typhoon Surigae explodes to Cat. 5 intensity

Super Typhoon Surigae seen on satellite imagery Saturday morning east of the Philippines. (CIRA/RAMMB)

Super Typhoon Surigae surged in intensity from a Category 1 storm on Friday to a beastly Category 5 monster on Saturday, with maximum sustained winds estimated at 190 mph with higher gusts.

Why it matters: This storm — known as Typhoon Bising in the Philippines — is just the latest of many tropical cyclones to undergo a process known as rapid intensification, a feat that studies show is becoming more common due to climate change.