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Photo: Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images

Editor's note: After this story was published, the Justice Department revealed it was dropping its prosecution of Michael Flynn. Read the full story here.

Brandon Van Grack, a former member of special counsel Robert Mueller's team, moved to withdraw from the Justice Department's prosecution of former national security adviser Michael Flynn on Thursday. He did not provide a reason for his withdrawal.

Why it matters: Van Grack leads a team that has been accused by Flynn's attorneys of prosecutorial misconduct. New FBI documents stemming from Flynn's move to withdraw his 2017 guilty plea have amplified conservative claims that prosecutors sought to entrap the former top Trump aide into lying about his conversations with the former Russian ambassador.

The big picture: Attorney General Bill Barr appointed an outside prosecutor in February to examine the case against Flynn, which both President Trump and Vice President Pence have weighed in on in recent days.

  • Flynn was forced to resign from the administration for misleading Pence and later pleaded guilty in the Mueller investigation to lying to FBI agents about speaking to the Russian ambassador about sanctions, which the Obama administration had imposed for election interference.
  • President Trump has said he is "strongly considering" a full pardon for Flynn, and has tweeted repeatedly about the unfair treatment he alleges Flynn has received.
  • Last week, Trump said that he would consider bringing Flynn back into the administration, claiming his former national security adviser is "essentially exonerated."

Van Grack and the team prosecuting Flynn have denied wrongdoing. The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Flashback: In February, the Justice Department overruled career prosecutors who were seeking a 7-9 year prison sentence for Roger Stone, another former Trump adviser charged in the Mueller investigation. The decision prompted all four prosecutors who tried Stone to withdraw from the case.

Go deeper: New Flynn revelations heighten Trump's discontent with FBI director Wray

Go deeper

Former FBI advisor expected to plead guilty for falsifying email in Trump campaign probe

President Trump briefs reporters on August 14. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

Kevin Clinesmith, who gave legal support to the FBI as it investigated ties between President Trump's 2016 campaign and Russia, is expected to plead guilty to falsifying a key document in the agency's probe, the New York Times reports, citing court documents made public on Friday.

Why it matters: The charging documents do not show any evidence that Clinesmith's actions were part of a broad conspiracy to undermine the president, per the Times.

Thousands without power as "hazardous" winter storm lashes East Coast

Winter view from Charlotte as winter storm Izzy creates dangerous conditions in Charlotte, N.C. on Jan. 16. Photo: Peter Zay/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A major winter storm was lashing much of the East Coast on Sunday, causing widespread power outages and disrupting travel over the holiday weekend.

The big picture: Heavy snow and ice accumulations were "likely to produce hazardous travel," downed trees and more outages from the Mid-South to the Northeast, per the National Weather Service. Some parts of the U.S. can expect to see up to a foot of snow through Monday.

Updated 6 hours ago - Science

Volcanic eruption in Tonga caused "significant" damage

This satellite image of the eruption on Jan. 15 taken by Himawari-8, a Japanese weather satellite operated by Japan Meteorological Agency and released by National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT). Photo: NICT via AP

Significant damage has been reported in Tonga following an undersea volcanic eruption on Saturday, which covered the Pacific nation in ash and cut off communication lines.

Driving the news: The eruption triggered tsunami warnings across Tonga's islands and in other regions, including the West Coast of the U.S. and New Zealand, which were later lifted.