Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Photo: Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

Attorney General William Barr said at a conference Monday that he is concerned about "serious irregularities" at the Manhattan federal jail where Jeffrey Epstein died by apparent suicide this weekend.

Catch up quick: Epstein, a multimillionaire financier with a web of connections to the world's elite, was awaiting trial for charges of sexual abuse and sex trafficking of underage girls. The Justice Department's inspector general and the FBI have both launched investigations into Epstein's death. Epstein had been placed on suicide watch after being found unconscious in his cell 2 weeks ago, but was reportedly taken off at the end of July.

Between the lines: Barr did not elaborate about the specific irregularities, but union officials have long been warning about a "severe staffing shortage at the facility in the wake of a federal hiring freeze," per the New York Times.

  • The American Federation of Government Employees, which represents 700,000 workers, wrote on Twitter Monday: "For years, our union has been sounding the alarm about the hiring freeze instituted by President Trump in the Bureau of Prisons, the thousands of staff vacancies that have resulted & the dangerous conditions these staff shortages have created for workers and inmates."

Barr's full statement:

This case was very important to the Department. It was important to the dedicated prosecutors and agents who investigated the case and were preparing it for trial. Most importantly, this case was important to the victims who had the courage to come forward and deserved the opportunity to confront the accused in court.
I was appalled — indeed, the entire Department was — and frankly angry, to learn of the MCC’s failure to adequately secure this prisoner. We are now learning of serious irregularities at this facility that are deeply concerning and that demand a thorough investigation. The FBI and the Office of Inspector General are already doing just that. We will get to the bottom of what happened at the MCC and we will hold people accountable for this failure.
Let me assure you that this case will continue on against anyone who was complicit with Epstein. Any co-conspirators should not rest easy. The victims deserve justice, and we will ensure they get it.
— Attorney General Bill Barr

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

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

In photos: The Biden and Harris inauguration

President Biden and first lady Jill Biden watch a fireworks show on the National Mall from the Truman Balcony at the White House on Wednesday night. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Biden signed his first executive orders into law from the Oval Office on Wednesday evening after walking in a brief inaugural parade to the White House with First Lady Jill Biden and members of their family. He was inaugurated with Vice President Kamala Harris at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday morning.

Why it matters: Many of Biden's day one actions immediately reverse key Trump administration policies, including rejoining the Paris Agreement and the World Health Organization, launching a racial equity initiative and reversing the Muslim travel ban.

Republicans pledge to set aside differences and work with Biden

President Biden speaks to Sen. Mitch McConnell after being sworn in at the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

Several Republicans praised President Biden's calls for unity during his inaugural address on Wednesday and pledged to work together for the benefit of the American people.

Why it matters: The Democrats only have a slim majority in the Senate and Biden will likely need to work with the GOP to pass his legislative agenda.

The Biden protection plan

Joe Biden announces his first run for the presidency in June 1987. Photo: Howard L. Sachs/CNP/Getty Images

The Joe Biden who became the 46th president on Wednesday isn't the same blabbermouth who failed in 1988 and 2008.

Why it matters: Biden now heeds guidance about staying on task with speeches and no longer worries a gaffe or two will cost him an election. His staff also limits the places where he speaks freely and off the cuff. This Biden protective bubble will only tighten in the months ahead, aides tell Axios.