Washington (CNN)Attorney General William Barr is ordering a re-examination of several high-profile cases, including that of former national security adviser Michael Flynn, US officials briefed on the matter say, in a move that could bring fresh scrutiny of the political motives behind actions at the Justice Department.
US Attorney Jeffrey Jensen of St. Louis has been tasked with taking a second look at some aspects of the sensitive cases, one of the officials said. It was not clear which other cases were under review, and what form the reviews had taken.
The revelation, first reported by The New York Times, comes days after Barr’s Justice Department undercut career prosecutors in the case of Donald Trump confidant Roger Stone to recommend a reduced sentence. The decision led four federal prosecutors to quit the case and invited fresh questions about the impartiality of Barr’s Justice Department from political matters. On Wednesday, CNN reported that Barr had also been pressing for a sentence for Flynn that would spare him from prison.
Flynn, a retired Army lieutenant general who served as Trump’s first national security adviser and resigned a month into the new administration, is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty in 2017 to charges that he lied to the FBI about a conversation he had with the then-ambassador to Russia. The aftermath of the conversation, including Trump’s encouragement of then-FBI Director James Comey to go easy on Flynn, led to the eventual appointment of former special counsel Robert Mueller.
In recent months, Flynn changed lawyers and has waged a campaign to portray himself as a victim of malicious prosecutors. He is asking a judge to dismiss his case or allow him to change his guilty plea to not guilty.
Flynn’s new legal counsel has argued in court filings that the former national security adviser was ambushed in the January 2017 interview in an instance that was part of a larger pattern of abuses by the FBI. But a federa