Washington — Attorney General William Barr is bringing in an outside team to challenge the work of his own prosecutors in the case of Michael Flynn, President Trump's former national security adviser, according to a person familiar with the Justice Department's decision.
The Justice Department confirmed that Jeff Jensen, a prosecutor in the U.S. attorney's office in St. Louis, is working closely with Flynn prosecutor Brandon Van Grack to review the case. The issue being reviewed is not related to the supervision of the case. Van Grack worked on the special counsel's team.
CBS News has reported that Flynn's lawyers are trying tohis guilty plea based on allegations that Van Grack sought to suborn perjury by allegedly pressuring Flynn to make false statements in a Virginia case against a former business partner, Bijan Rafiekian.
Two years ago, Flynn admitted he lied to the FBI in a case that stemmed from special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
The review of Flynn's case comes as prosecutors drop their investigation of Andrew McCabe, the former deputy FBI director and a frequent target of the president.
Barr's decision to review the criminal case against Flynn will be seen as another favor to the president, who has long felt his former national security advisor was treated unfairly. There are reports senior Justice Department officials pushed for a lighter sentence for Flynn than prosecutors originally sought, which is also what happened in the case of Roger Stone, the president's longtime friend, who has asked for a new trial.
Barr publicly touted his independence in an interview with ABC News this week. But he has launched several investigations the president has previously pushed for. One looks into the origins of the Russia probe and another examines the evidence Rudy Giuliani has gathered in Ukraine.
The president argued he had "the legal right" to get interfere in Justice Department investigations. The one involving McCabe was dropped Friday, and it will not please Mr. Trump.
The former FBI deputy director responsible for launching the Russia investigation into the president has been one of his most frequent targets and on Friday, he expressed outrage about being left in legal limbo.
"It's an absolute disgrace that they took two years and put my family through this experience," McCabe said.
Meanwhile, a group of Democratic senators is calling on Barr to resign. They said it's "not credible" for him to claim to oversee the Justice Department in an independent manner.
Clare Hymes and Catherine Herridge contributed to this report.