February 14, 2020

Attorney General William Barr is having an outside prosecutor review the criminal case against former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, The New York Times reports.

The Times notes this is a "highly unusual" move, which could "trigger more accusations of political interference by top Justice Department officials into the work of career prosecutors." Barr has reportedly been installing outside prosecutors to review numerous politically-sensitive cases including that of the former Trump adviser, who in 2017 pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his conversations with then-Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak.

Since then, Flynn has been trying to change his plea to not guilty, saying last month, "In truth, I never lied." Jeff Jensen of the office of the United States attorney in St. Louis is reportedly examining the Flynn case. The news came almost immediately after the Department of Justice said it wouldn't be charging former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, a whiplash of stories likely to make Trump angry and then pleased in that order.

This also comes at the end of a week in which the Justice Department suddenly reversed its sentencing recommendation of up to nine years in prison for longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone, leading four prosecutors in the case to quit. Trump, who criticized the original sentencing recommendation, subsequently congratulated Barr "for taking charge" of the case. Trump on Friday claimed he has "the legal right" to ask Barr to get involved in criminal cases but said "I have so far chosen not to!" Brendan Morrow

2:11 p.m.

First lady Melania Trump is officially donning a face mask during the COVID-19 pandemic, although the jury's still out on whether her husband will follow suit.

In a social media post Thursday, the first lady shared a photo of herself wearing what appears to be a surgical mask, touting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's recommendation "to wear cloth face coverings."

"Remember, this does NOT replace the importance of social distancing," she wrote. "It is recommended to keep us all safe."

Melania's masking comes one week after President Trump announced he would not be wearing a mask, despite the CDC-issued guidelines urging people to do so. At the time, Trump implied that it would be odd to be "sitting in the Oval Office, behind that beautiful Resolute Desk" while wearing a mask, so it's unclear how he's taking this news.

The photo of the first lady appears to show her wearing a surgical mask rather than the CDC-recommended "cloth face covering," the former of which is recommended only for use by health care professionals and medical first responders amid critical supply shortages.