Attorney General William Barr said he sees no reason to appoint a special counsel to oversee an investigation of President-elect Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, a statement sure to frustrate President Donald Trump and his closest advisers.
Barr said Monday that a probe into the younger Biden, believed to be linked to tax-related issues over his business dealings in China, is being handled “responsibly.” In what may be his final public briefing before stepping down on Wednesday, Barr said he has no plans to appoint a special counsel.
“To this point I have not seen a reason to appoint a special counsel and I have no plan to do so before I leave,” Barr told reporters at the Justice Department on Monday.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham — a confidant of Trump — last week called for a special counsel to be named in order “to see if he presents a conflict for the Biden administration regarding his business dealings in Ukraine, which is overrun with Russian agents, and any activity he had with the Chinese government.”
Senator Tom Cotton and Trump have also expressed interest in a special counsel.
Biden’s transition team announced Dec. 9 that Hunter Biden was under federal criminal tax investigation.
The Bidens have repeatedly insisted no wrongdoing was committed. Hunter Biden was a board member of Burisma, a Ukrainian gas company when his father was vice president. Joe Biden worked with international allies to have Ukraine’s top prosecutor fired over other matters.
Touching on another area likely to draw Trump’s wrath, Barr said he agreed with Secretary of State Michael Pompeo that Russia was most likely behind a large-scale hack of U.S. government agencies and major companies. Trump suggested China may have been responsible for the attack, despite intelligence experts saying it had the signature of Russian intelligence.
In a letter to Trump last week, Barr said he intends to step down Dec. 23. He’ll be replaced in an acting role by Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen.
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