Outgoing Attorney General William Barr said Monday he saw no reason for a particular attorney to take over the criminal investigation of Hunter Biden, son of President-elect Joe Biden, and undercut President Donald Trump again.
Trump has been considering urging the Department of Justice to appoint a dedicated lawyer for the investigation, who is focused on Hunter Biden’s taxes and is currently being handled by the U.S. law firm in Delaware.
“As far as there is an investigation, I think that it is being handled responsibly and professionally within the department,” Barr said at a press conference two days before his resignation from the Justice Department.
“And so far, I haven’t seen any reason to appoint a special attorney and I see no reason to do so before I go,” Barr said.
“If I thought a special lawyer was the right tool, I would name one, but I didn’t.”
Barr also said he hopes the Biden administration will “responsibly” manage the Hunter Biden probe.
The appointment of a special adviser is seen as a means to prevent Joe Biden or other officials in his administration from putting pressure on the U.S. law firm to spare Hunter Biden.
The Attorney General appoints special advisers to investigate an individual or problem if federal prosecutors or departments of the Department of Justice have a conflict of interest when dealing with the investigation.
Incoming Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen refused to say last week whether he would appoint a special adviser to investigate Hunter Biden.
US Attorney General William Barr attends a press conference to release an update on the investigation into the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing on the 32nd anniversary of the attack at the US Department of Justice in Washington, DC, United States, on December 21, 2020 .
Michael Reynolds | Reuters
Joe Biden has said he won’t interfere in federal prosecutors’ decision-making.
“It’s not my Justice Department. It’s the People’s Justice Department,” Biden said in a recent interview.
Barr filed his resignation last week after infuriating Trump by contradicting the president’s claim that he lost the presidential election as a result of massive election fraud against Joe Biden.
Barr had said in an interview with The Associated Press that the DOJ had seen no evidence that Biden’s election could be reversed.
On Monday, Barr said he commented in that interview on whether there was systemic or widespread electoral fraud.
“I stand by that statement,” he said.
During the same press conference, Barr disagreed with Trump’s suggestion that Russia was not responsible for the so-called massive SolarWinds hack by US government agencies. Barr said the hack “certainly seems to be the Russians.”
Trump over the weekend claimed the hack could have been the work of China. But Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said before the president interfered on Twitter, “I think it’s the case that we can now say pretty clearly that it was the Russians who got involved in this activity.”
US Vice President Joe Biden (R) points with his son Hunter at some of the faces in the crowd as they walk down Pennsylvania Avenue after President Barack Obama’s dedication ceremony on January 20, 2009 in Washington.
Carlos Barria | Reuters
Hunter Biden, a lawyer and businessman, said nearly two weeks ago that he was the focus of an investigation by the Trump-appointed U.S. attorney in his home state of Delaware. The revelation came after the presidential election.
Trump was upset that Barr had managed to keep the investigation a secret before the election.
The president has also been furious for years about the appointment of former FBI director Robert Mueller as special adviser in 2017 to investigate his 2016 presidential campaign and its contacts with Russians.
Both Hunter Biden and his father said Hunter did not commit a crime.
Last week when Joe Biden was asked by a reporter, “Are you sure your son Hunter didn’t do anything wrong?” He replied, “I am confident.”
When Hunter Biden revealed the investigation, he said, “I take this matter very seriously, but I am confident that a professional and objective review of these matters will show that I have handled my affairs legally and appropriately, including with the benefit of professional tax advisors . “”