The Department of Justice is reported to be ‘in ongoing discussions’ over whether to appoint a special counsel to probe as Hunter Biden.
Officials there argue the move is ‘warranted’, Fox News reports Wednesday, despite the objections of outgoing Attorney General Bill Barr.
Hunter Biden disclosed earlier this month the U.S. Attorney´s Office in Delaware is investigating his tax affairs.
Barr, who left office Wednesday, had said Monday he had no plans to appoint special counsels to investigate President-elect Joe Biden’s son. A source told Fox Wednesday: ‘It is an ongoing discussion. No decisions have been made either way.’
A second source said some officials believe the move would be ‘warranted’, adding: ‘It [the special counsel statute] was passed to deal with a potential conflict of interest of the attorney general or the president of the United States.
‘A president-elect coming in, where his appointed attorneys will be investigating his son? That’s textbook conflict.’
Hunter Biden, left, disclosed earlier this month the U.S. Attorney´s Office in Delaware is investigating his tax affairs. Barr, who left office Wednesday, had said Monday he had no plans to appoint special counsels to investigate President-elect Joe Biden’s, right, son
Barr last week said he would leave office on Wednesday, a little less than a month before Biden is sworn in on January 20. Trump announced Barr’s resignation after criticizing him for not supporting his fraud claims.
The Hunter Biden investigation ‘is being handled responsibly and professionally currently within the department,’ Barr told a news conference.
‘I have not seen a reason to appoint a special counsel and I have no plan to do so before I leave,’ he said, adding that there was also no need for a special counsel to investigate the election.
A special counsel would make it more difficult for Biden and his yet-to-be-named attorney general to close investigations begun under Trump.
Officials at the DOJ argue the move is ‘warranted’, Fox News reports Wednesday despite outgoing Attorney General Bill Barr, pictured, saying there is no reason to do so
Last week, Barr’s successor, Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, in an interview declined to say if he would appoint a special counsel to investigate Hunter Biden but said he would he would act on any issues ‘on the basis of the law and the facts.’
Rosen said he would continue ‘to do things on the merits and to do things on the basis of the law and the facts. That’s how I thought about it from the beginning and that’s how I’ll think about it through the end.’
Trump has privately been mulling whether to pressure the Justice Department to appoint a special counsel to look in to Hunter Biden, according to a person familiar with the matter, Reuters reported earlier.
The president has also grown particularly angry that Barr did not announce the existence of a two-year-old investigation of Hunter Biden before the election.
Barr’s successor, Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, pictured, declined to say if he would appoint a special counsel to investigate Hunter Biden
Barr’s statements on the special counsel may make it easier for Rosen to resist pressure from the White House to open any special counsel investigation.
In his 2019 confirmation hearing for deputy attorney general, Rosen said he was willing to rebuff political pressure from the White House if necessary. He told legislators that criminal investigations should ‘proceed on the facts and the law’ and prosecutions should be ‘free of improper political influences.’
‘If the appropriate answer is to say no to somebody, then I will say no,’ he said at the time.
Joe Biden said Tuesday: ‘I guarantee you I’m going to do what I said. The attorney general of the United States of America is not the president’s lawyer. I will appoint someone I expect to enforce the law as the law is written, not guided by me.’
Incoming White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said: ‘He will not be discussing an investigation of his son with any attorney general candidates.’
Fox News reported that Hunter is a ‘subject/target’ of the grand jury investigation. A target means there’s a ‘high probability that person committed a crime’ and a subject is someone you ‘don’t know for sure’ has committed a crime.
Sources told the network said transactions from ‘China and other foreign nations’ triggered Suspicious Activity Reports, prompting the probe.
Fox said the probe began in 2018, meaning it predated Barr taking over the top post at the Justice Department.
Speaking to reporters two days before stepping down from his position as the nation’s top law enforcement official, Barr once again also distanced himself from Trump’s claims, contrary to evidence, that his election defeat was the result of widespread fraud.
Barr, one of Trump’s staunchest supporters, said he saw ‘no basis’ for the federal government to seize voting machines used in the November 3 presidential election and affirmed earlier comments that he saw no evidence of systemic fraud in the election.
‘I stand by that statement,’ Barr said on Monday, referring to comments made in a December 1 interview with the Associated Press.
Barr declined to say if he thought Trump could pre-emptively pardon himself, which would effectively immunize him from federal investigations after leaving office.
Trump has privately been mulling whether to pressure the Justice Department to appoint a special counsel to look in to Hunter Biden, according to a person familiar with the matter, Reuters reported earlier. He is pictured with First Lady Melania Wednesday
The U.S. courts have not resolved if a president as a legal right to do this, as no president has yet attempted a self-pardon.
State and federal election officials have repeatedly said there is no evidence to support Trump’s claims that his defeat was the result of widespread fraud. Multiple courts have rejected lawsuits brought by Trump supporters advancing those claims.
Biden beat Trump by 306 to 232 votes in the state-by-state Electoral College that chooses the president, as well as by more than 7 million ballots in the popular vote.