William Barr Says There’s ‘No Need’ For Special Counsels To Investigate Election Or Hunter Biden
On Monday, Attorney General William Barr rejected several of President Donald Trump‘s statements regarding the election in a news conference, saying that he doesn’t plan to appoint a special counsel to investigate President-elect Joe Biden‘s son Hunter or the election.
“If I thought a special counsel at this stage was a right tool and was appropriate, I would name one, but I haven’t and I’m not going to,” Barr said in response to a question on the presidential election. He said there was no evidence of widespread fraud present in this election.
— Bloomberg Quicktake (@Quicktake) December 21, 2020
Barr also proceeded to reject suggestions from Trump’s allies who’ve called for the U.S. government to seize voting machines.
“I see no basis for seizure of machines by the federal government,” said Barr. “There is fraud unfortunately in most elections, I think we’re too tolerant of it.”
Barr gave a similar answer when asked about a further investigation of Hunter Biden’s financials, saying there is no need for him to take special steps to protect the investigation.
“To the extent there’s an investigation, I think it’s being handled responsibly and professionally currently within the department, and 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 said.
Federal prosecutors and IRS investigations are conducting the probe, and Hunter Biden has not been charged with any crime.
Barr is set to leave the Justice Department on Wednesday, after telling the president last week he would leave the administration early, negotiating to stay for Monday’s announcement on criminal charges against an alleged bomb maker in the 1988 terrorist bombing of Pan Am flight 103.
Jeffrey Rosen, deputy attorney general who’s served as Barr’s No. 2 for more than a year, is set to fill the top job for the final month of Trump’s presidency and potentially until the Senate confirms Biden’s nominee.
Following his claims on Hunter Biden and the election results, Barr was asked about other controversial issues by reporters, about the Justice Department.
Barr went on to explain why he appointed U.S. attorney John Durham as a special counsel to investigate the origins of the Russian probe by the FBI in 2016.
“I wanted to provide him and his team with insurance that they’d be able to finish their work.” He claimed they were making progress, but did not discuss anything further.
He also declined to respond to a question about a president being able to pardon himself, which is a topic of much debate as the Trump presidency comes to an end.
“Off the top of my head, I’m not going to opine on a constitutional issue as far as the pardon power goes,” Barr said at the news conference.
This was Barr’s last major news conference leading the Justice Department under Trump.
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