Election 2020 Politics

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Barr says he has no plans to appoint special counsel to investigate Hunter Biden

By Felicia Sonmez and Matt Zapotosky

Attorney General William P. Barr said Monday that he does not plan to appoint a special counsel to investigate Hunter Biden, the son of the president-elect.

“I think to the extent that there’s an investigation, I think that it’s being handled responsibly and professionally currently within the department,” Barr told reporters at his final news conference at the Justice 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.”

Federal prosecutors have been investigating whether Hunter Biden failed to report income from China-related business deals, according to people familiar with the matter. Earlier this month, Hunter Biden confirmed that his taxes are under investigation and said in a statement that he is “confident that a professional and objective review of these matters will demonstrate that I handled my affairs legally and appropriately, including with the benefit of professional tax advisers.”

Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a top Trump ally, criticized Barr’s announcement in a Monday tweet.

“With all due respect to Attorney General Barr: My concern is the scope of the Delaware investigation is limited to tax fraud and will not be a thorough review of Hunter Biden’s extensive business dealings with foreign nations,” Graham said.

In recent weeks, Trump has expressed frustration with Barr because the attorney general did not reveal before the election that Hunter Biden was under investigation. Trump told Fox News Channel in an interview earlier this month that Barr “should have stepped up” on the matter.

“All he had to do is say an investigation’s going on,” Trump said, adding later, “When you affect an election, Bill Barr, frankly, did the wrong thing.”

Before that, Trump had been fuming at his attorney general for not taking public, pre-election steps in a separate probe, run by Connecticut U.S. Attorney John Durham, that is examining the FBI’s investigation of Trump’s 2016 campaign.

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