Hunter Biden probe: Attorney General Barr finds no reason to name special counsel for investigation

WION Web Team
Washington, United States Published: Dec 21, 2020, 10:57 PM(IST)

William Barr Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

Hunter Biden disclosed earlier this month the US Attorney’s Office in Delaware is investigating his tax affairs

US Attorney General William Barr on Monday rejected several of President Donald Trump's inflammatory and unfounded statements regarding the presidential election, saying he has no plans to name special counsels to investigate Hunter Biden or election fraud.

Hunter Biden disclosed earlier this month the US Attorney’s Office in Delaware is investigating his tax affairs.

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” by Justice Department prosecutors. 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 what may have been his final public appearance before stepping down.

Barr also said he sees no reason to appoint a special counsel to look into election fraud, standing by his previous statement that there’s been no evidence of widespread fraud that would overturn Joe Biden’s November 3 election win. Trump continues to claim without evidence that the vote was “rigged.”

“If I thought a special counsel at this stage was the right tool and was appropriate, I would name one, but I haven’t and I’m not going to,” Barr said. The attorney general said he also sees “no basis now for seizing machines by the federal government,” something Trump has reportedly inquired about.

Barr, who is set to leave office Wednesday, also broke with Trump by publicly blaming Russia for a massive cyberattack that has affected more than a half-dozen government agencies and an untold number of private companies, even as the president pointed the finger at China over the weekend and sought to downplay the breach.

"From the information I have, I agree with Secretary Pompeo’s assessment," Barr said, referring to State Department chief Mike Pompeo. "It certainly appears to be the Russians, but I’m not going to discuss it beyond that."

Trump has accused the media of inflating the seriousness of the cyberattacks and deflected blame from Russia, undermining his own administration’s warning last week that the cyberattacks believed to be tied to Russia continue to pose a “grave risk” to government networks and the private sector.

Biden’s transition team announced on December 9 that Hunter Biden was under a federal criminal tax investigation. The Bidens have repeatedly insisted no wrongdoing was committed.

Hunter Biden has been the target of more than one federal criminal investigation, according to a person familiar with the matter.

According to a US Senate Committee report, Joe Biden's son Hunter was paid $50,000 a month to serve as the board of Burisma which is a Ukrainian natural gas company with a corrupt owner while his father was the US vice president during the Obama administration.

The report said the Treasury records accessed by Chairman Grassley and Chairman Johnson showed Hunter Biden and his family including his associates were involved in "potential criminal activity relating to transactions with Ukrainian, Russian, Kazakh and Chinese nationals."

The Senate Committee report claimed that that Hunter Biden and his family were involved in a "vast financial network that connected them to foreign nationals and foreign governments across the globe", while adding that Hunter and Archer formed "significant and consistent financial relationships with the corrupt oligarch Mykola Zlochevsky during their time working for Burisma and their firms made millions of dollars from that association while Joe Biden was the vice president." 

"Rosemont Seneca Thornton, an investment firm co-founded by Hunter Biden received $3.5 million in wire transfer from Elena Baturina who allegedly received illegal construction contracts from her husband, the former mayor of Moscow," it said.

"In particular these documents show that Hunter Biden received millions of dollars from foreign sources as a result of business relationships that he built during the period when his father was the vice-president of the US," the report claimed.

The report said Biden and Archer found "willing partners in Chinese nationals connected to the Communist regime", adding that "their work began in China in 2009 with the creation of Rosemont Seneca Partners with Heinz, the stepson of the then secretary of state John Kerry.

"Hunter Biden's connections and financial associations appear to have accelerated significantly after he associated himself with Ye Jianming who had deep connections with the Communist regime and PLA," it said.

Last week, Barr's successor, Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, in a interview declined to say if he would appoint a special counsel to investigate Hunter Biden or election issues.

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