Barr breaks up with Trump on the way out about Hunter Biden and election fraud

Trump has criticized Barr for keeping the investigation relatively quiet ahead of last month’s election, and some Republican lawmakers have called on the attorney general to turn the investigation into a special council investigation.

However, Barr said the probes in the younger Biden are already being handled capably by lawyers within the Justice Department.

“I think as far as there is any investigation, I think it is being handled responsibly and professionally within the department at the moment,” said Barr. “So far I have seen no reason to appoint special counsel, nor do I intend to do so before I leave.”

Hunter Biden revealed early this month that the US attorney for Delaware was investigating potential tax-related issues. POLITICO later reported that the securities fraud unit for the Southern District of New York, which investigates major white collar crime, is also investigating its financial transactions and that the scope of the investigation extends beyond taxes.

And while Trump is considering taking extreme actions to investigate claims of widespread voter fraud, including using an executive order to seize voting machines that the president’s lawyers say are likely to contain evidence of manipulation, Barr made it clear that he is not is on board.

“I now see no reason for the confiscation of machines by the federal government – massive seizure of machines by the federal government,” he told reporters, and seemed to leave open the possibility that investigators could provide some evidence in a specific case. Take in custody.

Barr also scoffed at another idea Trump is considering at a series of White House rallies: appointing one of his most confrontational and controversial lawyers, Sidney Powell, as special counsel to investigate electoral fraud.

“If I thought that a special counsel was the right and appropriate tool at this stage, I would name one, but I don’t have it and will not do it,” said the attorney general.

Barr offered the president a bit of an olive branch on that topic, saying there was fraud in last month’s election, but he didn’t budge from his earlier remarks that any electoral mischief didn’t reach levels that would affect the president’s outcome. race.

“Unfortunately there is fraud in most elections. I think we are too tolerant of this and I am sure that fraud has been committed in this election, ”said the Attorney General, reaffirming that it was not reaching a“ systemic ”level.

Barr announced last week that he intended to step down this week, about a month before Trump’s term expires. The announcement came amid reports that Trump could fire Barr out of dissatisfaction with Barr’s approach to issues such as the election and the Hunter Biden probe. But after the two men met last week, Trump praised Barr and refrained from the kind of public criticism the president had expressed several times before the election.

Barr, who tends to be stoic in public appearances, seemed a bit wistful on Monday – though some of that somber tone may have stemmed from the main topic of his appearance: an announcement of criminal charges against a new suspect in the bombing of Pan Am in 1988.103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. That terrorist attack killed all 259 people on board and 11 people on the ground. The sister of a man who died in flight was on stage with Barr at Monday’s press conference.

Looking back on his second tenure as Attorney General, Barr seemed to admit it was tumultuous, but said he was aware of at least some of the challenges he would face.

“I knew I was applying for a difficult assignment in this department,” said Barr. “There were tough times and I came in because I felt I could help lead the DOJ during this particular time. And I don’t regret it at all. I do not regret coming in. “

While Barr often seems eager for a joust with his critics or getting tangled up with the government’s political opponents, on Monday he missed an opportunity to resume his role by excusing liberals for various social problems.

When asked whether, in light of Trump’s various statements challenging the election results, Barr will stand by a speech he delivered last year blaming the left for a “systematic fragmentation of standards,” the attorney general protested.

“I’m just not going to go into my comments to the Federalist Society or any recent developments,” Barr said.

Conservatives have used Hunter Biden’s legal cloud as a bat against the former vice president, raising concerns that Joe Biden or his forthcoming attorney general could be investigating his son shortly after taking office in January. shut down. They induced the Trump administration to isolate that investigation by appointing special counsel.

Jen Psaki, who turned to Biden to be his press secretary in the White House, said on Sunday that the president-elect would refrain from talking about his son’s potential legal problems with candidates to become attorney general in his government.

“He will not discuss an investigation into his son with any attorney general. He won’t discuss it with anyone he’s considering for the role. And he will not discuss it with a future attorney general, ”she said on“ Fox News Sunday. ‘

Barr said he hopes Biden will not interfere in any research regarding his son and that he would allow such probes to run freely.

“I hope the next government will handle that issue responsibly,” he said.

The Attorney General also sided with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and others’ assessment that Russia was behind a recent cyberattack targeting various parts of the federal government. The Kremlin has denied involvement, and Trump over the weekend downplayed both the seriousness of the breach and the likelihood that it came from Russia.

The Attorney General’s comments came after the announcement of charges against a former Libyan intelligence officer allegedly related to the terrorist attack on Pan Am Flight 103.

Barr has long invested personally in the business. Dating back to his first stint as attorney general, he said the new charges are helping to “ settle ” the tragedy for him.

“Finally, this man responsible for murdering Americans and many others will be subject to justice for his crimes,” Barr said of the alleged bombmaker, Abu Agela Masud, who is currently in Libyan custody.

Barr said US and Scottish authorities are working to bring him to the US for charges.