The Volokh Conspiracy

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Attorney General

AG Barr Sees No Reason to Appoint Special Counsel for Hunter Biden or Election Investigations

The Attorney General says "No" to the President on his way out the door, leaving Jeff Rosen in charge of DOJ.


In what may have been his last press conference as the U.S. Attorney General, William Barr said that he sees no reason to appoint a special counsel to take over the Hunter Biden investigation and no reason to appoint a special counsel to investigate any aspects of the 2020 presidential election. He also contradicted the President in pointing the finger at Russia for the recently revealed hacks of several government agencies.

From the Associated Press report:

The president has . . . grown particularly angry that Barr didn't announce the existence of a two-year-old investigation of Hunter Biden before the election. On Monday, Barr said that investigation was "being handled responsibly and professionally."

"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. . . .

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. . . .

Trump has consulted on special counsels with White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, White House counsel Pat Cipollone and outside allies, according to several Trump administration officials and Republicans close to the White House who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized discuss the matter publicly.

In a prior AP interview, AG Barr said that the Justice Department had reviewed allegations of election improprieties and had found no evidence of widespread election fraud that could have influenced the outcome of the election.

Meanwhile, Axios reports that some in the White House are concerned Trump may axe White House counsel Pat Cipollone and replace him with a "fringe loyalist," who would presumably be more receptive to the President's last-ditch (and futile) efforts to remain in office.

Also from the Axios report:

The person who has the worst job in Washington, according to multiple administration officials: the incoming head of the Justice Department, Jeffrey Rosen.

  • The consensus is he has no earthly idea the insanity he is in for.
  • The next month will be the longest of his life.