Attorney General William Barr used his final public appearance to undercut President Donald Trump on multiple fronts Monday, saying he saw no reason to appoint a special counsel to look into the president’s claims about the 2020 election or to name one for the tax investigation of President-elect Joe Biden’s son.
In the course of breaking with Trump on matters that have been consuming the president, Barr also reinforced the belief of federal officials that Russia was behind a massive hack of U.S. government agencies, not China as Trump had suggested.
Barr made the comments at a press conference to announce additional criminal charges in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, which killed 190 Americans, an issue he had worked on in his previous stint as attorney general in the early 1990s. He chose the announcement, in a case very personal and important to him, for his last public appearance, then took questions.
Barr said the Justice Department’s existing investigation into Hunter Biden’s financial dealings 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. Nor for election fraud, he said.