Trump wants Hunter Biden’s special prosecutor
A special advocate can only be dismissed by the Attorney General and for specific reasons such as misconduct, dereliction of duty or conflict of interest.
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump plans to push for a special advocate to be appointed to advance a federal tax investigation into President-elect Joe Biden’s son, setting up a potential showdown with new acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen.
Trump – angry that outgoing Attorney General William Barr did not publicly announce the ongoing two-year investigation into Hunter Biden – consulted White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, counsel for the White House Pat Cipollone and outside allies.
That’s according to several Trump administration officials and Republicans close to the White House who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity to discuss private matters.
Beyond appointing a special prosecutor to investigate young Biden, sources said Trump wants another special advocate appointed to examine his own baseless allegations of electoral fraud. But if he expects his newly appointed interim attorney general to go further than Barr on either subject, he could quickly end up disappointed.
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Barr announced Monday night that he would step down as of next week, revealing his plans about a week after Hunter Biden publicly revealed he was under investigation over his finances. It is generally the policy of the Department of Justice not to disclose ongoing investigations, although the subjects of such investigations may do so.
Rosen, the deputy attorney general, will hold the most senior position in the Justice Department in an interim role. A longtime litigator, he’s been Barr’s first deputy since May 2019, but largely avoids the spotlight. He said in a statement Tuesday that he was “honored” to serve and “will continue to focus on implementing key departmental priorities.”
Trump is still weighing his options, considering pressuring Rosen to appoint a special advocate or, if necessary, replacing the acting attorney general with someone more likely to achieve his wishes. He even asked his team of lawyers, including personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, to consider whether the president has the power to appoint a special counsel himself.
A key question will be whether Rosen can withstand presidential pressure – and potentially destructive attacks – during the final weeks of the Trump administration. Otherwise, Rosen could be sidelined in favor of others more willing to bid Trump.
Believing that a special advocate investigation could hurt a Biden administration before it even begins, Trump’s advisers have urged the president to push for it, which would ensure that the investigation could not be easily stopped by the new president. No firm decision has been taken.
Trump announced that Barr would resign from his post on December 23, amid continuing tensions between the president and the attorney general over the Hunter Biden investigation. Trump was angry for days after learning that Barr was aware of the pre-election tax investigation into Hunter Biden, but did not disclose it.
He was also unhappy that Barr said in a widely reported interview with the PA that the Justice Department failed to uncover widespread electoral fraud that allegedly affected election results.
For much of his tenure, Barr was seen as one of the president’s most loyal cabinet members, especially after presenting the results of Robert Mueller’s Russia inquiry in a Trump-friendly manner. , even though the special advocate did not exonerate the president from obstructing justice. . It was Barr who first appointed a U.S. attorney to review the case against former national security adviser Michael Flynn, then sought to dismiss the criminal charges against Flynn, who twice pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.
By far the biggest thing hanging over Barr’s Justice Department upon Barr’s exit is his investigation of Hunter Biden, which involves several U.S. law offices and FBI field offices. Appointing a special advocate could prove complicated, requiring consolidating different investigative angles and bringing in a new person to conduct the investigation and get up to speed.
Under federal regulations, a special advocate can only be dismissed by the Attorney General and for specific reasons such as misconduct, dereliction of duty or conflict of interest – reasons that must be specified in writing. The appointment of a special advocate for the Hunter Biden investigation would also signal a longer and more complicated investigation than the current investigation, so far largely focused on its taxes. A subpoena requesting documents from young Biden requested information relating to more than two dozen entities, including Ukrainian gas company Burisma.
Anyway, the investigation complicates the choice of Joe Biden for the attorney general, on whose shoulders this investigation would land. Any candidate for the post of attorney general will likely face a mountain of questions during a confirmation hearing about how he would oversee the investigation.
Rosen could be staying in office for a few weeks after Biden was sworn in on Jan.20. If Trump doesn’t fire him, that’s fine.
Rosen has been the public face of some of the Justice Department’s biggest actions, including its antitrust case against Google and the criminal case against opioid maker Purdue Pharma. Before joining the Ministry of Justice, he worked at the Ministry of Transport as Advocate General and then Deputy Secretary.
During Rosen’s confirmation hearing in 2019, he suggested he was prepared to push back political pressure from the White House, if necessary. He told lawmakers that criminal investigations should “be based on facts and the law” and that prosecutions should be “free from inappropriate political influence.”
“If the correct answer is to say no to someone, then I will say no,” he said at the time.