(CNN) — The Secretary of Justice of the United States, William Barr, on Monday rejected several of the inflammatory and baseless statements of President Donald Trump about the elections. Barr told the press conference that he does not plan to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the son of President-elect Joe Biden or the elections.
“If I thought a special counsel at this stage is the correct tool and appropriate, I would appoint one, but I have not and I will not,” Barr said in response to a question about the presidential election. The hierarch said that no widespread fraud was found in this election.
Barr also roundly rejected suggestions from the president’s supporters who in recent days have asked the US government to seize the voting machines.
“I don’t see any basis for the seizure of machines by the federal government,” Barr said Monday.
This was Barr’s last major press conference as head of the Justice Department in the Trump administration. The event underscores how much Barr has split from a president he was close to until a few weeks ago.
Trump has consulted about the need for special investigations into Hunter Biden and so-called voter fraud, and continues to distribute baseless theories that he stole the presidential election.
“Unfortunately, there is fraud in most of the elections, I think we are too tolerant,” he said. Yet in this election, Barr said, he supports the finding that there was no systemic or broad-based fraud, a finding the president refuses to admit.
William Barr’s response to the Hunter Biden investigation
On the Hunter Biden financial investigation, which Biden’s transition recently acknowledged and which Barr was silent about during election season, the attorney general gave a similar response. He stated that there is no need for him to take special measures to protect the investigation.
“To the extent that there is an investigation, I believe that it is currently being handled responsibly and professionally within the department. And up to this point I have not found a reason to appoint a special counsel and I have no plans to do so before I go, “Barr said when asked about Hunter Biden. Federal prosecutors and the Internal Revenue Service are conducting the investigation, and Hunter Biden has not been charged with any crime.
Barr’s comments came after the announcement of new criminal charges against a suspected bomb maker in the 1988 terrorist bombing on Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.
Former Libyan intelligence agent Abu Agila Masud was charged for his involvement in the attack.
William Barr is scheduled to leave the Justice Department on Wednesday, after telling the president last week that he would leave the administration before the end of the term and negotiating to stay for the Lockerbie announcement that took place on Monday. Justice Department Undersecretary Jeffrey Rosen, who served as Barr’s number two for more than a year and has kept out of the spotlight on the department’s most politicized issues, is set to take the top job during the last month of Trump’s presidency and potentially until the Senate confirms Biden’s designee.
Barr has no opinion on the possibility of Trump pardoning himself
After the announcement, reporters asked Barr about a variety of other controversial issues involving the Justice Department.
In response to other questions, William Barr explained why he appointed US Attorney John Durham as special counsel to investigate the origins of the 2016 FBI Russia investigation. Barr said: ‘I wanted to provide him and his team with the security of they could finish their job, ‘probably during the Biden administration. Barr said they were making good progress and declined to discuss the findings.
He also declined to respond when asked if a president could pardon himself. This is another topic that has generated much debate in legal circles as the Trump presidency draws to a close.
“Without deep consideration, I am not going to comment on a constitutional issue when it comes to the power of clemency,” Barr said at the press conference.
On the SolarWinds cyberattack that affected various US government agencies, Barr said: “It certainly looks like it’s the Russians.” Barr added that he agreed with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on this conclusion.
Over the weekend, Trump downplayed the massive cyberattack on government agencies. The president contradicted Pompeo’s statement, saying without evidence that the attack could have come from China.
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