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Former AG Bill Barr To Merrick Garland: Appoint A Special Counsel Already

William Barr
Image CreditDOJ/Wikimedia Commons

Will Merrick Garland show the same prudence as his predecessor and appoint a special counsel to investigate his boss’s family?


Recent developments warrant the appointment of a special counsel to investigate Hunter Biden, former Attorney General William Barr says.

“[I]ntervening events, especially recent reports about FBI whistleblowers and the possible reach of the investigation, warrant adding the protections of special counsel status to assure that key decisions are made independently without political ‘favor,’” Barr told The Federalist.

President Joe Biden’s son Hunter has been under federal investigation since 2018 for issues related to his foreign business practices, including obtaining investments and board positions from politically compromised figures in communist China and other trouble spots. Multiple U.S. attorney’s offices were tasked with components of the investigation, with the Delaware office being the lead. Hunter Biden’s problems became much more public with the news that he had left a laptop full of incriminating information at a computer repair store in Delaware. That news was then suppressed by Democrat-allied intelligence officials falsely claiming it was Russian disinformation.

This week, multiple FBI whistleblowers, including those in senior positions, accused FBI headquarters of “improperly discredit[ing] and falsely claim[ing] that derogatory information about Biden’s activities was disinformation, causing investigative activity and sourcing to be shut down,” according to a Monday letter from Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa. 

That fact, as well as concern over the investigation’s complexity and scope, convinced the former attorney general of the need for a special counsel.

By highlighting the apparent breadth of the still-pending investigation into Hunter Biden’s affairs, Barr’s comments confirm concerns of three insiders, reported by The Federalist on Wednesday, that “the Delaware U.S. Attorney’s Office investigating Hunter Biden lacks the wherewithal and resources to adequately probe the dubious financial dealings of the Biden family and their business partners.” 

Barr’s view that a special counsel is now warranted to continue the investigation into Hunter Biden’s business dealings represents a change from the position he took in December 2020. 

During a December 21, 2020 press conference, when asked whether he agreed with Republicans that a special counsel was needed to handle the Biden investigation, Barr negated the idea. “I think it’s being handled responsibly and professionally currently within the department, and to this point I have seen no reason to appoint a special counsel, and I have no plan to do so before I leave,” the outgoing attorney general told reporters.

Barr’s reasoning at the time, according to those close to him, was that the Trump administration’s DOJ had no conflict, either real or apparent, in handling any investigation of Hunter Biden. And because the controlling standard for the appointment of a special counsel requires such a conflict, an appointment at the time would have been problematic.

Barr felt it would be up to the new attorney general to make the determination about conflict and how to satisfy any concerns over the DOJ’s independence, those close to Barr say.

For Barr to “preempt those decisions on the way out the door by appointing a special counsel to investigate the Biden family would have been a bad precedent and, as a practical matter, would have led the new AG to reverse the appointment as a political ploy,” said one former official. As such, the best way to assure the investigation would continue was by not appointing a special counsel then, the individual said.

Such reasoning runs consistent with the former attorney general’s steady efforts to return the Department of Justice to its proper apolitical role in our democratic republic and to restore the rule of law to our country. 

Even with the new statement from Barr, he complimented Attorney General Merrick Garland for at least one part of how he’s handled the Hunter Biden investigation. “AG Garland made a good decision by keeping David Weiss in office,” Barr told the Federalist on Thursday, referring to the Republican U.S. attorney in Delaware supervising the investigation. Barr went on to say, however, that the “intervening events” including the bombshell whistleblower reports and potential scope of the investigation “warrant adding the protections of special counsel status” to make sure important determinations aren’t politically motivated.

In other words, circumstances have since changed, and Barr now believes a special counsel is warranted. So the question for Garland is: Will he show the same prudence and care for our country as his predecessor and appoint a special counsel to investigate his boss’s family?

The Federalist’s Editor-in-Chief Mollie Hemingway contributed to this report.

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