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Barr: No special counsel needed on election fraud or Hunter Biden

The attorney general answered questions from reporters two days before he is set to leave office.
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Attorney General William Barr speaks in Washington on Monday.Michael Reynolds / AFP - Getty Images

Attorney General William Barr undercut President Donald Trump's election conspiracy theories Monday, saying he would not appoint special counsels to investigate allegations of election fraud or Hunter Biden because there is no need.

Trump has yet to concede the election, and some allies have even suggested that the federal government seize voting machines. Over the weekend, Trump met with appellate lawyer Sidney Powell about a potential voter fraud investigation.

Pressed by reporters about a special counsel investigation, voter fraud and talk of seizing voting machines, Barr offered little support for any such moves.

"I see no basis now for seizing machines by the federal government — wholesale seizure of machines by the federal government," he said, adding that he stood by his statement that there was no widespread fraud that would affect the outcome of the election.

"If I thought a special counsel at this stage was the right tool and was appropriate, I would do — I would name one, but I haven't, and I'm not going to," he said.

Trump tweeted last week that Barr would be leaving as attorney general two days before Christmas; Deputy Attorney General Jeff Rosen will serve as acting attorney general for the final weeks of Trump's term.

Trump has spent months arguing that there was widespread voter fraud in the election, baselessly claiming that he lost because of it. Barr, who entertained the possibility of fraud earlier this year, broke with Trump this month, saying there was no evidence of widespread fraud.

Trump has also claimed without evidence that President-elect Joe Biden corruptly boosted his son's business work overseas when he was vice president and that Hunter Biden was being paid off by foreign governments.

Barr has said authorities were properly handling an investigation into the younger Biden's taxes, and he dismissed a question about a special counsel's investigation.

"To the extent that there is an investigation, I think that it's being handled responsibly and professionally currently within the department, and, to this point, I have not seen a reason to appoint a special counsel, and I have no plan to do so before I leave," he said.

Federal authorities investigating Hunter Biden's taxes are examining his business dealings in China, NBC News has reported.

The investigation, which Hunter Biden announced Wednesday, was opened in 2018, the year before his father announced his candidacy for president, a source said. The inquiry was already in motion when Barr was appointed attorney general.