18:26 GMT23 January 2021
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    At a press conference held earlier this week, the outgoing US Attorney General William Barr stated he had no plans to appoint a special counsel for president-elect Joe Biden's son Hunter's "tax affairs". Yet it seems that the question remains open.

    Top officials in the US Department of Justice (DOJ) are currently in "ongoing discussions" on whether to appoint a special counsel to lead the investigation into Hunter Biden, Fox News reported Wednesday, citing two sources familiar with the matter.

    One of the sources told the news channel that the issue of appointing a special counsel is an "open discussion".

    "It is an ongoing discussion," the source said. "No decisions have been made either way".

    The other source indicated that some high-level DOJ officials believe a special counsel is "warranted" and referred to the reasoning behind the special counsel statute. "It was passed to deal with a potential conflict of interest of the attorney general or the president of the United States," the source said. "A president-elect coming in, where his appointed attorneys will be investigating his son? That’s textbook conflict." 

    On Wednesday, Attorney General Bill Barr resigned from his post without appointing any special counsel to take over the probe of Hunter Biden's finances. He said earlier this week that he has "not seen a reason" to make such an appointment before leaving office.

    "I think to the extent that there's an investigation, I think that it's being handled responsibly and professionally," Barr said. "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."

    A source familiar with the investigation also told the news channel that the probe was partly predicated by Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) concerning Hunter Biden's suspicious foreign transactions from "China and other foreign nations."

    At a press conference on Tuesday, President-elect Biden was asked whether the issue of the federal probe into Hunter's suspicious foreign transactions was discussed with his team and with his candidates for the post of attorney general. 

    "No, no. I guarantee you I’m going to do what I said," Biden replied. "The attorney general of the United States of America is not the president's lawyer. I will appoint someone I expect to enforce the law as the law is written, not guided by me."

    Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, who is filling in Barr's position, said in an interview with Reuters last week that he would "do things on the merits and to do things on the basis of the law and the facts."

    Hunter Biden is under federal investigation for possible tax evasion, as well as funds that reportedly might have come from various foreign nations, including China. President Donald Trump has repeatedly slammed the mainstream media for failing to cover the Biden family's alleged corruption crimes. On Wednesday, Trump took to Twitter to argue that a "strong, fast, and fair" special counsel should be immediately appointed concerning Hunter Biden's case.

    Trump's calls to investigate Hunter Biden mostly concern his alleged corrupt activities in Ukraine when he sat on the oil company Burisma's board of directors while his father served as US vice president, in addition to questioning his business dealings around the world at that time.


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    Bill Barr, special counsel, Department of Justice investigation, Department of Justice, US Department of Justice, tax evasion, federal investigation, investigation, Hunter Biden, USA, US
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