Trump Calls for Special Counsel on Election on Barr’s Last Day
President Donald Trump again called for a special counsel to investigate election fraud — making the demand on Attorney General William Barr’s last day in office.
“After seeing the massive Voter Fraud in the 2020 Presidential Election, I disagree with anyone that thinks a strong, fast, and fair Special Counsel is not needed, IMMEDIATELY,” Trump tweeted on Wednesday evening. “This was the most corrupt election in the history of our Country, and it must be closely examined!”
The tweet, like many Trump has posted about the 2020 vote, contained a warning from Twitter: “This claim about election fraud is disputed.”
Barr, who has been a staunch Trump loyalist since taking office last year, said this week that he saw no reason to name a special counsel to look into allegations of election fraud, reiterating an earlier statement that there’s been no evidence of widespread fraud that would overturn Joe Biden’s victory.
“If I thought a special counsel at this stage was the right tool and was appropriate, I would name one, but I haven’t and I’m not going to,” Barr said Monday.
Wednesday was Barr’s last day at the Justice Department. He gave Trump a letter last week saying he was stepping down and, at the time, was praised by the president.
But the tweet by Trump on Wednesday night is a signal that Barr’s replacement, Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, is going to be under pressure to bend to the president’s will before his term ends on Jan. 20.
Trump, who continues to deny his loss even after the Electoral College last week confirmed that Biden had won, has turned to a shrinking circle of advisers who have discussed ideas, like seizing voting machines, that even longtime confidants have dismissed as extreme.
The president has at times suggested that Sidney Powell, a lawyer who filed numerous unsuccessful lawsuits on behalf of his campaign, should be named as a special counsel, according to a person familiar with the conversation who requested anonymity to describe the internal discussion.
Any effort to follow through with putting Powell in that position would invite questions about the legality of the president personally appointing a special counsel, a decision usually left to the attorney general.
Powell was disavowed by the campaign last month after accusing Republican elected officials of involvement in a convoluted plot to alter the election results.
Further frustrating the president this week was Barr’s comments that he saw no reason to appoint a special counsel to oversee an investigation of Biden’s son Hunter Biden. Justice Department prosecutors investigating Biden are handling the case “responsibly,” Barr said.
— With assistance by Chris Strohm, and Justin Sink
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