(Headline USA) President Donald Trump is considering pushing to have a special counsel appointed to advance a federal tax investigation into the son of Joe Biden, setting up a potential showdown with incoming acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen.
Trump — angry that out-going Attorney General William Barr didn’t publicly acknowledge the ongoing, two-year investigation into Hunter Biden — has consulted on the matter with White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, White House counsel Pat Cipollone and outside allies.
That’s according to several Trump administration officials and Republicans close to the White House who spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity to discuss private matters.
Beyond appointing a special prosecutor to investigate the younger Biden, the sources said Trump is interested in having another special counsel appointed to look into election fraud. But if he’s expecting his newly named acting attorney general to go further than Barr on either matter, he could end up quickly disappointed.
Barr on Monday evening announced he will resign effective next week, revealing his plans about a week after Hunter Biden publicly disclosed that he was under investigation related to his finances. It is generally Justice Department policy not to disclose investigations that are in progress, though the subjects of those investigations can.
Rosen, the deputy attorney general, will step into the Justice Department’s top job in an acting role. A longtime litigator, he has served as Barr’s top deputy since May 2019 but largely shies away from the spotlight. He said in a statement Tuesday he was “honored” to serve and “will continue to focus on the implementation of the Department’s key priorities.”
Trump announced that Barr would be stepping down from his position on Dec. 23, amid lingering tension between the president and the attorney general over the Hunter Biden investigation. Trump was angry for days after learning that Barr knew of the Hunter Biden tax investigation before the election but did not disclose it.
He also was unhappy that Barr said in a widely reported interview with the AP that the Justice Department had not uncovered widespread election fraud that would have affected the results of the election.
Under federal regulations, a special counsel can be fired only by the attorney general and for specific reasons such as misconduct, dereliction of duty or conflict of interest — reasons that must be spelled out in writing.
Either way, the probe is complicating Joe Biden’s pick for attorney general, upon whose shoulders this probe would land. Any nominee for attorney general is likely to face a mountain of questions at a confirmation hearing about how they would oversee the probe.
It could be that Rosen is left in the position for a few weeks after Biden is sworn in on Jan. 20.
Rosen has been the public face of some of the Justice Department’s biggest actions, including its antitrust case against Google and the criminal case against opioid maker Purdue Pharma. Before joining the Justice Department, he worked at the Department of Transportation as general counsel and then deputy secretary.
Adapted from reporting by Associated Press.