Barr was responding to a reporter’s question at a press conference on Monday about whether he intends to make such an appointment.
“To the extent that there’s 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,” said Barr, who is set to leave office this week.
The matter of the potential appointment of a special counsel to probe Hunter Biden was reported last week, with outlets citing anonymous sources claiming President Donald Trump was asking aides about such a move.
Trump on Thursday said he isn’t involved with the federal investigation into Hunter Biden.
“I have NOTHING to do with the potential prosecution of Hunter Biden, or the Biden family. It is just more Fake News. Actually, I find it very sad to watch!” Trump said in a tweet.
Several top lawmakers, including Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), have called for Barr to appoint a special counsel to probe the former vice president’s son.
Hunter Biden disclosed earlier this month the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Delaware is investigating his tax affairs.
Joe Biden’s team released a statement from the younger Biden last week, in which Hunter Biden acknowledged he was being investigated.
“I learned yesterday for the first time that the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Delaware advised my legal counsel, also yesterday, that they are investigating my tax affairs,” Hunter Biden said in a statement. “I take this matter very seriously but I am confident that a professional and objective review of these matters will demonstrate that I handled my affairs legally and appropriately, including with the benefit of professional tax advisers.”
Joe Biden has said he believes his son did nothing wrong and has confidence in him.
“If he’s confident, he should leave in place the U.S. attorney that’s investigating Hunter Biden,” Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said on “Fox & Friends” on Thursday, noting that most new presidents terminate U.S. attorneys and hire new ones upon entering office.
“If the U.S. attorney is fired in the first weeks of the administration, and if the investigation goes to a Biden appointee, you can tell the fix is in and there’s not going to be justice,” Paul said.
A special counsel would insulate the investigation into Hunter Biden, making it harder to interfere or stop it.
A Biden adviser said over the weekend that Joe Biden wouldn’t interfere in the probe into his son.
“He will not interfere in decisions made by senior leadership at the Department of Justice,” Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) said.
Joe Biden on Wednesday claimed accusations against his son, who is under investigation by federal authorities, are “foul play.”
“Look, I have, we have great confidence in our son. I am not concerned about any accusations that have been made against him. It’s used to get to me,” Biden told late-night host Stephen Colbert.
“I think it’s kind of foul play, but look, it is what it is. He’s a grown man. He’s the smartest man I know, in terms of pure intellectual capacity. As long as he’s good, we’re good,” Biden added.
Hunter Biden engaged in business deals in China, Ukraine, and elsewhere while his father was vice president.
Senators investigating Hunter Biden have said he was tied to foreign individuals who have ties to the Chinese Communist Party.
Newly unearthed emails suggest Joe Biden was involved in his son’s business deals.
One showed Hunter Biden referring to his father and a Chinese businessman as “office mates.”
A Biden spokesman said in October that the former vice president “has never even considered being involved in business with his family, nor in any overseas business whatsoever.”
“He has never held stock in any such business arrangements nor has any family member or any other person ever held stock for him,” the spokesman said.
Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.