Trump Urges Barr to Initiate Investigation Into Joe Biden and Son

Trump Urges Barr to Initiate Investigation Into Joe Biden and Son

President increases calls for probes of rival as other inquiries fail to produce indictments or show wrongdoing

President Trump urged Attorney General William Barr to initiate an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, escalating his efforts to discredit his Democratic opponent two weeks before the election.

Asked Tuesday on Fox News whether he supported tapping a special prosecutor to probe the Bidens’ dealings in Ukraine and China, Mr. Trump said, “We’ve got to get the attorney general to act. He’s got to act, and he’s got to act fast. He’s got to appoint somebody. This is major corruption and this has to be known about before the election.”

Mr. Trump’s comments come in response to a letter from 11 House Republicans asking Mr. Barr to appoint an “independent, unbiased special counsel” to investigate allegations stemming from New York Post articles suggesting the former vice president was involved in or benefited from his son’s overseas work. The lawmakers also called on such a special counsel to investigate “any corresponding legal or ethical issues that might be uncovered from the former vice president’s 47 years in public office.”

A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment.

The Biden campaign declined to comment on Mr. Trump’s remarks.

Twitter and Facebook limited the sharing of the Post articles last week, and the Biden campaign denied allegations made in the articles. Mr. Biden previously has said his son’s work had “nothing to do” with him.

The Post criticized the moves by the social-media platforms and stood by its reporting. The Wall Street Journal hasn’t independently verified the allegations in the Post articles.

Mr. Trump has ramped up his attacks on Mr. Biden as the election nears and amid polling that shows him trailing nationally. The president has cited and referred to the Post articles on the campaign trail.

At a rally on Monday in Arizona, Mr. Trump said Mr. Biden was lucky that the attorney general is a “very fair man,” claiming that he knows people who would have had the former vice president “locked up five weeks ago.”

During the 2016 election, Mr. Trump similarly attacked his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, leading chants of “lock her up” at his rallies and calling for her to be investigated. As president, Mr. Trump pressed then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to reopen an investigation into Mrs. Clinton’s use of a private email server when she was secretary of state, according to special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Mr. Barr hasn’t acted on Mr. Trump’s repeated requests to prosecute political rivals, putting the two men at odds. Mr. Barr had taken actions earlier this year to the benefit of Mr. Trump and his supporters, including personal interventions in several criminal cases related to Mr. Mueller’s Russia probe that Mr. Barr said had been poorly handled.

Mr. Barr has told top Republicans not to expect findings from a probe examining the origins of the FBI’s Russia investigation before Election Day. Mr. Trump and Republicans in Congress had hoped the probe would shed new light on the underpinnings of the investigation into alleged links between the Trump campaign and Russian interference in the 2016 election. Mr. Trump said last week it was “a disgrace” that the probe, led by Connecticut U.S. Attorney John Durham, hadn’t produced indictments.

Mr. Trump has also said he was disappointed that a related inquiry by a federal prosecutor into Obama officials’ use of the practice known as “unmasking” found no improper behavior. Unmasking is a common practice in which authorities request and receive the identities of U.S. citizens mentioned in intelligence reports, which often include intercepted communications of foreign officials under electronic surveillance.

Mr. Trump had called the unmasking requests evidence of a plot by senior Obama officials to spy on Mr. Trump’s incoming administration. In particular, he pointed to unmasking requests of conversations that included Mr. Trump’s incoming national security adviser, Michael Flynn, who later pleaded guilty to federal charges.

Later on Tuesday, Mr. Trump cut off an interview with “60 Minutes” and then tweeted a video that appeared to show CBS journalist Lesley Stahl at the White House not wearing a mask. He then threatened to post the interview prior to airtime, writing on Twitter that “this will be done so that everybody can get a glimpse of what a FAKE and BIASED interview is all about.”

A person familiar with the events said Mr. Trump sat for more than 45 minutes, and the interview went over time, and so he concluded the interview and declined to do a “walk and talk” segment with Ms. Stahl and Vice President Mike Pence. CBS didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

On the CBS Evening News, anchor Norah O’Donnell said that Mr. Trump cut short a scheduled interview with Ms. Stahl. CBS said the White House said it would only tape the interview for archival purposes and said that the image of Ms. Stahl without a mask was immediately after the interview as she spoke to her producers. CBS said Ms. Stahl was wearing a mask as she entered the White House and ahead of the interview.
By Andrew Restuccia and Sadie Gurman

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