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Sunday, December 13, 2020

December 13, 2020

President Donald Trump has lashed out at Attorney General Bill Barr, even retweeting a suggestion that he fire him by the end of the day, over revelations that the Justice Department kept investigations into President-elect Joe Biden's son secret leading up to the election.

On Wednesday, the Justice Department's years-long investigation scrutinizing some of Hunter Biden's Chinese business dealings and other transactions was publicly confirmed for the first time.

'Why didn't Bill Barr reveal the truth to the public, before the Election, about Hunter Biden,' Trump tweeted on Saturday morning from the White House.

'Joe was lying on the debate stage that nothing was wrong, or going on - Press confirmed. Big disadvantage for Republicans at the polls!' he continued.

It came as thousands of Trump supporters gathered in Washington DC to protest the 2020 election results at rallies featuring remarks from recently-pardoned former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell.

'Whatever the ruling was yesterday ... everybody take a deep deep breath,' Flynn told protesters in front of the Supreme Court, referring to the court´s refusal on Friday to hear the case spearheaded by the Texas attorney general.

Flynn who twice pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about contacts with the former Russian ambassador, spoke in his first public address since Trump pardoned him on November 24.

'My charge to you is to go back to where you are from' and make demands, Flynn told the crowd, without being more specific.

The Constitution is 'not about collective liberty it is about individual liberties, and they designed it that way,' Flynn said.

Trump has refused to concede defeat, alleging without proof that he was denied victory by massive fraud. Trump said on Twitter he was not informed earlier about the protest, 'but I'll be seeing them!'

The crowd erupted in cheers as Marine One, carrying Trump on his way to the Army-Navy football game, passed over the demonstration.

In his tweets, Trump predicted that 'IF Biden gets in, nothing will happen to Hunter or Joe. Barr will do nothing, and the new group of partisan killers coming in will quickly kill it all.'

He also retweeted conservative radio host Todd Starnes' call for Barr to be fired immediately. Trump added the comment: 'A big disappointment!'

Hunter Biden's foreign business dealings became a point of contention during the election, after the New York Post ran reports about revelations from a discarded laptop. Biden's campaign attacked the articles as Russian disinformation and smears.

'Not one single solitary thing was out of line,' Joe Biden insisted of his son's dealings in the second presidential debate. 'My son has not made money in terms of this thing about, what are you talking about, China.'

Now, it has been revealed that the tax investigation into Hunter Biden was launched in 2018, the year before the elder Biden announced his candidacy for president.

Hunter Biden confirmed the existence of the investigation on Wednesday, saying he learned about it for the first time the previous day.

'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 advisors,' he said in a statement.

It isn't clear which entities or business dealings might be tied up in the probe, though a person with knowledge of the matter said at least some of focus was on his past work in China.

Federal investigators served a round of subpoenas on Tuesday, including one for Hunter Biden, according to another person familiar with the investigation.

Investigators did not reach out until recently because of Justice Department practice against taking overt investigative actions in the run-up to an election, one of the people said.

Federal investigators served a round of subpoenas on Tuesday, including one for Hunter Biden, according to another person familiar with the investigation.

Hunter Biden has a history of international affairs and business dealings in a number of countries.

Trump and his allies have accused him of profiting off his political connections, and have also leveled charges of corruption related to his work in Ukraine at the time his father was vice president and leading the Obama administration's dealings with the Eastern European nation.

Late Wednesday, Trump tweeted a quote from New York Post columnist Miranda Devine claiming, '10% of voters would have changed their vote if they knew about Hunter Biden.'

It all raises the prospect of even deeper dysfunction in a capital that is already struggling to address the nation's most pressing crises, including a surging pandemic.

Republicans, particularly those eyeing presidential runs in 2024, are making clear they will press Biden on the issue.

'Joe Biden needs to pledge today that he will cooperate with the federal investigation and answer any questions under oath,' Senator Josh Hawley, a Missouri Republican, said Thursday, 'and that if he is sworn in as president, no federal investigator or attorney working on the Hunter Biden criminal case will be removed.'

Trump's initial public response was surprisingly muted, just a pair of tweets about a Fox News segment on the story Wednesday night.

But privately, he demanded to know why the investigation was not revealed ahead of Election Day, accusing officials of deliberately stalling in order to help Biden´s chances, according to two Republicans familiar with the conversations but not authorized to discuss them publicly.

On Friday, Biden yelled 'I'm proud of my son' before walking away when a reporter asked if Hunter Biden 'commit[ted] a crime'. The same journalist also asked if the father and son had spoken.

It emerged on Thursday that Joe Biden's brother James is also caught up in an FBI investigation.

Agents have asked about James Biden, one of Joe's two younger brothers, during an investigation into a hospital business in Pennsylvania in which he was involved, Politico reported.

The business, Americore, ran rural hospitals and was raided by agents in January after entering bankruptcy. Politico reported that in the course of their investigation, the FBI has asked about James Biden's involvement in the business.

He has been described as its 'principal,' but has disputed that description and his role is the subject of litigation in at least two states. In one court case he was accused of dropping his brother's name to drum up business.

Republican senator Tom Cotton told Fox News Thursday that there should be a special counsel appointed into both Bidens, alleging that Hunter's investigation stretched into securities fraud as well as tax issue.

The original investigation into Hunter Biden is being led by federal prosecutors in Delaware. Earlier this week, it emerged that a parallel investigation was opened in Pittsburgh after Rudy Giuliani handed material over to a federal prosecutor there.

Sources told the New York Times that Scott Brady, Pittsburgh's top federal prosecutor and a staunch Republican, headed up the investigation at the request of Attorney General Bill Barr after Giuliani reached out with information he had gathered on the Biden family.

The investigations into his son have complicated Joe Biden's decision on nominating his own attorney general.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is one of several contenders under consideration by Joe Biden for the role of attorney general, the Associated Press reported on Friday.

The other three contenders at the moment are said to include outgoing Alabama Senator Doug Jones, federal appeals court judge Merrick Garland and former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates.

But the dynamics could shift, as any Biden choice now will be scrutinized for any perceived loyalty to the president-elect and bias in any probe of his son. Both Garland and especially Jones have longtime ties to Biden.

Cuomo has been asked in recent weeks about his interest in the attorney general spot. Just this week, he said in a public radio interview in New York, 'I have no intention to run for president or vice president, or go to the administration.' But he said the attorney general job 'is really critical, especially now.'

A former state attorney general and Housing and Urban Development secretary in the Clinton administration, Cuomo has been governor of New York since 2011 and has been the public face of the state's response to the coronavirus pandemic.


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