Tue | Dec 1, 2020

Trump pressures Barr to investigate Bidens as election nears

Published:Tuesday | October 20, 2020 | 4:24 PM
In this September 23, 2020, file photo Attorney General William Barr listens as President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Republican state attorneys general in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington. The relationship between Trump and Barr is fraying over the lack of splashy indictments so far in the Justice Department’s investigation into the origins of the Russia probe, according to people familiar with the matter. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump on Tuesday called on Attorney General William Barr to immediately launch an investigation of Democrat Joe Biden and his son Hunter, effectively demanding that the Justice Department muddy his political opponent and abandon its historic resistance to getting involved in elections.

With just two weeks to go before Election Day, Trump for the first time explicitly called on Barr to investigate the Bidens and even pointed to the nearing November 3 election as reason that Barr should not delay taking action.

“We’ve got to get the attorney general to act,” Trump said in an interview on “Fox & Friends.”

“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.”

Julian Zelizer, a presidential historian at Princeton University, suggested that Trump’s pressure campaign on Barr has moved into uncharted territory for presidential politics.

“The question is, Does Barr erode the guidelines and reforms from the post-Watergate era and move forward with this?” Zelizer said. “We are seeing a total politicisation of the justice system in the final stages of an election.”

Trump’s pressuring of Barr comes as national and battleground polls show him facing an increasingly narrow path to reelection. The president has repeatedly cited Hunter Biden’s past —often with unsubstantiated claims — as a reason that voters can’t trust Biden in the White House.

The president has been promoting an unconfirmed New York Post report published last week that cites an email in which an official from Ukrainian gas company Burisma thanked Hunter Biden, who served on the company’s board, for arranging for him to meet Joe Biden during a 2015 visit to Washington.

The Biden campaign has rejected Trump’s assertion of wrongdoing and noted that Biden’s schedule did not show a meeting with the Burisma official.

Trump has yet to specify what crime he believes the Bidens have committed, but that has not stopped him from going as far as suggesting to voters that Biden belongs in jail.

The Justice Department did not respond to requests for comment on the president’s call for an investigation.

Follow The Gleaner on Twitter and Instagram @JamaicaGleaner and on Facebook @GleanerJamaica. Send us a message on WhatsApp at 1-876-499-0169 or email us at onlinefeedback@gleanerjm.com or editors@gleanerjm.com.