Trump says he is not involved in potential prosecution of Biden's son Hunter

A 2008 photo shows Hunter Biden (left) at US president Barack Obama's inauguration with his father,. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - President Donald Trump said on Thursday (Dec 17) that he had nothing to do with any potential prosecution of President-elect Joe Biden's son, Hunter, who has disclosed that his taxes are being investigated by a federal prosecutor in Delaware.

Trump was impeached by the Democratic-led US House of Representatives in December 2019 on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress stemming from his efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden.

Trump was acquitted by the Republican-led Senate in February.

"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!" the Republican president wrote on Twitter.

His Twitter post came a day after Jeffrey Rosen, the incoming acting attorney-general, declined to say in an interview with Reuters whether or not he would appoint a special counsel to investigate Hunter Biden and his foreign business dealings.

Trump, due to leave office on Jan 20, has privately been mulling whether to pressure the Justice Department to appoint a special counsel to look into Hunter Biden, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Installing a special counsel would make it more politically difficult for the new attorney general in the incoming Biden administration to simply dismiss the matter.

Hunter Biden on Dec 9 disclosed that his tax affairs were under investigation by the US attorney's office in Delaware, part of the Justice Department.

A person familiar with the matter told Reuters that the investigation has been ongoing for at least two years, but Attorney-General William Barr managed to keep it under wraps ahead of the 2020 election.

Trump announced Barr's resignation on Monday.

An attorney for Hunter Biden could not immediately be reached for comment.

Hunter Biden has long been the subject of Republican attacks. Trump himself often mentioned Hunter Biden in campaign rallies ahead of his Nov 3 election loss.

Trump and his allies have raised questions about potential conflicts of interest from Hunter Biden's position on the board of the Ukrainian energy company Burisma at the time his father was vice-president under Democratic President Barack Obama.

Trump and his allies also have called for investigations into Hunter Biden's efforts to raise capital for a Chinese fund.

Among the most active Trump allies in urging a criminal investigation into the Biden family has been Trump's personal attorney Rudolph Giuliani. Barr set up a special intake process at the Justice Department to vet and investigate tips related to Ukraine, including evidence that Giuliani had gathered.

Giuliani and his attorney Robert Costello were invited on Jan 29 to the FBI field office in Pittsburgh to meet with Scott Brady, the region's US attorney, and several other prosecutors and FBI agents to present evidence they had collected concerning Hunter Biden, Costello told Reuters in an interview this month.

"They had two FBI agents taking notes on their laptops," Costello said, noting that Giuliani "did the vast majority of the speaking." Costello added that since that meeting, the top assistant in Brady's office and he had followed up somewhere between six and 10 times.

It is unclear exactly what became of the information once it was handed to Brady's office, and whether it was forwarded to the prosecutors in Delaware who are handling the Hunter Biden investigation.

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