Jenna Ellis, one of President Donald Trump's attorneys in his expansive bid to overturn his election loss to Democrat Joe Biden, shot back at Trump's outgoing Attorney General Bill Barr on Monday, telling him to "sit down now," following a press conference in which Barr said he has no plans to name a special counsel to look into election fraud or Biden's son, Hunter Biden.
"Maybe you should sit down now, Bill. You certainly did enough sitting down on the job," Ellis tweeted, following Barr's final press conference before he leaves office this week.
Barr's position is at odds with that of Trump's legal team, his supporters and the president himself.
Barr further said he sees "no basis now for seizing machines by the federal government."
That comment arose, according to The New York Times, following a purported White House meeting among Trump's team in which, among other things, White House lawyer Rudy Giuliani discussed "an executive order to take control of voting machines to examine them." When Giuliani discussed that issue with the Department of Homeland Security, he was reportedly told that "the department does not have the authority to do such a thing."
During an Oval Office meeting on Friday, the Times reported, Trump considered naming Sidney Powell a special counsel to look into voter fraud, but White House staffers, including Chief of Staff Mark Meadows disagreed. Trump has called reports of the meeting "fake news."
Barr had been in lockstep with the president during much of his tenure as Trump's attorney general. But Trump, as he has done with others in his inner circle, started criticizing Barr publicly. He was particularly angry that Barr didn't announce the existence of a two-year-old investigation of Hunter Biden prior to the election.
And shortly before he announced his resignation, Barr told The Associated Press that he had seen no evidence of widespread voting fraud, despite Trump's claims to the contrary. Trump has continued to maintain claims even after the Electoral College made Biden's victory formal Dec. 14.
A special counsel would make it more difficult for the incoming attorney general and president to close investigations begun under Trump.
Barr's statements Monday may make it easier for the acting attorney general who takes over, Jeffrey Rosen, to resist pressure from the White House to make such appointments.
In his 2019 confirmation hearing for deputy attorney general, Rosen said he was willing to rebuff political pressure from the White House if necessary. He told legislators that criminal investigations should proceed on the facts and the law and "prosecutions should be free of improper political influences."
"If the appropriate answer is to say no to somebody, then I will say no," he said at the time.
Trump and his allies have filed roughly 50 lawsuits challenging election results and nearly all have been dismissed or dropped. He's also lost twice at the U.S. Supreme Court.
Trump has consulted on special counsels with Meadows, White House counsel Pat Cipollone, and outside allies, according to several Trump administration officials and Republicans close to the White House who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to discuss the matter publicly.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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