U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland has launched a separate Justice Department investigation into the existence of classified documents in former President Donald Trump’s Florida mansion, as well as the Jan. 6, 2021 riots and efforts to undo 2020. Appointed a special counsel to oversee key aspects of the investigation. selection.
The move, announced just three days after Trump formally launched his 2024 candidacy, is the undeniable political ramifications of two investigations involving not only the former president but also current White House heavyweights. is the recognition of
Garland said Trump’s announcement of a presidential run and the likely presidency of President Joe Biden in 2024 contributed to the decision to appoint veteran prosecutor Jack Smith as special counsel. Said it was a factor.
He said the appointment would allow prosecutors to continue their work “indisputably guided” only by facts and law.
“The Department of Justice has long recognized that in certain unusual cases, it is in the public interest to appoint a special counsel to independently manage investigations and prosecutions,” Garland said from the DOJ podium. .
“Based on recent developments, including a former president announcing that he would be the presidential candidate in the upcoming election, and the incumbent president also announcing his intention to become a candidate, the appointment of a special counsel is a public concern. I have concluded that it is profitable.”
The appointment puts a new overseer on top of the investigation, both of which are expected to accelerate now that the midterm elections are over, but the special counsel will continue to report to Mr. You have the final say on what to do.
Smith, a veteran prosecutor who headed the Justice Department’s public interest division in Washington and later served as acting federal prosecutor in Nashville, Tennessee during the Obama administration, plans to begin his work “soon.” said Garland.
Mr. Smith is also the Chief Prosecutor of the Hague Special Courts charged with investigating international war crimes.
The Justice Department described Smith as a registered independent in an effort to blunt attacks of political bias.
Trump is a Republican, Biden is a Democrat.
“Throughout his career, Jack Smith has built a reputation as an impartial and determined prosecutor who leads teams with fact-seeking energy and focus,” Garland said.
“As a special counsel, he will use the judgment of an independent prosecutor to decide whether to prosecute.”
“The extraordinary circumstances here require it,” Garland said of the appointment.
The special counsel’s investigation includes an investigation into “whether a person or entity unlawfully interfered in the transition of power following the 2020 presidential election,” and an investigation into Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence in Palm Beach, Florida. It is a combination of investigations on classified documents.
Garland said he would ensure the special counsel would receive resources to do his job “quickly and thoroughly.”
Smith said he plans to conduct an investigation “independently and in accordance with the best traditions of the Department of Justice.”
A representative for Trump did not immediately return a message requesting comment.
The decision to appoint a special prosecutor may still cast doubt on members of Congress.
Garland has reiterated the Justice Department’s sole focus on facts, evidence and law in its decision-making and his determination to restore political independence to the Justice Department following a turbulent year in the Trump administration.
And there doesn’t seem to be any apparent conflict like there was when a special counsel in charge of Trump-related investigations was last appointed.
The Trump Justice Department has named former FBI Director Robert Mueller as the special counsel to lead an investigation into potential coordination between Russia and Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.