The Justice Department has appointed a special counsel to oversee two major criminal investigations into former President Donald Trump.
Attorney General Merrick Garland announced Friday afternoon that an “experienced career attorney,” Jack Smith, will take on two investigations into the 45th President.
Smith will review the Justice Department’s investigation into classified documents Trump took to his Mar-a-Lago estate, as well as the Jan. 6 Capitol riots and Trump’s efforts to overthrow the 2020 presidential election.
“Based on recent developments, including the former President’s announcement that he will stand as a candidate for President in the next elections and the incumbent President’s stated intention to also run, I have concluded that it is in the public interest to appoint a special counsel,” Garlande said.
“Such an appointment underscores the department’s commitment to both independence and accountability on particularly sensitive matters.”
Smith will focus on investigating records recovered from Mar-a-Lago and “whether any person or entity unlawfully interfered with the transfer of power after the 2020 presidential election,” Garland said.
The announcement comes three days after Trump officially launched his 2024 presidential campaign.
Garland said Smith’s appointment will allow prosecutors to continue the investigation “undeniably guided” by facts and law.
Smith headed the Department of Justice’s Public Integrity Division in Washington, DC. During the Obama administration, he was acting attorney general in Nashville, Tennessee. He promised the investigation would move swiftly “to whatever conclusion the facts and the law dictate.”
“I intend to conduct the assigned investigation and any resulting prosecution independently and in the best traditions of the Department of Justice,” Smith said.
Trump initially did not comment publicly on the development.
But a spokesman for Trump told the New York Times, “This is an absolutely expected political stunt by a helpless, politicized, armed Biden Justice Department.”
It’s not the first time Trump has been scrutinized by a special counsel.
During the first half of Trump’s tenure, Special Counsel Robert Mueller investigated possible links between his 2016 presidential campaign and Russia’s efforts to influence the election. In the end, Mueller found no evidence of collusion and left open the question of whether Trump obstructed justice.
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https://metro.co.uk/2022/11/18/prosecutor-named-to-oversee-donald-trump-documents-and-election-probes-17788614/ Prosecutor appointed to oversee Donald Trump documents and election investigations