Attorney General Garland names special counsel in Trump probes

Attorney General Merrick Garland has appointed a special counsel to oversee the Justice Department’s investigations into Donald Trump just days after the former president announced his intent to se…

Nov 18, 2022 - 16:00
May 16, 2024 - 20:04
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Attorney General Garland names special counsel in Trump
probes

Attorney General Merrick Garland has appointed a special counsel to oversee the Justice Department’s investigations into Donald Trump just days after the former president announced his intent to seek the office again in 2024.

Garland said Jack Smith, a longtime prosecutor and current war crimes investigator, would take the helm of two investigations, one into the mishandling of sensitive government records at Mar-a-Lago, as well as aspects of its investigation into Jan. 6. covering “whether any person or entity unlawfully interfered with the transfer of power.”

Garland directly pointed to Trump’s announcement and a rematch election with President Biden as among the “extraordinary circumstances” that justify such an appointment.

“Based on recent developments, including the former president's announcement that he is a candidate for president in the next election and the sitting president’s stated intention to be a candidate as well, I have concluded that it is in the public interest to appoint a special counsel,” Garland said.

“Such an appointment underscores the department's commitment to both independence and accountability in particularly sensitive matters.”

The move is sure to surprise legal observers, many of whom have been vocal in suggesting that it would be of little benefit to the Justice Department.

It also comes after Trump pointed to the Justice Department when kicking off his campaign, complaining “I am a victim” and listing the FBI among the “gravest threats to our civilization.”

“Nothing is greater than the weaponization from the system, the FBI or the DOJ. We must conduct a top-to-bottom overhaul to clean out the festering rods and corruption of Washington, D.C.,” he said.

“The journey ahead of us will not be easy,” Trump added. “Anyone who truly seeks to take on this rigged and corrupt system will be faced with a storm of fire that only a few could understand.”

Updated at 2:41 p.m.

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