Attorney General Merrick Garland has designated a special counsel to oversee the entirety of the Justice Department’s criminal investigation into the retention of national defense information at the residence of former President Donald Trump.and key aspects of ,
“I am here today to announce the appointment of special counsel in connection with two ongoing criminal investigations that have received significant public attention,” Garland said.
Garland announced at a news conference on Friday that John “Jack” Smith would be the special counsel tasked with the investigation and deciding whether charges should be brought. He called Smith a “fair and determined prosecutor”. Smith is currently the chief prosecutor of the Special Counsel in The Hague.
As special counsel, Smith will begin overseeing the two investigations immediately. The first is whether anyone or any entity “illegally interfered with the transfer of power following the 2020 presidential election orbe conducted on or around January 6, 2021,” Garland said. And the second is “an investigation into classified documents and other presidential records, as well as potential obstruction of that investigation.”
The attorney general told reporters, “Based on recent developments, including the former president’s announcement that he is a presidential candidate in the next election, and the current president’s declared intention to be a candidate, I have concluded that it is in the public interest to appoint a special counsel.”
Following Garland’s announcement, Smith said in a statement, “I intend to conduct the assigned investigations and any prosecutions that result from them, independently and in the best traditions of the Department of Justice.”
“The pace of investigation will not stop or stop under my watch,” he promised. “I will exercise independent judgment and pursue the investigation expeditiously and thoroughly, whatever outcome the facts and the law dictate.”
Smith, a political independent, is also the former head of the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section.
A spokeswoman for Trump called the decision to appoint a special counsel “a completely expected political stunt by a reckless, politicized, weaponized Biden Department of Justice.”
news comesHe is running for the presidency for the third time. Former presidents are not automatically protected from federal prosecution.