Attorney General Merrick Garland has appointed a special counsel who will be charged with overseeing the Justice Department’s investigation into Donald Trump. This decision came only a few days after Trump announced that he would be running for office again in 2024. Garland has stated that Jack Smith, a longtime prosecutor and current war crimes investigator, is going to oversee the two investigations. The first one is looking into any possible mishandling of government records which was stored in Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, while the second one is looking into Jan. 6., 2021 and “whether any person or entity unlawfully interfered with the transfer of power.”
Garland has also pointed to Trump’s announcement to note the “extraordinary circumstances” which justify the need for a special counsel. As Garland wrote, with the former President potentially being a presidential candidate in the next election, it is in the public’s interest for a special counsel to be appointed. This will showcase the “department’s commitment to both independence and accountability” in the handling of these “sensitive matters.”
This move was unexpected and it led to many legal observers noting that this decision would not heavily impact the Justice Department.
Trump has maintained that all of these investigations are part of a political witch hunt. He has also added that this is what he has been “going through” for six years and that he refuses to continue going through it. He also added that he was hoping to see Republicans fight against this.
Smith, was originally investigating war crimes in Kosovo through a post at The Hague, but he has now resigned and is set to return to the U.S.