Three days after former President Donald Trump announced his run for the presidency for 2024, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland has appointed a special counsel to investigate two criminal complaints against Trump.
Jack Smith, a veteran federal prosecutor, has been named special counsel. He will dig into whether Trump or a Trump surrogate unlawfully interfered with the certification of the Electoral College on Jan. 6, 2021, obstructing the peaceful transfer of power. The second area of investigation is whether Trump broke the law or obstructed justice by removing hundreds of documents from the White House, having them shipped to his residence at the Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida.
The investigation will expose the entire Trump cabinet and many close family members and associates to federal depositions.
Smith is the former head of the Justice Department’s public integrity division. He made the following statement on the Justice Department’s website:
“I intend to conduct the assigned investigations, and any prosecutions that may result from them, independently and in the best traditions of the Department of Justice. The pace of the investigations will not pause or flag under my watch. I will exercise independent judgement and will move the investigations forward expeditiously and thoroughly to whatever outcome the facts and the law dictate.”
The announcement also came one day after the House had official flipped to Republican control, which effectively ends the work of the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol, which has worked for nearly two years to bring those to justice who invaded the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. House members have made it known they intend to open up investigations into the criminal links between Hunter Biden and his father, President Biden.
On Fox News, Trump responded: I have been going through this for six years, for six years I have been going through this, and I am not going to go through it anymore,” Trump told Fox News. “And I hope the Republicans have the courage to fight this.”
Attorney General Garland, in a press conference, said, the probe, “as described in court filings in the District of Columbia, is the investigation into whether any person or entity unlawfully interfered with the transfer of power following the 2020 presidential election or the certification of the Electoral College vote held on or about Jan. 6, 2021.
“The second is the ongoing investigation involving classified documents and other presidential records, as well as the possible obstruction of that investigation, referenced and described in court filings in a pending matter in the Southern District of Florida.”
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. It also allows prosecutors and agents to continue their work expeditiously, and to make decisions indisputably guided only by the facts and the law.”
The investigations are separate from other prosecutions going on in the District of Columbia courts that pertain to people who were inside the U.S. Capitol grounds on Jan. 6, 2021. Those investigations and prosecutions will remain under the authority of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia.