John L. “Jack” Smith has been appointed as special counsel by Attorney General Merrick Garland to lead the Justice Department’s criminal investigation into the alleged wrongful retention of national defense information at former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate. Smith will also oversee significant portions of the Justice Department’s investigation into the events of January 6 in general.
According to the DOJ special counsel rules, Trump’s statement on Tuesday that he is running for president a third time established a conflict of interest and led to the appointment of a special counsel.
“Is authorized to conduct the ongoing investigation into whether any person or entity violated the law in connection with efforts to interfere with the lawful transfer of power following the 2020 presidential election or the certification of the Electoral College vote held on January 6, 2021,” according to Garland’s appointment order.
Photo: On November 18, 2022, Attorney General Merrick Garland makes an announcement in the Justice Department briefing room in Washington on the appointment of Jack Smith as a special counsel for the investigations into the activities of former President Donald Trump.
In the Justice Department briefing room, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland makes the announcement that Jack Smith would serve as a special counsel for the inquiries into the activities of former President Donald Trump.
The directive additionally directs Smith to investigate any issues that “arose or may arise immediately” from the inquiry into the national defense secrets discovered at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence.
According to Garland’s appointment order, Smith “is empowered to pursue federal offenses stemming from the examination of these subjects.” The Special Counsel is also permitted to recommend any potential separate prosecutions that may result from the Special Counsel’s investigation to the appropriate United States Attorney.
“The Department of Justice has long acknowledged that in certain rare circumstances. Based on recent events, such as the former president’s announcement that he is running for president in the upcoming election and the current president’s stated intention to run as well, it is in the public interest to appoint a special prosecutor to independently oversee an investigation and prosecution “Garland stated to journalists on Friday.
“I’ve come to the conclusion that appointing a special counsel is in the public interest. Such a selection highlights the department’s dedication to independence and responsibility in especially delicate areas “Garland said. Additionally, it enables agents and prosecutors to work quickly and to make choices that are unquestionably based only on the truth and the law.
During a speech at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, former president Donald Trump declares that he would seek for office a third time.
Smith is the best candidate, according to Garland, who also promised to ensure that the probe had access to all essential resources.
“I’ll make sure the special counsel has the resources she needs to do her job swiftly,” Garland promised. Given the work done so far and Mr. Smith’s expertise as a prosecutor, I am sure that this appointment won’t delay the conclusion of these inquiries.
Trump defended himself as “innocent” while attacking newly appointed special counsel Smith as being “very far left.”
Trump said Friday night from Mar-a-Lago that “this horrific misuse of power is the latest in a long history of witch hunts that began a long time ago.” He further asserted that he believed the inquiry was “finished” since Rep. Liz Cheney lost her race.
The corrupt and extremely politicized Justice Department just selected a super radical left special counsel, more appropriately referred to as a special prosecutor, to start the process all over again, Trump said. “I believed that put the last nail in the coffin, only to find out that,” he stated. “We believed it to be close to death,”
As he has done with the majority of investigations surrounding him, Trump continues to characterize the inquiry as “political.”
They want to harm the largest movement in our nation’s history, but they particularly want to harm me, according to Trump. But I’ve become used to it.
Trump continued, saying that he had “shown to be one of the most honest and innocent persons in our society” and that “this will not be a fair inquiry.”
Trump diverted attention in his statements by falsely accusing other politicians, including former presidents, of wrongdoing. Even though Trump himself selected David Weiss, who is investigating Hunter Biden, and Garland left Weiss in place, he demanded that a special counsel be appointed to do so.
According to a senior DOJ official, Smith is a political independent who previously held the positions of chief of the Public Integrity Section of the DOJ, first assistant U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee, and assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York before taking over as acting U.S. attorney in that district.
He worked at Hospital Corporation of America as vice president of litigation from 2017 to 2018, and as head prosecutor for the special court in The Hague tasked with looking into war crimes in Kosovo from 2018.
He will start serving as special counsel right now.
In August, the FBI conducted a search warrant at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, in search of papers that the National Archives said were designated classified and had not been handed over to them despite having been given enough chance.
In the court-authorized seizure, the FBI claimed to have taken 11,000 documents, including more than 100 with secret markings.
In order to determine whether papers were covered by the attorney-client privilege and executive privilege, Trump filed a lawsuit to have a special master appointed. The Department of Justice is requesting a quick appeal of the special master’s decision while the review is still continuing.
In the last four years, there have been two special counsels. Former Acting Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Robert Mueller to look into the Trump campaign’s links to Russia, and when that investigation was over, former Attorney General William Barr appointed John Durham to look into the beginnings of that inquiry.