April 22, 2024

Aqeeldhedhi

Law, This Is It!

Jack Smith appointed special counsel to investigate Donald Trump

3 min read
Jack Smith appointed special counsel to investigate Donald Trump

Later he used a speech at a previously organised event at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida to rally against the decision and call for equal probes into other former leaders and foes.

Biden did not respond to shouted questions from reporters about the appointment during his only public appearance of the day. The White House was not involved in the decision to appoint Smith, an official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Merrick Garland, US attorney general, announces the appointment of Jack Smith on Friday.

Merrick Garland, US attorney general, announces the appointment of Jack Smith on Friday.Credit:Bloomberg

Smith, a political independent, until recently served as the chief prosecutor for the special court in The Hague, tasked with prosecuting war crimes in Kosovo. He previously oversaw the Justice Department’s public integrity section and worked as a federal and state prosecutor in New York.

This marks the second time in five years that the Justice Department has appointed a special counsel to probe Trump’s conduct. Former FBI director Robert Mueller, named as a special counsel in 2017, documented contacts between Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and Russia, but found insufficient evidence to bring a charge of criminal conspiracy.

FBI agents seized thousands of government records, some marked as highly classified, from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home during a court-approved August 8 search. Investigators also are examining Trump for possible obstruction of the probe. Trump filed a civil lawsuit in an effort to delay the documents investigation and keep some records away from investigators.

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The other investigation is a sprawling probe into a failed plot by Trump’s allies to overturn the 2020 presidential election by submitting batches of phoney slates of electors to the US National Archives and trying to block Congress from certifying Biden’s election victory.

A grand jury is hearing evidence in that case, with prosecutors issuing subpoenas for testimony to top former White House attorneys and close advisers to vice president Mike Pence.

While Garland ultimately has authority over the special counsel, the appointment of Smith may allow Garland to create some political distance that could bolster public confidence in the integrity of the two investigations. Career prosecutors are expected to continue working on the investigations alongside Smith.

Smith recently underwent surgery after injuring a knee in a biking accident. He did not attend the news conference.

The raft of criminal and civil state and federal investigations against Trump also includes a civil lawsuit by New York state’s attorney-general accusing him and three of his adult children of fraud involving the family real estate business.

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Smith is the Justice Department’s third special counsel to be appointed since 2017 to handle a politically sensitive case. Mueller did not explicitly reach a conclusion on whether Trump obstructed justice, prompting then attorney-general William Barr to make his own determination that there was not a basis for such a charge.

In 2019, Barr appointed John Durham as special counsel to investigate the origins of the FBI’s probe into Trump’s 2016 campaign. Of the three criminal prosecutions Durham brought, two resulted in acquittals this year.

Reuters

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