This means that Trump is being investigated by a special counsel

This means that Trump is being investigated by a special counsel


The former president’s legal threat Donald Trump Two federal criminal investigations took on a new tenor with the appointment of a special counsel at the Justice Department on Friday.

Jack SmithA DOJ alum known for his work prosecuting international war crimes will take over the investigation of classified government documents that were taken to his Florida home late in Trump’s presidency.

Smith will also oversee aspects of the investigation into efforts to block the transition of presidential power after 2020, including proposals to prevent Congress from certifying the vote.

Here’s what you need to know about notifications and investigations:

The attorney general has announced the appointment of a special counsel for the investigation, both of which involve Trump. announced this week he will run for the White House in 2024.

Merrick Garland has announced a special counsel to oversee the Trump investigation

Smith will eventually report to Attorney General Merrick Garland. But as a special adviser, he works outside the day-to-day control of the department’s political leadership, and his interactions with Biden’s political appointees should be limited.

The independent special counsel will put some distance between the department’s political leadership, appointed by President Joe Biden, and what is happening in the Trump investigation. Smith is registered as an independent, a DOJ official told reporters.

“This appointment demonstrates the department’s commitment to independence and accountability on critical issues,” Garland said. “It also allows prosecutors and agents to proceed expeditiously and make undisputed decisions based solely on the facts and the law.”

This designation has the practical effect of limiting the information about the investigation that must be disclosed to Congress, as lawmakers will only be told about its budget.

Special board rules allow Garland to fire Smith. But any decision by Garland to deny a special counsel request, including any decision to charge, must be reported to Congress.

Garland pointed to Trump’s announcement earlier this week that he would seek the Republican nomination in 2024, as well as Biden’s indication that he intends to run for re-election.

Department officials were discussing appointing a special counsel in the investigation into the former president, CNN first reported earlier this month as a way to protect the probe from accusations that it was politically motivated.

Garland defended the DOJ officials who worked on the investigation, saying Friday that they “conducted their work in the best traditions of the Department of Justice.” But, he said, the DOJ “has long recognized that in certain extreme circumstances it is in the public interest to appoint a special prosecutor to independently manage investigations and prosecutions.”

The attorney general’s ability to bring in someone from outside the federal government to conduct a politically sensitive investigation is enshrined in US law.

PALM BEACH, FL - NOVEMBER 08: Former US President Donald Trump addresses the media at an election night event at Mar-a-Lago on November 8, 2022 in Palm Beach, Florida.  Trump spoke as he awaited the results of the general election.  (Photo by Joe Riddle/Getty Images)

In a new report, legal experts have concluded that there are “strong grounds” to impeach Trump

The appointment order is the clearest sign that scrutiny in the two investigations has turned into Trump-related activities. That doesn’t mean Trump will be indicted, or even his closest aides. But that means there will be some obscurity surrounding the investigation and the Mar-a-Lago study. And these investigations will take much longer.

So far, the allegations in the January 6, 2021 investigation have focused on riots at the U.S. Capitol. But behind the scenes, there were signs that federal investigators were looking more broadly at other schemes to obstruct the transition of power, including those involving close associates of the former president.

The newly appointed special counsel has worked in law enforcement positions across America and on the world stage, a career Garland said has demonstrated her reputation as an “impartial and courageous prosecutor.”

Smith’s most recent role was as chief prosecutor of the Special Court in The Hague, which investigated war crimes in Kosovo.

His previous work at the Department of Justice includes a stint as a prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn, as well as a stint as chief of the Public Integrity Unit, which investigates election crimes and public corruption. He also served as the lead attorney for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Tennessee, where he was appointed Acting U.S. Attorney in early 2017. He served in that role for several months during the Trump administration.

Smith will have all investigative tools available to a US attorney, including subpoenas. It will be given its own budget and can form a staff to support its work. If he wants to file any charges, his team can also pursue those prosecutions in court. His investigations must comply with all Department of Justice regulations, procedures, and policies.

Garland said he will “ensure that the special counsel has the resources to do this work quickly and fully.”

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s two-year investigation into Trump-Russia ties ultimately cost about $32 million, though that amount includes debts Mueller took from other Justice Department units not under his direct control.

Trump said Friday that he would “not participate” in the investigation.

“I’ve been innocent of everything for six years, from bogus impeachments to Mueller finding no collusion, and now I have to do it more? Trump told Fox News Digital. “This is unacceptable. This is very unfair. It’s so political.”

He continued, “I’m not involved in it… I’m going to publish and then they’re going to appoint a special prosecutor.”

Garland appoints Smith to oversee parts of the January 6 investigation, but those parts are wide-ranging.

The appointment describes his authority to investigate “whether any person or entity violated the law in connection with efforts to obstruct the lawful transfer of power after the 2020 presidential election or the certification of the Electoral College vote held on or about January 6, 2021.” »

Allegations related to it physically destroyed the Capitol that day Garland remains in the custody of the U.S. Attorney, he said.

Mueller’s investigation culminated in a 400-page report that was eventually made public with some redactions. However, the special counsel is not required to provide a public and comprehensive report. The regulations only require the special counsel to provide the attorney general with a “confidential report explaining the prosecution or denial decisions made by the special counsel.”

Garland did not respond to a reporter’s question Friday about the possibility of the report being released.

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CNN’s legal expert explains why he thinks Garland chose Smith

There is no set deadline for the special prosecutor to complete the investigation. If anything, as special counsel, Smith may be insulated from political pressure to complete the investigation. Critics of the current special prosecutor rules complain that the regime allows probes to be extended as they expand in scope.

Smith, in a statement released by the Department of Justice, emphasized that his appointment will not slow down the pace of the investigations: “The pace of the investigation will not be stopped or flagged under my watch. I will make an independent decision and move the investigation forward promptly and diligently to the conclusion that the facts and the law require.”

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