Attorney General Garland appoints special counsel to investigate Trump over the Mar-a-Lago Papers, Jan. 6

Attorney General Merrick Garland on Friday appointed a special counsel to investigate the entirety of the criminal investigation into the previously illegal retention of national defense information. President Donald Trump Mar-a-Lago The resort, Fox News has learned.

Garland appointed former Justice Department official Jack Smith to the position. Smith, a former assistant US attorney and head of the Justice Department’s public integrity division, will oversee the investigation into Trump’s retention of classified documents after leaving the White House and whether the former president obstructed the federal government’s investigation into the matter.

Smith is also tasked with overseeing the investigation into whether Trump or other officials and entities interfered with the peaceful transfer of power after the 2020 presidential election, including the certification of the Electoral College vote on January 6, 2021.

“It is in the public interest to appoint a special prosecutor to independently administer the investigation and prosecution based on recent developments, including [Trump’s] announcing that he is a candidate for the position of president in the upcoming elections, and that the current president has announced his intention to be a candidate as well.

Trump takes the Mar-a-Lago fight to the Supreme Court

Attorney General Merrick Garland, left, and former President Donald Trump.
(Getty Images)

Garland made clear that when it comes to the Jan. 6 investigation, Smith will not investigate or prosecute Trump supporters who violated the US Capitol. Instead, Smith will focus on whether Trump or individuals and entities have attempted to obstruct the peaceful transfer of power.

FBI agents confiscated classified records from Trump’s former home in Mar-a-Lago during… The agency’s unprecedented raid on Aug. 8, Including some marked as top secret, pursuant to a court order and title receipt.

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An order signed by U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart gave agents the power to seize “all physical documents and records constituting evidence, contraband, fruits of crime, or other items unlawfully possessed” in violation of U.S. law, including documents with hashtags and presidential records that have been Created between January 20, 2017 and January 20, 2021.

Local law enforcement officers outside former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago home in Palm Beach, Florida, August 9, 2022.

Local law enforcement officers outside former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home in Palm Beach, Florida, August 9, 2022.
(GIORGIO VIERA/AFP via Getty Images)

According to the title deed, FBI agents took approximately 20 boxes of items from the building, including one set of documents marked “Confidential/TS/SCI Documents,” which denotes fragmentary/highly sensitive information.

Records covered by this level of government designation could include human intelligence and information that, if disclosed, could endanger relations between the United States and other countries, as well as the lives of intelligence agents abroad. However, the classification also includes national security information related to the daily operations of the President of the United States

The government conducted the search in response to what it believed to be a violation of federal statutes: 18 USC 793 – Collection, Transfer, or Loss of Defense Information; 18 USC 2071 – Concealment, removal, or mutilation; and 18 USC 1519 – Destroying, Altering, or Falsifying Records in Federal Investigations.

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The allegation of “collecting, transmitting, or losing defense information” falls under the Espionage Act.

The former president and his team dispute the designation and believe the information and records have been declassified.

Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report.

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