Attorney General Merrick Garland on Friday Appointed a special prosecutor To oversee criminal investigations into the retention of national security information by former presidents Donald TrumpMar-a-Lago Resort and parts of the January 6, 2021 Rebellion.
Both hearings refer to Trump’s behavior on Tuesday He announced his candidacy In the 2024 presidential election, making him a potential challenger to President Joe Biden.
“Based on the recent developments including the announcement of the former President as a presidential candidate in the next election and the current president also being a candidate, I have come to the conclusion that it is in the public interest to appoint a special speaker. counsel,” Garland said at the Justice Department on Friday.
Jack SmithThe former chief prosecutor of the Special Court in The Hague, which tried war crimes in Kosovo, will oversee the investigations.
Smith “has built a reputation as an impartial and tenacious attorney,” Garland said at the Justice Department on Friday.
Trump has sought to portray the investigations as politically motivated, including in his presidential announcement on Tuesday, where he said he was a victim of the “weaponization” of the justice system.
The Mar-a-Lago investigation burst into the public eye when the FBI executed a search warrant at Trump’s Florida resort in August. Trump went to court to seek an order to have a third attorney review the items seized in the search. Documents marked classified were excluded from that review by the appeals court, allowing them to be used in the criminal trial. Investigators have also brought witnesses before a federal grand jury empaneled in DC in the investigation.
The prosecution of those who physically violated the Capitol was the most public aspect of the Justice Department’s Jan. 6 hearing. But behind the scenes, prosecutors have subpoenaed dozens of witnesses close to the former president for documents and testimony in the trial.
Both the Mar-a-Lago investigation and the Jan. 6 hearing surrounding Trump are aimed at gathering more information and bringing witnesses before a federal grand jury in the coming weeks, according to multiple sources. Prosecutors have sent out several new subpoenas related to the two hearings in recent days, with return dates as early as next week.
According to some sources, some of the witnesses prosecuted in this round have never spoken to investigators in these cases before.
Trump’s team has been discussing the possibility of appointing a special counsel to the Justice Department in recent days, multiple sources familiar with the negotiations told CNN.
Trump’s lawyers had been dreading the prospect, worried it could drag out the trial, which they have continued to fight in court. Trump has complained about the matter, comparing the prospect to former special counsel Robert Mueller, who oversaw the Russia investigation.
Justice officials had been debating for weeks whether to appoint a special prosecutor. CNN previously reported.
This story has been updated with additional details.
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