Attorney General Garland Names Special Counsel in Trump Criminal Investigations

From a story on axios.com by Herb Scribner headlined “AG Merrick Garland names special counsel in Trump criminal probes”:

Attorney General Merrick Garland announced on Friday that he is appointing veteran prosecutor Jack Smith as a special counsel to oversee the federal criminal investigations into former President Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election and handling of classified documents.

Why it matters: The appointment of a special counsel is intended to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest, and comes three days after Trump launched his 2024 presidential campaign.

The special counsel will take over two of the most explosive investigations involving a former president in modern political history.

Representatives for Trump did not respond to Axios’ request for comment.

What he said: Garland said Trump’s recent 2024 campaign announcement and President Biden’s intention to run again made him feel “that it is in the public interest to appoint a special counsel.

“Such an important appointment underscores the department’s commitment to both independence and accountability and particularly sensitive matters,” he said.

Flashback: This is the third time DOJ will have appointed a special counsel to handle matters related to Trump.

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of the 2016 Trump campaign’s ties to Russia dominated the first half of his presidency.

Former Attorney General Bill Barr later appointed special counsel John Durham to investigate allegations of FBI impropriety in the Russia probe.

State of play: DOJ’s investigation of whether Trump illegally took government documents containing national security secrets to his Mar-a-Lago home in Florida is viewed as the most acute legal threat the former president currently faces.

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