US Attorney General Merrick Garland announced on Friday, November 18, the appointment of independent prosecutor Jack Smith to oversee the investigation into former President Donald Trump. The self-proclaimed 2024 presidential candidate is the subject of two separate federal investigations.
“Taking into account recent events, especially the announcement of the candidacy of the former president in the next presidential elections and the current president’s intention to nominate, I came to the conclusion that the appointment of a special prosecutor is in the public interest.”, Merrick Garland said during a press conference. Jack Smith, for his part, promised to take action in a press release “fast” and “in complete independence”.
The first investigation is related to the attack on the Capitol carried out by supporters of Donald Trump on January 6, 2021, during the confirmation of the victory of his Democratic rival Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election. This widespread investigation led to the indictment of nearly 900 people directly involved in the violence. But prosecutors never ruled out looking at other actors. “Anyone who is criminally responsible for the attempts to cancel the elections will be held accountable for their actions”Merrick Garland said several times.
The second study concerns the White House archives. Donald Trump, who left the presidency, took all the boxes of documents. However, a 1978 law compels any American president to turn over all of his emails, letters and other business documents to the national archives. In January, he returned fifteen cartons.
After an investigation, federal police surmised that he was harboring others at his luxury residence in Mar-a-Lago, Florida. FBI agents executed a warrant-based search warrant on August 8 “keeping confidential documents” and “Obstructing a Federal Investigation”, and seized about thirty other boxes. An intense legal battle ensued to determine the nature of the seized documents – classified, private, declassified? -, has slowed the process, but a federal indictment remains possible.
Donald Trump said in an interview with “Fox” TV that an independent prosecutor has been appointed to oversee the investigations against him. “unfair” and “Politics”. condemning “The worst politicization of justice” He added that he would not participate in Republican studies in American history. “It’s a shame they’re doing this just because I’m leading the polls”, the former president continued. White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre says Joe Biden was not warned “in advance” There was no appointment of an independent prosecutor “participation” in his decision.
The prosecutor will inform the Minister of Justice about his findings, and the latter will retain the power to initiate a possible case. Jack Smith is a veteran prosecutor. He worked as the head of the department of public integrity in the ministry, led about 30 people in corruption and election prosecutions, as well as in the International Criminal Court. Since 2018, he is the lead prosecutor of the Special Court for Kosovo.
In the past, Donald Trump has already become the subject of an investigation under the supervision of a special counsel: Robert Mueller was charged in 2017 with determining whether there was collusion between his campaign team and Russia. After a two-year investigation, he ruled that he did not have enough evidence to support collusion between Moscow and Donald Trump’s team, but noted a number of troubling pressures on his investigation by a White House tenant. He said that he could not clear him of suspicions of obstructing justice.