DOJ announces special counsel for Trump-related Mar-a-Lago and January 6 criminal investigations

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CNN

Attorney General Merrick Garland on Friday appointed special counsel to oversee the criminal investigation into the preservation of national defense information at former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort and parts of the Jan. 6 riot 2021.

Both investigations implicate the conduct of Trump, who declared his candidacy in the 2024 presidential race on Tuesday, making him a potential rival to President Joe Biden.

“Based on recent developments, including the former president’s announcement that he is running for president in the next election, and the incumbent president’s stated intention to also run, I have come to the conclusion that in the public interest is for special counsel,” Garland said Friday at the Justice Department.

Jack Smith, former chief prosecutor of the special court in The Hague, where he investigated war crimes in Kosovo, will lead the investigations.

Smith “has earned a reputation as an impartial and determined prosecutor,” Garland said.

Trump has tried to portray the investigations as politically motivated, including during his presidential announcement on Tuesday, where he said he was a victim of a “weaponization” of the justice system.

Speaking at the America First gala at Mar-a-Lago on Friday night, the former president called the appointment of a special counsel a “terrible announcement” and a “terrible abuse of power.”

The Mar-a-Lago probe burst into the public eye when the FBI executed a search warrant at Trump’s Florida resort in August. Trump went to court to obtain a warrant requiring a third attorney to review the materials seized during the search. Documents marked as classified were excluded from that review by an appeals court, allowing them to be used in the criminal investigation. Investigators also presented witnesses to a federal grand jury represented in the DC investigation.

The prosecution of those who physically violated the Capitol was the most public aspect of the Justice Department’s Jan. 6 investigation, and those will remain the purview of the U.S. Attorney’s office in Washington, DC. But behind the scenes, prosecutors have subpoenaed dozens of witnesses close to the former president for documents and testimony in the investigation.

“I intend to conduct the assigned investigations and any prosecutions that may result therefrom independently and in the best traditions of the Justice Department,” Smith said in a statement Friday. “The pace of investigations will not stop or slow down under my supervision. I will make an independent judgment and proceed with the investigations promptly and thoroughly, regardless of the outcome dictated by the facts and the law.”

According to multiple sources, both the Mar-a-Lago investigation and the Jan. 6 investigation into Trump are focused on gathering more information and including witnesses on a federal grand jury in the coming weeks. Prosecutors have issued several new subpoenas related to both investigations in recent days, with speedy return dates as early as next week.

According to some sources, some of the witnesses being prosecuted in this round had not previously spoken to the detectives in these cases.

Many in Trump’s job had believed and hoped the investigation had slowed or even stopped because they hadn’t heard from the Justice Department for weeks after meeting their subpoena deadlines, multiple sources said.

Some of the subpoenas issued as part of the investigation point to an extensive investigation covering nearly all aspects of the efforts to overturn Biden’s election victory. They indicated that investigators are interested in the plot to advance fraudulent voters in states Biden has won, the work Trump allies have done to push through unfounded claims for election fraud, and how money has flowed to support those various efforts. .

Trump’s team had spent the past few days discussing the likelihood that the Justice Department would appoint a special counsel, multiple sources familiar with the talks told CNN.

Trump’s lawyers were terrified at the prospect, worried that it could slow down the investigation they’ve been pursuing continuously in court. And Trump himself has lamented the matter, likening the prospect to former special counsel Robert Mueller, who oversaw the Russia investigation.

The former president indicated Friday that he thought federal investigations into him were slowing down or over until Garland’s announcement. He repeatedly called the investigations political, saying it was not a fair situation and would not be a fair investigation, telling the crowd in Mar-a-Lago, “You would honestly say enough is enough.”

Justice Department officials have been debating the appointment of a special counsel for weeks, CNN previously reported.

This story has been updated with additional details.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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