Attorney General Merrick Garland names special counsel to oversee federal Trump investigations
The announcement comes three days after Trump announced his 2024 presidential campaign.
Attorney General Merrick Garland names special counsel to oversee federal Trump investigations
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Attorney General Merrick Garland names special counsel to oversee federal Trump investigations

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.

Details: Smith will be tasked with prosecuting federal crimes that arise from the investigations, Garland said at a news conference Friday.

Zoom in: Smith most recently served as a chief prosecutor for the special court in The Hague, where he investigated war crimes in Kosovo, Garland said.

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.

Former President Trump told Fox News Digital on Friday that he "won’t partake" in the investigation, calling it "the worst politicization of justice in our country."

Separately, Andrew Weissmann, who worked on special counsel Robert Mueller's team during the Russian investigation, said in a tweet that Smith "is a very aggressive prosecutor who represents the best of the Department."

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

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 by experts as the most acute legal threat the former president currently faces.

Between the lines: Trump allies, including Republicans in the House who just took the majority in last week's midterms, have accused the Justice Department of a politicized "witch hunt" against the former president. Those allegations aren't likely to subside, even with Garland taking this precaution.

Go deeper: Inside Trump's dicey 2024 campaign announcement

https://www.axios.com/2022/11/18/doj-merrick-garland-donald-trump-criminal-probe
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