Attorney General Merrick Garland has appointed a special counsel to oversee the entire Justice Department criminal investigation into the retention of national defense information at former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence. and key aspects of the Jan. 6 investigation, according to a senior Justice Department official.
Garland announced at a Friday press conference that John “Jack” Smith would be the special counsel to investigate and decide whether charges should be brought. He called Smith an “impartial and determined prosecutor.” Smith is currently the chief prosecutor for special counsel in The Hague.
The attorney general said that “based on recent developments, including the former president’s announcement that he is running for president in the upcoming election,” as well as President Joe Biden’s stated intention to stand stand for re-election, “I have concluded that it is in the public interest to appoint a special counsel.”
The Wall Street Journal first reported the appointment of a special counsel, who would be tasked with determining whether Trump should be charged in either investigation.
The news is cominghe is running for president a third time. Former presidents are not automatically protected from federal prosecution.
This is a developing story.