The former president called the new special council ‘political’ and unacceptable
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland on Friday appointed John L. “Jack” Smith as special counsel to oversee the Justice Department’s ongoing investigation into former President Donald Trump. Smith will examine the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, the alleged presence of classified documents at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence, and anything else related to it. His most recent post was as war crimes prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.
Announcing Smith’s appointment, Garland called him a “former career prosecutor” and says he will be allowed to sue “any federal crimes that may arise from these investigations.” The move comes just three days after Trump announced his 2024 presidential bid.
“I announce and then they appoint a special prosecutor”, Trump told Fox News Digital, reacting to Garland’s nomination. “I’m not going to participate in this.”
“I’ve been going through this for six years, and I’m not going to go through it again,” said the former US president, calling him the “The worst politicization of justice in our country.
“I was cleared for six years on everything – from bogus dismissals to [Robert] Mueller who found no collusion, and now I have to do more? » he added. “It’s not acceptable. It’s so unfair. It’s so political.”
Mueller has been tasked with investigating Democrats’ claims about Trump “Russian collusion” in 2017, after FBI Director James Comey – whom Trump fired – leaked his memos insinuating the president was obstructing the investigation. Comey then openly campaigned for the Democrats, as did most of Mueller’s prosecutors.
During Trump’s announcement on Tuesday, he denounced the “militarization” from the FBI and the DOJ and called for “a top-to-bottom overhaul to clean up festering rot and corruption” in Washington. Garland specifically brought up Trump’s run for president to say that it’s “in the public interest” appoint another special adviser.
Prior to becoming chief prosecutor at the ICC, Smith headed the DOJ’s Office of Public Integrity. Among those he prosecuted for bribery was Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, a Republican. The US Supreme Court overturned that conviction in 2016.
The FBI raided Trump’s Florida residence in early August, saying he had mistakenly taken classified government documents there. Democrats also accused the former president of “incite” the January 6, 2021 riot at the United States Capitol, with many describing it as a “insurrection” in order to invoke a 150-year-old constitutional amendment that would once again remove him from office.