The US attorney general today appointed a special war crimes prosecutor “in the public interest” to independently lead investigations into Donald Trump, three days after he announced his candidacy for the 2024 presidential election.
Merrick Garland announced during a televised address that he had assigned this highly “sensitive” mission to Jack Smith, the Hague-based prosecutor of the Special Tribunal for Kosovo.
“Given recent developments, particularly the announcement of the former president’s candidacy in the next presidential election and the current president’s intention to run, I have concluded that it is in the public interest to appoint a special prosecutor,” said Merrick Garland.
Jack Smith immediately takes the reins of two separate months-long federal investigations: the first into the fallout from the 2020 presidential election, the second into the former president’s handling of classified documents that were supposed to be archived.
Prosecutor Smith, in a statement, immediately promised to act “quickly”, “thoroughly” and “with complete independence”.
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“I intend to exercise independent judgment and will proceed with investigations quickly and thoroughly, whatever the conclusions of fact and law may be,” said Jack Smith.
Knowing that Donald Trump will not fail to denounce politicized justice and a new “witch hunt”, Merrick Garland also insisted on the prosecutor’s impartiality.
“As a special prosecutor he will exercise his professional judgment in an independent manner to decide whether there should be an indictment” in one or the other of these cases, the minister clarified.
The first series of investigations assigned to Jack Smith relate to Donald Trump’s efforts to challenge his defeat in the 2020 presidential election, to the attack by his supporters on the Capitol on January 6, 2021, at the time of the certification of the Democrat’s victory opponent of Joe Biden.
This extensive investigation has already led to the indictment of almost 900 people who were directly involved in the violent incidents.
However, prosecutors have never ruled out considering other factors. “Anyone criminally responsible for efforts to nullify the election should be held accountable for their actions,” Merrick Garland has said repeatedly in the past.