The investigation into former US President Donald Trump continues.
The US Department of Justice Merrick Garland (70) is using an independent special investigator for the ongoing investigation into former President Donald Trump (76). That’s what Garland announced Friday in a short-notice appearance in Washington. Lawyer Jack Smith, who has worked at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, among other things, will oversee and lead the investigation with immediate effect.
In certain exceptional cases, it is in the public interest to appoint a special lawyer to carry out the investigation independently, he said. In this case, given that Trump has announced a re-election for the presidency and current President Joe Biden (79) has stated his general intention to run again, it is in the public interest to entrust the investigation to an independent investigator.
Storm in the Capitol and Secret Documents
New special counsel Smith will handle investigations related to secret government documents that Trump kept at his private Mar-a-Lago home long after he left office. The FBI searched the Florida property in August and seized several classified documents, some at the highest level of secrecy. By keeping the documents in his private home after Trump left the White House, he could have been liable for prosecution. It’s still unclear if Trump could ultimately be impeached.
On the other hand, the new special investigator will have to take charge of parts of the investigation into the attack on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021. After an inciting speech by Trump, supporters of the Republican violently stormed the center of the Congress in Washington that day. At the time, they wanted to prevent Congress from making the electoral victory of Trump’s successor, Biden, official. A congressional investigative committee worked on the attack for months. Several witnesses strongly charged Trump with his statements. The Ministry of Justice has also been investigating the attack for a long time. However, it is not yet clear whether the ministry could also initiate criminal proceedings against the former president.
Trump suspects witch hunt
Trump criticizes the investigation as a whole as politically motivated and has long complained that it was just an attempt by his opponents to prevent him from returning to the White House.
Garland emphasized that the Justice Department had conducted the investigation with the highest level of integrity. However, in certain exceptional cases, it is in the public interest to appoint a special attorney to carry out the investigation independently. “Such an appointment underscores the Department’s commitment to independence and accountability in particularly sensitive matters,” she said. This also makes it possible to continue the work quickly and to make decisions “that are undoubtedly only based on the facts and the law.” He is convinced that the pace of the investigation will not slow down.
Smith is an experienced prosecutor with a variety of professional terms in the United States and abroad. From 2008 to 2010 he worked at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, overseeing war crimes investigations. Starting in 2010, he led a team of prosecutors at the US Department of Justice that handled cases of public corruption and voter abuse. Most recently, Smith served as a prosecutor at a special tribunal in The Hague charged with investigating and prosecuting war crimes in Kosovo.
Smith assured after the nomination that he would conduct the investigation and resulting prosecutions “independently and in the best tradition of the Department of Justice.” Investigations would not stop or slow down under his supervision. “I will make an independent trial and pursue the investigation promptly and thoroughly,” based solely on what the facts and the law dictate. (SDA)