US attorney general Merrick Garland has announced the appointment of a special counsel tasked with the job of determining whether Donald Trump will face charges as part of any Department of Justice (DoJ) investigations.
The politically explosive move just comes just days after the former US president announced he was running for the White House yet again, despite a disappointing Republican performance in the midterm elections, especially among candidates backed by Trump.
Garland named Jack Smith, a veteran prosecutor, to the post, which will deal with investigations into Trump’s attempt to subvert the 2020 presidential election victory for Joe Biden, and also the discovery of confidential documents at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida.
The appointment of a special counsel reflects the sensitivity of the justice department overseeing the two most hazardous criminal investigations into Trump, and an increased possibility of potential charges being brought over either matter.
Special counsels are semi-independent prosecutors who can be installed for high-profile investigations when there are conflicts of interest, or the appearance of conflicts, and provide a mechanism for the justice department to insulate itself from political considerations in charging decisions.
“I strongly believe that the normal processes of this department can handle all investigations with integrity. And I also believe that appointing a special counsel at this time is the right thing to do. The extraordinary circumstances presented here demand it,” Garland said.
More to follow soon …