Smith will supervise the department’s investigations into the suspected mishandling of sensitive information at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence and the Jan. 6 probe.
“Based on recent events, including the former president’s statement that he is a contender in the next election and the incumbent president’s declared intention to be a candidate, I have determined that appointing a special counsel is in the public interest,” Garland said.
Commitment to Independence and Accountability
“This underlines the department’s commitment to independence and accountability in sensitive situations.” “It helps prosecutors and agents work quickly and make conclusions based on facts and the law.”
Garland’s decision comes three days after Trump’s re-election announcement and after Republicans won the House majority.
“I think this department’s standard methods can handle all investigations with honesty.” Appointing a special counsel is also the proper move.
Garland: “Circumstances need it. Mr. Smith will handle these issues fairly and quickly.”
Smith is the main prosecutor for the Hague court examining Kosovo war crimes.
U.S. Attorney in New York
In 1999, he became an associate U.S. attorney in New York. In 2008, he was in charge of war crimes investigations at the International Criminal Court. In 2010, he joined the public integrity division of the Justice Department.
Smith said after he was chosen, “I plan to handle the assigned investigations and any possible prosecutions on my own.”
“My watch won’t slow down the investigations.” “I’ll use independent judgement and conduct investigations quickly and completely to whatever conclusion the facts and law require.”
Trump opposes probes.
Trump addressed the special counsel appointment at Mar-a-Lago on Friday night. He labelled the inquiry a “hoax” and a “witch hunt,” echoing terminology from prior investigations and impeachment trials.
He also named people in the Biden administration without saying what he would do or how he would respond to the special counsel.
Trump Campaign-Russia Conspiracy
Robert Mueller examined suspected Trump campaign-Russia links throughout Trump’s administration.
Mueller found no proof of a Trump campaign-Russia conspiracy, and Trump was not prosecuted. Mueller indicted 30 individuals and three corporations.
He obtained convictions or guilty pleas from eight Trump aides, including Paul Manafort and Roger Stone.
Trump’s previous attorney general, William Barr, hired John Durham to examine alleged FBI and other malfeasance in the Russia probe.
Durham lost both of his trials. A low-level FBI attorney acknowledged changing an email used to seek surveillance warrants against a former Trump campaign advisor.