An independent attorney has been hired to oversee the US Department of Justice’s criminal investigation into former US President Trump.
Jack Smith, a former war crimes prosecutor, was appointed special counsel by Attorney General Merrick Garland at a press conference.
He leads an investigation of how Trump handled and justified documents and his alleged role in the Capitol riot.
Trump has been the subject of several other investigations and denied any wrongdoing.
Smith will finally give a judgment if the former Republican President, who announced his candidacy for 2024 just three days before, will face criminal charges.
“In certain exceptional cases, it is in the public interest to appoint a special counsel to independently lead the investigation and prosecution,” Garland said Friday. And based on recent developments, including the announcement of the President and the intention to run for office by the incumbent President, we have concluded that it is in the public interest to do so.”
In a statement from his home in Mar-a-Lago, Fla., on Friday night, Trump said the “corrupt and highly political” judiciary that appointed a special counsel from the “ultra-left” criticized the “horrible abuse of power” by
Mr. Smith is a former prosecutor in New York and most recently served as chief prosecutor in The Hague investigating war crimes in Kosovo.
Garland said he would soon return to the United States to begin his work. The Justice Department said Mr. Smith was a registered political independent to prevent allegations of partisan bias.
“Under my supervision, the pace of the investigation will not slow down,” he added. “I will exercise independent judgement and proceed with investigations promptly and thoroughly to achieve the results dictated by the facts and law.”