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Garland Names Special Counsel to Oversee Ongoing Investigations Into Trump Document case

Attorney General Merrick Garland has just announced the appointment of a special counsel to oversee the entirety of the Justice Department's criminal investigation into the retention of national defense information at former President Donald Trump's residence at Mar-a-Lago and key aspects of the Jan. 6 investigation.

This is a major development in the ongoing saga surrounding Trump after he announced his Presidential bid 2024.


Gage Skidmore

Attorney General Merrick Garland has announced that John "Jack" Smith will serve as the special counsel overseeing the Justice Department's ongoing criminal investigations into the presence of classified documents at former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence and key aspects of the Jan. 6 Capitol Hill riot.


The decision to appoint a special counsel comes as the Justice Department is nearing a conclusion in its criminal probe into whether Trump aides unlawfully retained classified information at the Florida resort, two sources familiar with the matter tell ABC News.


special counsel John "Jack" Smith will have full authority to investigate not only that case, but also "whether any federal criminal laws were violated in connection with the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol," one of the sources said.


What Are the Key Aspects of the Jan. 6 Investigation?

There are three key aspects to the Jan. 6 investigation:


1. The retention of national defense information at former President Donald Trump's residence at Mar-a-Lago;


2. The Justice Department's criminal investigation into the same; and


3. Key aspects of the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection investigation.




Mr. John "Jack" Smith, who previously served as an Assistant Attorney General in the department's National Security Division, will begin his new role immediately and will oversee a team of prosecutors and investigators looking into both cases.


The announcement comes as the department is facing intense scrutiny for its handling of both investigations. Trump himself has been accused of obstruction of justice for allegedly trying to interfere with the Mar-a-Lago probe, while some lawmakers have accused the department of downplaying the threat posed by right-wing extremists in the lead-up to the Jan. 6 attack.


The decision by Garland is likely to please Democrats who have been calling for a more aggressive investigation into Trump's conduct both before and after he left office. It also represents a sharp break from the Trump administration, which had been dismissive of the investigation and had sought to downplay its significance.


The investigation is ongoing and it remains to be seen what, if any, charges will be brought as a result of it.




This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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