Merrick Garland appoints special prosecutor to investigate Trump

The former president called the incident a "horrendous abuse of power" and described it as the latest episode "in a long series of witch hunts" against him.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) appointed a special prosecutor to lead two ongoing criminal investigations against former President Donald Trump.

One of the investigations will be to find out if there were one or more persons who "interfered in the transfer of power" in the country and in the certification of the election results that was taking place on the day of the assault on the Capitol. The second is related to the management of the federal documents that were found in raid on former president's private home in Mar-a-Lago, Florida and to ascertain whether there was obstruction of justice in those investigations.

Who is Jack Smith?

Attorney General Merrick Garland announced during a press conference that veteran Jack Smith would be charged with the task. He called the prosecutor "impartial" and noted that his appointment "is the right choice to complete these matters on an urgent basis." He also stated that he will ensure "that the special prosecutor receives the resources to do the job quickly and completely.”

Smith is a former head of DOJ Public Integrity, and has more than three decades of experience with criminal cases. He currently serves as chief prosecutor in The Hague. "I intend to conduct the assigned investigations, and any prosecutions that may result from them, independently and in the best traditions of the Department of Justice (...) The pace of the investigations will not pause or flag under my watch," Smith said in a statement.

Trump’s candidacy for president

Garland said he felt compelled to appoint the prosecutor after Trump announced his intention to run for the presidency, as well as the fact that incumbent Joe Biden also intends to run:

The Department of Justice has long recognized that in certain extraordinary cases, it is in the public interest to appoint a special prosecutor to independently administer an investigation and prosecution (...) Based on recent developments, including the former president's announcement that he will be a candidate for president in the next election, and the incumbent president's stated intention to be a candidate as well, I have concluded that it is in the public interest to appoint a special prosecutor.

Trump calls it a “witch hunt”

In Palm Beach, Florida, Trump called the prosecutor's appointment a "horrendous abuse of power" that comes as he believed the investigation into the Capitol assault was "dead." He also described the event as the latest episode "in a long series of witch hunts" against him:

This is rigged just like the 2020 elections were, and we cannot let something like this happen to our country.

The former president also demanded that the corruption cases involving Hunter Biden, whom he called "corrupt and a drug addict” be investigated. He pointed out what he sees as Garland's hypocrisy in not appointing a prosecutor for the crimes charged against the current president’s son. "Hunter Biden is a criminal many times over and nothing happens to him," he told Fox News. He had also said hours earlier in an interview that he does not plan to participate in the investigation.