What's happening with the Trump special counsel investigation?
Published in Political News
WASHINGTON — Jack Smith, a veteran Justice Department prosecutor, is tasked with overseeing criminal investigations into former President Donald Trump’s handling of classified documents after he left the White House, and a separate probe into attempts to stop President Biden from assuming office after the 2020 election.
Attorney General Merrick Garland said he appointed a special counsel because Trump and Biden have both indicated they intend to seek another term as president. Garland appointed Smith on Nov. 18. In January, Garland named a separate special counsel to investigate classified records found at Biden’s home and office.
Here’s what we know.
Who is Jack Smith?
Smith is a veteran prosecutor known for pursuing complicated cases that come with a significant amount of political pressure. For five years he oversaw the Justice Department’s public integrity section, which investigates wrongdoing by politicians and election crime, and spent nearly a decade working as a federal prosecutor in Brooklyn after working in Manhattan.
Prior to his appointment by Garland, Smith spent three years as a special prosecutor examining war crime accusations in Kosovo for the International Criminal Court at The Hague.
What is Smith doing?
Garland tasked Smith in November with overseeing two existing investigations involving Trump and his allies.
The first is a probe of what led to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol and attempts to block the peaceful transfer of power after the 2020 election. Smith’s work does not include investigating rioters who entered Capitol ground, caused damage or inflicted injuries on police and reporters.
The second involves hundreds of classified documents that reportedly went home with Trump after he left the White House. The FBI used a search warrant to recover the documents from Trump’s Florida home in August after obtaining evidence showing the former president had not complied with a subpoena ordering him to turn them over.
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