What it means that a special counsel is running the Trump investigation


The legal risk former President Donald Trump faces in two federal criminal investigations took on a new tenor Friday with the appointment of a special counsel at the Justice Department.

Jack Smith, a Justice Department alumnus known for his work on international war crimes trials, will take over the investigation of confidential government documents brought to Trump’s Florida home late in his presidency.

Smith will also oversee aspects of the investigation reviewing efforts to obstruct the transfer of presidential power after 2020, including bids to interfere with congressional vote certification.

Here’s what you need to know about the ad and the investigations:

What did Merrick Garland say?

The attorney general announced the appointment of a special counsel to investigate, and both cited Trump, who announced this week that he would run for the White House in 2024.

Smith will eventually report to Attorney General Merrick Garland. But as special counsel, he would work outside the department’s day-to-day oversight of political leaders and his dealings with Biden’s political appointees should be limited.

The independent special counsel, appointed by President Joe Biden, is keeping an eye on what’s happening in the department’s investigations related to top political leaders and Trump. A Justice Department official told reporters that Smith was registered as a free agent.

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