BREAKING: Attorney General Merrick Garland Appoints Special Counsel for Trump Criminal Probe
Attorney General Merrick Garland is appointing a Special Counsel to investigate former president and 2024 presidential candidate Donald Trump.
“The special counsel will assess whether criminal charges are merited in connection with the handling of classified documents at Mr. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida and oversee key aspects of the sprawling Justice Department investigation into efforts by Mr. Trump and his allies to overturn his 2020 election loss,” The Wall Street Journal reported, citing a senior Justice Department official.
“A formal announcement, which is expected by Friday afternoon, would come three days after Mr. Trump announced another bid for the presidency and would mark the naming of the third independent prosecutor in five years to examine issues involving Mr. Trump,” the report continued. “The move reflects the sensitivity of Mr. Garland overseeing any investigation into Mr. Trump now that he is a declared presidential candidate. President Biden, who has said he intends to run for re-election in 2024, nominated Mr. Garland to head the Justice Department in part for the former judge’s promise to insulate the agency from political influence.”
However, as the Wall Street Journal points out, the appointment of a Special Counsel does not remove the appearance of impropriety.
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“A special-counsel appointment won’t entirely eliminate the appearance of a conflict, as Mr. Garland and other senior Justice Department officials are still likely to be involved in some decision-making related to the probe, according to people familiar with past special counsels,” the report added.
Attorney General Garland’s announcement comes only days after the Washington Post quietly dropped a bombshell admission that the documents in former President Trump’s possession were not comprised of “nuclear secrets” and did not appear to have any business relevance.
The Post is now reporting that a “review by agents and prosecutors found no discernible business interest in the Mar-a-Lago documents, people familiar with the matter said.”
“As part of the investigation, federal authorities reviewed the classified documents that were recovered from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home and private club, looking to see if the types of information contained in them pointed to any kind of pattern or similarities, according to these people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation,” the Post reported.
“That review has not found any apparent business advantage to the types of classified information in Trump’s possession, these people said,” the report continued. “FBI interviews with witnesses so far, they said, also do not point to any nefarious effort by Trump to leverage, sell or use the government secrets. Instead, the former president seemed motivated by a more basic desire not to give up what he believed was his property, these people said. Trump repeatedly said the materials were his, not the government’s — often in profane terms, two of these people said.”
“But they said the evidence collected over a period of months indicates the primary explanation for potentially criminal conduct was Trump’s ego and intransigence,” the report added.
The Department of Justice’s announcement comes nearly two weeks after a midterms election that will hand control of the House of Representatives back to the Republican Party. It also comes days after Donald Trump announced he will be running once again to become President of the United States, potentially setting him up as current President Joe Biden’s rival in 2024.