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Iran Press TV

US Justice Dept. names war crimes prosecutor as special counsel for Trump probes

Iran Press TV

Saturday, 19 November 2022 4:23 PM

The US Justice Department has named Jack Smith, a war crimes prosecutor, to serve as special counsel to oversee the department's investigations related to former president Donald Trump including his handling of sensitive documents and alleged efforts to overturn the disputed 2020 election.

The announcement was made on Friday three days after Trump declared that he will seek the Republican presidential nomination in 2024.

"In order to make America great and glorious again, I am tonight announcing my candidacy for president of the United States," Trump told a crowd gathered at Mar-a-Lago, his waterfront estate in Florida on Tuesday night.

US Attorney General Merrick Garland said Trump's candidacy, as well as incumbent President Joe Biden's stated intention to run for the White House again, made the appointment of a special counsel necessary, according to Reuters.

Special counsels are sometimes appointed to probe politically sensitive cases and they are supposed to do their jobs with a degree of independence from the Justice Department, the news agency reported.

"The pace of the investigations will not pause or flag under my watch," Smith said in a statement. "I will exercise independent judgment and will move the investigations forward expeditiously and thoroughly to whatever outcome the facts and the law dictate."

Garland said Smith will supervise the investigation into Trump's handling of government documents after leaving the White House last year and look into the Republican president's attempts to overturn the outcome of the dubious 2020 presidential election.

"Appointing a special counsel at this time is the right thing to do," Garland told reporters.

Newly surfaced findings have indicated that some of the documents seized during the FBI search in Trump's Mar-a-Lago home were so sensitive that many top officials were not aware of their contents.

The Justice Department is investigating whether Trump broke the law by taking government records, including about 100 classified documents, to his Florida estate after leaving office in January 2021.

The department is also looking into whether Trump or his team obstructed justice when the FBI sent agents to search his home, and has warned that more classified documents might still be missing.

The sensitivity of the top secret documents, which could endanger US intelligence liaisons, will count as an aggravating factor when prosecutors decide whether or not to file charges in relation to the case.

Disputed 2020 presidential election

Meanwhile, Trump claimed that he won the 2020 presidential election and that there was "massive" voter fraud. Trump and his allies had raised concerns that widespread fraud marred the election and that it was rigged by the Washington establishment in favor of Biden, who was certified as the winner in Congress on January 6, 2021.

Trump said that the January 6, 2021 protest represented "the greatest movement in the history of our Country," when thousands of people marched against the certification of the 2020 election which placed Biden in office as the current US president.

Trump denounces the appointment as a 'rigged deal'

On Friday, Trump called the special counsel appointed by the Justice Department a "rigged deal."

"This horrendous abuse of power is the latest in a long series of witch hunts that started a long time ago," he told a crowd of supporters at a black-tie event at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.

On January 6, 2021, Trump supporters occupied the US Capitol while lawmakers were in the process of reviewing the certification of state electors which indicated Biden's victory. Some Trump supporters had hoped that this process could have resulted in some of the electors being disqualified, thus overturning the outcome of the presidential election.

It is claimed by some that the demonstrators were infiltrated and incited by provocateurs from US intelligence agencies, who orchestrated the "false flag operation" in order to get rid of Trump.

Some among the crowd clashed with police, and some made threats to beat up a number of Democratic lawmakers. Some also inflicted damage on parts of the Capitol building.

"January 6 was the conclusion of the theft of the election, but it was stolen from Trump, not by him," said Don DeBar, a New-York based journalist.

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