United States: Washington appoints a special prosecutor to investigate Trump | International

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United States Attorney General Merrick Garland announces the appointment of the special counsel this Friday in Washington.JIM LO SCALZO (EFE)

Three days after Donald Trump announced his candidacy for re-election in 2024, United States Attorney General Merrick Garland has appointed a special prosecutor to oversee the Justice Department's investigation into the presence of classified documents at the Trump estate. former president in Florida, as well as key issues of the investigation related to the assault on the Capitol on January 6, 2021. The two ongoing investigations, of a political nature, are added to two others, of a civil and criminal nature, in the prosecutor's offices of the State of New York and Manhattan, respectively, for irregularities in their business. A fifth case, also of a political nature, scrutinizes the former president's attempts to reverse the result of the 2020 elections in Georgia.

The chosen one is Jack Smith, a Justice Department official and war crimes expert who was a member of The Hague Special Tribunal for Kosovo. “Based on recent events, including the former president's announcement that he is running for president in the upcoming election and the current president's stated intention to also run, I have concluded that it is in the public interest to appoint special counsel. Garland said. “This appointment underscores the Department's commitment [de Justicia] both with independence and with responsibility in particularly sensitive matters”.

Garland's initiative, whom the Republicans had promised to file on the eve of the midterm elections, when the polls smiled at them, is an acknowledgment of the unequivocal political implications of the cases cited: the documents seized from the White House, the paper of Trump by instigating the insurrection of his followers on Capitol Hill, for which he has been summoned to testify by the congressional committee, and his maneuvers to convince officials of the State of Georgia to reverse the results of the elections of 2020.

Garland himself was expected to officially announce the appointment of the special prosecutor, a figure similar to that of Robert Mueller in the investigation of the Russian plot in the first impeachment to Trump, late this Friday (local time), according to The Wall Street Journal Y The New York Times, but the informational anxiety caused by the news, a bombshell in political terms, has precipitated the announcement with an appearance by the head of Justice in which he revealed the identity of the chosen one.

Garland's goal is to speed up the course of the investigations, although the role of the supervisor is subordinated to the attorney general, who will have the final say on the presentation of charges, if it were the case. Smith is expected, according to the CNN television network, to gather more information to call the testimony of witnesses before a grand jury in the coming weeks. After the virtual paralysis of political activity due to the holding of the midterm elections, and after a relatively satisfactory result for the Democrats -Garland, appointed by President Joe Biden, is-, the appointment of the supervisor, which was advanced by a high Justice Department official who requested anonymity, represents the first firewall to Trump's aspirations, and the first major chip that Democrats move in the 2024 presidential campaign.

Special counsel are semi-independent prosecutors who, under Department of Justice regulations, can be appointed for high-level investigations where a conflict of interest may exist. They have greater operational autonomy than ordinary US attorneys, but ultimately remain subject to the control of the attorney general.

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For Trump it will not be a new experience. While at the White House, he faced an investigation by special counsel or counsel Robert S. Mueller, who probed into the nature of various links between his 2016 campaign and Russia, known as russian plot. Mueller concluded that Trump had committed obstruction of justice at least a dozen times, despite which the president emerged unscathed from the case. impeachment (impeachment) in Congress. After leaving the White House, he was subjected to another, from which there were no consequences either.

In Friday's announcement, Garland has also used the term "obstruction" at least twice: the obstruction case, along with possible Espionage Act violations for taking confidential documents from the White House, amounting to withholding. of national defense information, are considered the two most likely charges that the Department of Justice could bring against Trump.

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