Attorney General Merrick Garland has appointed a Special Counsel in the ongoing Trump criminal investigations undertaken by the Department. Garland appointed Jack Smith Special Counsel. The DoJ has posted Garland’s statement here. Garland discusses Smith’s background in his statement, but Politico’s Josh Gerstein and Kyle Cheney provide more details in their story on his appointment.

This is the operative portion of Garland’s statement:

Based on recent developments, including the former President’s announcement that he is a candidate for President in the next election, and the sitting President’s stated intention to be a candidate as well, I have concluded that it is in the public interest to appoint a Special Counsel.

Such an appointment underscores the Department’s commitment to both independence and accountability in particularly sensitive matters. It also allows prosecutors and agents to continue their work expeditiously, and to make decisions indisputably guided only by the facts and the law.

The Special Counsel will conduct parts of the first investigation I just mentioned: the investigation into whether any person or entity unlawfully interfered with the transfer of power following the 2020 presidential election or with the certification of the Electoral College vote held on or about January 6.

This does not include prosecutions that are currently pending in the District of Columbia, or future investigations and prosecutions of individuals for offenses committed while they were physically present on the Capitol grounds on January 6. Those investigations and prosecutions will remain under the authority of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia.

The Special Counsel will also conduct the investigation involving classified documents and other presidential records, as well as the possible obstruction of that investigation.

It strikes me that this is an unfortunate development from just about every point of view. I would like to defer further comment on this development for a later time, or let my Power Line colleagues take it away.

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