Newly appointed special counsel Jack Smith continues to work remotely from Europe as he assembles a team, finds office space, and takes over two high-stakes investigations into former president Donald Trump — complex cases that officials insist will not be delayed by Smith’s appointment, even as they also said they do not know when he will return to the United States.
Smith, a war crimes prosecutor at the International Criminal Court at The Hague, injured his leg in a recent bicycle accident and is recovering from surgery. He was tapped Friday to assume control over Justice Department investigations into Trump’s role in efforts to undo the results of the 2020 election, as well the department’s investigation into possible mishandling of national defense secrets at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence and private club, where more than 300 classified documents were recovered months after he left the White House.
Attorney General Merrick Garland said it was in the public interest to put a special counsel in charge of the cases, rather than Justice Department officials, to avoid a perceived conflict as Trump launches his 2024 presidential campaign and President Biden — who defeated Trump in 2020 — says he will run as well.
Garland and Smith have both vowed that the appointment of a special counsel will not slow the work in either case, and Smith has already become involved, albeit from the Netherlands. For example, a court filing Monday said Smith has reviewed arguments in a months-long court fight between the Justice Department and Trump’s lawyers over papers seized in the FBI’s Aug. 8 search of Mar-a-Lago. [Continue reading…]