Special counsel at Mar-a-Lago, January 6, investigations begin with no sign that investigations will slow down


Newly appointed special counsel Jack Smith gets to work with no sign the two investigations he’s currently overseeing around Donald Trump will slow down – despite being stuck in the Netherlands with a bicycle injury .

The Justice Department informed a federal appeals court that Smith was now involved in the Mar-a-Lago case and shared documents showing he had received instructions from Attorney General Merrick Garland and was sworn in.

At the same time, prosecutors who will work under Smith have made no significant changes to their schedule over the next few weeks to take testimony and collect documents under subpoena, according to people familiar with the investigation.

« The grand jury doesn’t seem to have skipped a beat, » one person said Monday.

The special counsel remains in the Netherlands, but over the weekend began taking the reins of the two Trump-related investigations.

His message to investigative teams is that his arrival should not delay work already underway, ensuring that Tuesday’s hearing for Mar-a-Lago documents and upcoming deadlines for witnesses provide documents are not affected, according to people informed about it. .

Smith is stepping in to lead investigations that have already taken several aggressive steps to gather information about Trump himself — related to both the then president’s actions after the 2020 election and the handling of documents in Florida after the presidency. – signaling that Smith may be on the verge of making political decisions rather than start collecting evidence from scratch.

The official notice of Smith’s appointment comes ahead of oral arguments Tuesday at the 11th Circuit on the legality of a court-appointed special third-party master, who is reviewing records seized from Trump’s Florida home that could be used in the investigation. criminal.

The hearing will mark a major moment in Trump’s judicial approach, where he sought to slow down the investigation into the handling of federal cases after the presidency. The Justice Department disputed the need for the special master sought by Trump.

A court decision is not expected on Tuesday, but could come soon after.

“Special Counsel Smith has reviewed the documents filed in this litigation and agrees with all of the arguments that have been presented in the briefs and will be discussed during oral argument in this case. Special Counsel Smith’s name will be affixed to future pleadings filed in all cases under his appointment,” the Justice Department said in Monday’s notice to the appeals court.

The Department of Justice argues that a third party was improperly installed by a judge to screen Mar-a-Lago’s records. Trump, however, argued that the records seized by the FBI are his own and should not be viewed by investigators.

Garland announced on Friday the appointment of Smith as special counsel overseeing the Mar-a-Lago investigation as well as certain aspects of the criminal investigation into the Jan. 6, 2021, uprising.

Both Garland and Smith stressed that the appointment of the special counsel would not slow ongoing criminal investigations.

Smith’s name as a potential choice for special counsel emerged in recent weeks after Justice Department officials began weighing the decision, people briefed on the matter said. Some officials in Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco’s office were seen as influential supporters of Smith, believing he had the best potential to survive political scrutiny from supporters on both sides.

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