US justice department appoints special counsel to oversee Trump probes

The US Department of Justice has named a special counsel to manage investigations involving Donald Trump, a move that comes three days after the former president launched his 2024 presidential bid.

Attorney-general Merrick Garland on Friday said the counsel, veteran career prosecutor Jack Smith, would oversee an investigation into whether Trump mishandled government documents and parts of an investigation into his role in the January 6, 2021 attacks on the Capitol.

The announcement by Garland, who was appointed by President Joe Biden, could help the DoJ reaffirm the impartiality of its Trump investigations.

It adds yet another battle in a number of legal challenges faced by Trump, including a grand jury in Georgia that is investigating potential wrongdoing following the 2020 elections and a lawsuit filed by the New York attorney-general against him and three of his adult children over alleged fraud in their family business.

Trump on Tuesday announced that he would make a third run for the White House, even as he faces a criminal investigation connected to his handling of classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago resort, as well as questions about the poor showing of Republicans associated with him in the November 8 midterm elections.

Federal agents searched Trump’s Florida estate in early August, triggering ire within the conservative base in US while reviving fears about his chaotic presidency among moderate and independent voters.

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