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DOJ names Jack Smith as special counsel to oversee Trump criminal investigations

Jack Smith, seen in 2010 when he was the Justice Department's chief of the Public Integrity Section. Attorney General Merrick Garland named Smith a special counsel on Friday to oversee DOJ's criminal investigations involving former President Donald Trump.
Charles Dharapak
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AP
Jack Smith, seen in 2010 when he was the Justice Department's chief of the Public Integrity Section. Attorney General Merrick Garland named Smith a special counsel on Friday to oversee DOJ's criminal investigations involving former President Donald Trump.

Updated November 18, 2022 at 3:08 PM ET

Attorney General Merrick Garland has named the Justice Department's former public integrity chief Jack Smith to oversee the Justice Department's criminal investigations involving former President Donald Trump. The decision comes three days after Trump announced that he will run again for the White House.

Smith will oversee investigations of the retention of national defense information at Trump's Mar-A-Lago estate, as well as key aspects of the department's Jan. 6 investigation, according to a senior Justice Department official.

Smith has most recently served as the chief prosecutor for the special court in The Hague charged with investigating and adjudicating war crimes in Kosovo.

Attorney General Merrick Garland delivers remarks alongside Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco and Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Polite at the U.S. Justice Department on Nov. 18.
Anna Moneymaker / Getty Images
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Attorney General Merrick Garland delivers remarks alongside Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco and Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Polite at the U.S. Justice Department on Nov. 18.

He joined the Justice Department in 1999 as an assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. He moved to the International Criminal Court in 2008, supervising all war crimes investigations conducted by the Office of the Prosecutor, before taking on the public integrity office of the Justice department in 2010.

"I intend to conduct the assigned investigations, and any prosecutions that may result from them, independently and in the best traditions of the Department of Justice," Smith said in a statement released after he was publicly named. "The pace of the investigations will not pause or flag under my watch. I will exercise independent judgement and will move the investigations forward expeditiously and thoroughly to whatever outcome the facts and the law dictate."

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Carrie Johnson is a justice correspondent for the Washington Desk.