UPDATE: Kerry Eleveld
UPDATE: Garland has named Jack Smith, the department’s former public integrity chief, as special counsel.
Attorney General Merrick Garland on Friday appointed a special counsel to examine whether Donald Trump should be indicted on federal charges related to several Justice Department investigations, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Who Garland will name and the scope of their examination is unknown. The move likely reflects the fact that Trump formally announced his 2024 candidacy earlier this week, and Garland wants to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest, particularly if President Joe Biden seeks reelection.
But the likelihood that a special counsel will somehow assuage Trump's cultists in any way seems ludicrous. Garland’s critics in the legal community would much rather he just proceed with making the determination himself.
Certainly, who Garland appoints could point to how serious he is about a potential indictment.
Here are some early reactions to the announcement.
Appointment of highly regarded special counsel Jack Smith viewed as sign Trump is in legal jeopardy