How Special Counsel Smith is fighting ‘at least 8 secret court battles’ in Trump investigations: report
Some Republican supporters of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis have argued that if he decides to run, he would be preferable to former President Donald Trump as a 2024 presidential candidate because he lacks Trump’s legal baggage. Trump is seeking the GOP presidential nomination at a time when he is facing multiple investigations – some criminal, some civil – and is simultaneously being questioned by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Fulton County, Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis, New York State Attorney General Letitia James and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.
In addition to all this, Trump is facing a civil lawsuit from former Elle E columnist. Jean Carroll, who alleges that he tried to sexually assault her in a Manhattan department store in the late 1990s. Trump has flatly denied the allegation.
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Special Counsel Jack Smith to lead two separate Trump-related investigations for the DOJ: one into the January 6, 2021 insurgency, the other into classified government documents that Trump stored at his Mar-a-Lago compound in Palm Beach , Florida. And according to CNN, Smith is “locked in at least eight secret court battles” related to these DOJ investigations.
CNN reporters Katelyn Polantz, Casey Gannon and Evan Perez, in a February 16 article, explain, “The outcome of these disputes could have far-reaching implications, as they revolve around a 2024 presidential candidate and could lead the courts to shape the law. around the presidency, separation of powers and attorney-client privilege like never before. Yet almost all of the proceedings are sealed, and the documents and decisions are not public.
CNN reporters describe some of the ways Smith’s investigations differ from former special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia/Trump probe.
“The large number of recusals before the grand jury by potential witnesses is both a reflection of the scope of the special counsel’s investigation and a feature of Trump’s ultra-combative style in dealing with investigations,” observe Polantz, Gannon and Perez. “By comparison, Robert Mueller’s grand jury investigation into Trump had a handful of sealed proceedings where investigators used the court to get more answers, and independent counsel Kenneth Starr’s Whitewater investigation ultimately totaled seven similar sealed cases. ”
Democratic attorney Neil Eggleston, who served as White House counsel under President Barack Obama and as associate counsel to President Bill Clinton, points out that with Smith’s two Trump-related investigations, the former president continues to claim executive privilege.
Eggleston told CNN, “I think we’re in extraordinary times. In part, I think President Trump is still asserting these theories long after they were rejected by the court. “