The Justice Department is reportedly discussing the possibility of appointing a special counsel to oversee active federal investigations related to former President Donald Trump if he decides to launch a 2024 campaign.
Trump is being probed by the DOJ over his efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election and for his alleged mishandling of top secret documents stored at his Mar-a-Lago estate. According to reports, Trump is very likely to announce his third presidential run after the Nov. 8 midterm elections.
DOJ officials are debating whether appointing a special counsel would protect the Justice Department from claims that the Biden administration is going after his top political rival, sources told CNN.
The CNN report adds that federal investigators are planning for a surge in activity related to the investigations into Trump after the midterm elections, including the possibility of indicting Trump associates or even the former president himself.
The DOJ has also reorganized its prosecutorial team in recent weeks, according to the report. They brought in Kansas City-based federal prosecutor and national security expert David Raskin, and high-level defense lawyer David Rody from corporate defense firm Sidley Austin. A handful of other prosecutors have joined the Jan. 6 investigations team as well, according to CNN.
“They’re not going to charge before they’re ready to charge,” a former Justice Department official told CNN. “But there will be added pressure to get through the review” of cases quicker than the five years the DOJ has to bring charges.
The decision on whether to appoint a special counsel will be up to Attorney General Merrick Garland, who must also make decisions involving the investigations into President Biden’s son, Hunter, and Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL).
On Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Kash Patel, a former high-level aide in the Trump administration, was granted immunity by the DOJ in exchange for his testimony before a federal grand jury investigating Trump’s handling of White House documents after his presidency.