Special counsel in Trump investigations ‘politically very, very significant,’ a ‘serious concern,’ experts say

Attorney General Merrick Garland’s appointment of a special counsel in multiple Donald Trump investigations could be a “serious concern” for the former president, some experts argue.

Fox News contributor Jonathan Turley joined “Fox News Sunday” host Shannon Bream and “WSJ at Large” host Gerry Baker Friday with reaction to Garland naming former Justice Department official Jack Smith special counsel in two investigations involving Trump.

“The past cases, even the most egregious cases have resulted in relatively light criminal charges, that is, for possessing or removing classified evidence. That is not the case with obstruction,” Turley said on “America Reports” Friday. 

“So when we’re talking about obstruction, that is something that can come and has historically come with significant penalties. So I think that the scope of this investigation is going to be a serious concern. “

Garland assigned Smith to investigate the entirety of the criminal probe into the unlawful retention of national defense information at former Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort, Fox News reported. 

ATTORNEY GENERAL GARLAND NAMES SPECIAL COUNSEL TO INVESTIGATE TRUMP ON MAR-A-LAGO DOCUMENTS, JAN. 6

In addition, Smith is tasked with overseeing the investigation into whether Trump or other officials and entities interfered with the peaceful transfer of power following the 2020 presidential election, including the certification of the Electoral College vote on Jan. 6, 2021.

Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks during a news conference, Monday, June 13, 2022, at the Department of Justice in Washington. 

Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks during a news conference, Monday, June 13, 2022, at the Department of Justice in Washington. 
(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

“This part of the investigation is not just about January 6th,” “WSJ at Large” host Gerry Baker said. “This is much broader than that. This is about the whole effort, it says, to interfere with the lawful transfer of power following the 2020 election.”

Garland said in Friday’s press conference that appointing a special counsel is in “public interest.”

Some experts, however, argue this could prompt greater support for Trump, providing the former president with another way to rile up supporters as he pursues his candidacy for presidency in the 2024 election. He told Fox News Digital exclusively that he “won’t partake” in the special counsel’s investigation. 

TRUMP SAYS HE ‘WON’T PARTAKE’ IN SPECIAL COUNSEL INVESTIGATIONS, SLAMS AS ‘WORST POLITICIZATION OF JUSTICE’

Baker noted the announcement is “politically, very, very significant.”

“How [President Trump] chooses to use this for his own political opportunity will become also quite a big issue in the course of the next few weeks,” Baker said. 

PALM BEACH, FLORIDA - NOVEMBER 15: Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during an event at his Mar-a-Lago home on November 15, 2022 in Palm Beach, Florida. Trump announced that he was seeking another term in office and officially launched his 2024 presidential campaign.  

PALM BEACH, FLORIDA – NOVEMBER 15: Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during an event at his Mar-a-Lago home on November 15, 2022 in Palm Beach, Florida. Trump announced that he was seeking another term in office and officially launched his 2024 presidential campaign.  
(Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

“The question to me politically is whether President Trump actually takes this and leverages it to his advantage,” Bream said, noting this phase in the investigations into Donald Trump has “broad tentacles.”

With the Justice Department moving forward in its investigations of former President Trump, these investigations will certainly have an impact of former President Trump’s campaign, although exactly what impact is still uncertain.

“Whatever the actual rights and wrongs, whatever we find out from this investigation, many people will simply believe this is just a just yet another attempt by Donald Trump’s enemies to use the law to pursue him,” Baker said. 

“That is, unfortunately, how a very large number of people will see it, and it will probably rebound to his benefit politically in that respect.”

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Bream said Garland’s move is just “another iron in that fire” for the former president could use politically with the race for 2024 underway.

Fox News’ Jake Gibson and Haris Alic contributed to this report.

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