EXCLUSIVE: Former President Donald Trump blasted the Justice Department’s appointment of a special counsel to take over investigations related to presidential records and Jan. 6, telling Fox News he “won’t partake in it” and calling it “the worst politicization of justice in our country,” while urging the Republican Party to take action.
“I have been going through this for six years — for six years I have been going through this, and I am not going to go through it anymore,” Trump told Fox News Digital in an exclusive interview Friday shortly after the announcement. “And I hope the Republicans have the courage to fight this.”
“I have been proven innocent for six years on everything — from fake impeachments to [former special counsel Robert] Mueller who found no collusion, and now I have to do it more?” Trump said. “It is not acceptable. It is so unfair. It is so political.”
“I am not going to partake in it,” Trump told Fox News Digital. “I’m not going to partake in this.”
Trump, who announced his 2024 presidential campaign on Tuesday, said it is “not even believable.”
“I have never heard of such a thing. They found nothing. I announce and then they appoint a special prosecutor,” he said. “They found nothing, and now they take some guy who hates Trump. This is a disgrace and only happening because I am leading in every poll in both parties.”
He added: “It is not even believable that they’re allowed to do this. This is the worst politicization of justice in our country.”
Trump, like many congressional Republicans, slammed the Justice Department for bias and politicization, pointing to the federal investigation into President Biden’s son, Hunter Biden. Hunter has been under federal investigation since 2018 and the investigation is being conducted by Delaware U.S. Attorney David Weiss, a prosecutor appointed by Trump.
“Hunter Biden is a criminal many times over and nothing happens to him,” Trump said. “Joe Biden is a criminal many times over — and nothing happens to them.
“It is unfair to the country, to the Republican Party, and I don’t think people should accept it. I am not going to accept it,” Trump told Fox News Digital. “The Republican Party has to stand up and fight.”
Biden has repeatedly denied discussing or having any knowledge of his son’s business dealings.
Attorney General Merrick Garland on Friday appointed former Justice Department official Jack Smith to the role of special counsel to investigate the entirety of the criminal probe into the retention of presidential records held at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home.
Smith is a former assistant U.S. attorney and chief to the DOJ’s public integrity section. Since 2018, Smith has been a prosecutor with the International Criminal Court tasked with investigating and adjudicating war crimes in Kosovo.
Smith will also oversee the DOJ’s investigation into Jan. 6, a senior Justice Department official told Fox News.
FBI agents seized classified records from former Trump’s home at Mar-a-Lago during the agency’s unprecedented raid on Aug. 8, including some marked as top secret, according to a warrant and property receipt.
Trump and his legal team have said records held at Mar-a-Lago had been declassified when Trump was in the White House. The Justice Department argues that Trump unlawfully retained national defense information at his home.
According to the property receipt, FBI agents took approximately 20 boxes of items from the premises, including one set of documents marked as “Various classified/TS/SCI documents,” which refers to top secret/sensitive compartmented information.
Records covered by that government classification level could include human intelligence and information that, if disclosed, could jeopardize relations between the U.S. and other nations, as well as the lives of intelligence operatives abroad. However, the classification also encompasses national security information related to the daily operations of the president of the U.S.
The government conducted the search in response to what it believes to be a violation of federal laws: 18 USC 793 — Gathering, transmitting or losing defense information; 18 USC 2071 — Concealment, removal or mutilation; and 18 USC 1519 — Destruction, alteration or falsification of records in Federal investigations.
The allegation of “gathering, transmitting or losing defense information” falls under the Espionage Act.
The former president and his team continue to dispute the classification and believe the information and records to have been declassified.
Trump told Fox News Digital on Friday that “every other president took records, and they didn’t do anything about it.”
Meanwhile, as for Jan. 6, he told Fox News that he “did nothing wrong” and only encouraged supporters to demonstrate “peacefully and patriotically.”
“I did nothing wrong,” he said.
A Trump spokesperson said Friday that “this is a totally expected political stunt by a feckless, politicized, weaponized Biden Department of Justice.”
Trump’s presidency was clouded by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether he and his campaign colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election.
After nearly two years, Mueller’s investigation, which concluded in March 2019, yielded no evidence of criminal conspiracy or coordination between the Trump campaign and Russian officials during the 2016 presidential election.
Smith, in a statement Friday, said he intends “to conduct the assigned investigations, and any prosecutions that may result from them, independently and in the best traditions of the Department of Justice.”
“The pace of the investigations will not pause or flag under my watch,” Smith said. “I will exercise independent judgment and will move the investigations forward expeditiously and thoroughly to whatever outcome the facts and the law dictate.”