Attorney General Garland speaks on Trump documents case, special counsel

He made his first comments since the former president was indicted.

ByAlexandra Hutzler ABCNews logo
Wednesday, June 14, 2023
Trump pleads not guilty in classified documents case
Donald Trump became the first former president to face a judge on federal charges as he pleaded not guilty in a Miami courtroom Tuesday to dozens of felony counts accusing him of hoarding classified documents and refusing government demands to give them back.

Attorney General Merrick Garland on Wednesday made his first public remarks on the historic indictment of former President Donald Trump on federal criminal charges.

MORE | Trump indictment: Former president pleads not guilty to federal charges in classified documents case

Garland, taking questions at an event on combatting violent crime, said he couldn't discuss particulars of the case but offered general praise for Smith and his team.

"As I said when I appointed Mr. Smith, I did so because it underscores the Justice Department's commitment to both independence and accountability," the attorney general said. "Mr. Smith is a veteran career prosecutor. He has assembled a group of experienced and talented prosecutors and agents who share his commitment to integrity. Any questions about this matter will have to be answered by their filings in court."

US Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks during a ceremony at the Department of Justice in Washington, DC, May 24, 2023.
Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images, FILE

Garland, when asked about his role in the indictment process, said he followed regulations set forth for an attorney general in special counsel investigation.

Pressed by ABC News Senior Justice Correspondent Pierre Thomas on why an indictment was the "best and most appropriate step," Garland repeated he was not going to get into particulars of the case.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

NOTE: The video in the media player is from a previous report.