"Thing is, with prosecutors you don't have to 'partake,'" noted Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse. "They and the agents and the grand jurors go about their business without you having to 'partake' at all."
Former President Donald Trump on Friday toldFox News Digital that he won't "partake" after U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Jack Smith to serve as special counsel for two ongoing criminal investigations involving the GOP leader, who recently announced his 2024 campaign.
"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," said Trump, who faces various legal issues at the state and federal level. "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?" he continued. "It is not acceptable. It is so unfair. It is so political."
The first investigation Smith will oversee focuses on the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol that Trump incited with his "Big Lie" that the 2020 election was stolen from him--which led to his unprecedented second impeachment. The second probe focuses on classified documents and other presidential records.
The ex-president insisted Friday that "I am not going to partake in it... I'm not going to partake in this."
"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."
"It is not even believable that they're allowed to do this. This is the worst politicization of justice in our country," Trump added before taking aim at President Joe Biden's son, Hunter Biden, and again urging his allies to challenge the investigations.
"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," he declared. "The Republican Party has to stand up and fight."
Journalist Aaron Rupar took to Twitter to highlight several of Trump's lies in his comments to Fox.
\u201c1. Trump has not been "proven innocent"\n2. Trump was impeached for stuff that happened on tape and in public -- they weren't "fake"\n3. Mueller did not find "no collusion," he decided not to prosecute\n4. Trump saying he won't "partake" in the investigation won't make it go away\u201d— Aaron Rupar (@Aaron Rupar) 1668805381
U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) tweeted: "Thing is, with prosecutors you don't have to 'partake.' They and the agents and the grand jurors go about their business without you having to 'partake' at all. You even have a right not to 'partake.'"
Garland did not shy away from Trump's bid to reclaim the White House in his Friday speech announcing the appointment. He said that "based on recent developments, including the former president's announcement that he is a candidate for president in the next election, and the sitting president's stated intention to be a candidate as well, I have concluded that it is in the public interest to appoint a special counsel."
Smith, a former federal prosecutor, said in a statement Friday that "I intend 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. I will exercise independent judgment and will move the investigations forward expeditiously and thoroughly to whatever outcome the facts and the law dictate."
The Biden White House did not receive advance notice of Smith's appointment, according to Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, who said that "the Department of Justice makes their own decision when it relates to criminal investigation. We were not involved."
"We do not politicize the Department of Justice," she added. "That is something that the president said during the campaign. That is something that the president said during his early days of being in the White House, and that continues to be true. We were not involved in this particular issue."
Trump announced on his Truth Social platform that at 8:00 pm ET Friday, he will be "making a statement on the never-ending Witch Hunt" from Mar-a-Lago--his Florida estate where federal agents executed a search warrant in August.