The Partisan Prosecutor Handpicked for Trump Probe: Everything You Need to Know

News & Politics

Merrick Garland handpicked Jack Smith in November to investigate former President Donald J. Trump over the alleged mishandling of classified documents and the ridiculous case over the Capitol riot.

Garland called Smith the “right choice to complete these matters in an evenhanded and urgent manner.” But in reality, Smith is a hardcore partisan with a shoddy record whose sole purpose was to get the result the Biden administration wanted.

Smith has served in various positions within the Obama Department of Justice (DOJ). From 2010 to 2015, he worked under Attorney General Eric Holder as the head of the DOJ’s Public Integrity Section.

Smith played a key role in the infamous Obama IRS scandal, in which the agency targeted conservative nonprofit groups before the 2012 presidential election. When Lois Lerner, then-director of the IRS’s Exempt Organizations Unit, orchestrated an IRS campaign aimed at Tea Party groups and conservative nonprofit organizations, Smith played a role in urging DOJ officials to engage with Lerner and the IRS, which led to the IRS providing the FBI with extensive tax records of nonprofit organizations. “Jack Smith was looking for ways to prosecute the innocent Americans that Lois Lerner targeted during the IRS scandal,” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said last year.

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Smith has been known for targeting Republicans with shoddy investigations, while his cases involving Democrats have resulted in mistrials.

For example, Smith led the prosecution against former Republican Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell. Smith’s handling of that case was so poorly conducted that the Supreme Court later unanimously overturned McDonnell’s conviction. The Court said that Smith had used an overly broad definition of acts that could be considered criminal. “There is no doubt that this case is distasteful; it may be worse than that. But our concern is not with tawdry tales of Ferraris, Rolexes, and ball gowns. It is instead with the broader legal implications of the Government’s boundless interpretation of the federal bribery statute,” Chief Justice Roberts wrote in the unanimous opinion. “A more limited interpretation of the term ‘official act’ leaves ample room for prosecuting corruption, while comporting with the text of the statute and the precedent of this Court.”

Smith also successfully convicted former Rep. Rick Renzi over a land swap deal in a case that was rife with prosecutorial misconduct, including witness tampering and illegal wiretapping of Renzi’s attorneys.

Smith’s record with prosecutions of Democrats is much different, however. When Smith pursued charges against former Democratic Sen. John Edwards, it ended in a hung jury and mistrial. Smith’s attempt to prosecute Democrat Sen. Bob Menendez ended in a mistrial.

Smith’s conduct during the Trump investigations has been highly suspect. For starters, he’s been accused of trying to hide the identities of those involved in the investigation, which resulted in Judicial Watch suing the Biden Justice Department this month for refusing to disclose the names of Smith’s staff.

It’s quite clear that by selecting Smith, who has a track record of targeting Republicans and conducting flawed investigations, the Biden administration could ensure that the investigation into Trump would result in an indictment. Smith’s history of mistrials and overturned convictions would normally be a red flag preventing him from being selected to handle such a delicate matter. There’s no doubt that Merrick Garland knew Smith would be a reliable partisan who would stoop to any low to get exactly what Joe Biden wanted: an indictment of Trump.

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