Special Prosecutor Jack Smith's previous work experience seems extremely appropriate to lead the investigations around former US President Donald Trump.
Donald Trump is not done being held accountable by the US justice system. On Friday, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced that he had appointed a special prosecutor to oversee both the Justice Department's criminal investigation into Trump's decision to take classified documents to Mar-a-Lago – which led to an FBI raid on the property in August – and key aspects of his investigation into the January 6 attack on Capitol Hill.
At a press conference, Garland said the special counsel is Jack Smith, who was a federal prosecutor for many years and recently worked at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Merrick Garland said he decided to appoint a special counsel after Donald Trump announced this week that he was running for the third time for president. He told reporters, "Based on recent developments, including the former president's announcement that he is a candidate in the upcoming presidential election, and the sitting president's stated intention to also be a candidate, I have concluded that it is in the public interest to appoint a special counsel." Both Garland and then Smith insisted that the appointment would not slow down the investigations into the former president. The final decision on whether to indict Donald Trump will rest with the attorney general.
Protecting allegations of political interference
Some believe that the appointment of Jack Smith will help protect the Justice Department from allegations of interference in partisan politics – a recurring argument of Donald Trump and his allies. The appointment could also protect investigators from potential interference from the now Republican-controlled House of Representatives.
Others believe that Attorney General Garland is shirking his responsibility to hold Trump accountable. Elie Mystal, The Nation's justice expert, tweeted about the judicial news: "His line about Trump now being a presidential candidate is complete bullshit. If Garland was worried about this, he should have appointed a special counsel in March 2020! There is not a single political reality today that he did not suspect was likely at that time," he added later.
Trump reacted to the news with his usual sobriety, telling conservative Fox News: "I've been through this for six years … and I'm not going to do it anymore. And I hope the Republicans have the courage to fight this. For six years, I've been proven innocent on every level – from false impeachments to [Robert] Mueller, who found no collusion, and now I have to do it again? It's not acceptable. It's so unfair." He added that he will "not participate" in the investigation, although it is unclear whether this means he will not cooperate or actively attempt to obstruct justice, which would not be a first on his part.