The more you learn about Jack Smith, the new special counsel appointed by AG Merrick Garland, the more you realize the significance of his appointment. Shortly after Smith’s appointment, USA Today gave an overview of Smith and his history as a prosecutor. According to that piece, Smith began his career as a prosecutor in 1994 as an ADA in New York. He changed gears in 2018 when he became the chief prosecutor for a court in The Hague where he prosecuted war crimes in Kosovo. He continued to do that work until he was tapped for the special counsel role.
Comparisons between Smith and this investigation to the Russia investigation headed up by Robert Mueller are not accurate. Mueller had to undertake complex investigations before he could even think about prosecutions. Smith is walking into a situation where the investigations have been ongoing-and may well be complete-and he will be prosecuting cases resulting from those investigations. Trump is also now a private citizen-his announcement to run again notwithstanding. That means that he will be treated like any other private citizen accused of breaking the law.
Trump, of course, continues to complain that the investigation is “politically motivated” and is “so unfair.” He is such a child, but he has met his match in Jack Smith. Smith has prosecuted everyone from foreign government officials to gang members. He is not afraid of Donald Trump, nor should he be. According to USA Today, Smith has also lead teams of prosecutors who handled public corruption and election crimes across the U.S. He is no stranger to high-profile defendants, and what seems to matter most to him is bringing criminals down. Trump has probably never seen the likes of Smith, and he should be afraid instead of running his mouth. USA Today quoted David Schwendiman, Smith’s predecessor in the Kosovo war crimes: “He’s brilliant. He’s tough. He’s independent. He’s nonpartisan. Based on all I know about him, he’s a man of integrity.” Garland is no fool. He has heard Trump’s claims, and the appointment of Smith puts those nonsensical claims where they belong.
Smith will not only prosecute Trump’s theft of classified documents, but as Garland said during his announcement, Smith will “oversee the investigation into whether any person or entity interfered with the transfer of power after the 2020 election.” Of course, no one needs to name Trump in this investigation. Had it not been for him, the January 6 insurrection would never have occurred, and we would have witnessed a transfer of power that is typical for the U.S. instead of the chaos that ensued courtesy of Donald Trump.
Smith is believed to be far more aggressive than Robert Mueller according to Axios, and he will take his job very seriously. Andrew Weissman, one of Mueller’s prosecutors, said: “I was described by Steve Bannon as a pit bull. Jack Smith makes me look like a golden retriever puppy.” It sounds like Trump and his team had better take this appointment very seriously and should be planning their defense. Beyond that, cliché aside, Trump should be afraid, very afraid.
Shirley is a former entertainment writer and has worked in the legal field for over 25 years