In an exclusive report, Fox News can reveal that Republican Senators Chuck Grassley and Ron Johnson are accusing Attorney General Merrick Garland of ignoring potential conflicts of interest posed by naming Jack Smith as special counsel to oversee the investigations into former President Trump.
The senators argue that the Justice Department has a double standard when deciding which cases qualify for the appointment of a special counsel.
Grassley and Johnson wrote in a letter to Garland sent Wednesday that Smith, a former Justice Department official, has “overtly political and professional connections” related to people involved in the case, and they say the special counsel statute is not being applied evenly and without regard for partisan affiliation.
Garland appointed Smith in November to oversee the investigation into “whether any person or entity unlawfully interfered with the transfer of power following the 2020 presidential election or the certification of the Electoral College vote” and the Justice Department’s investigation into Trump’s potential mishandling of classified information.
Over the summer, Grassley warned Garland that former FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Timothy Thibault and former DOJ Election Crimes Branch Director Richard Pilger were “deeply involved in the decisions to open and pursue election-related investigations against President Trump.”
Grassley and Johnson slammed Garland by saying that “instead of appointing a special counsel devoid of overtly political connections and professional connections to the very individuals that were involved in opening the criminal matters that apparently he is now overseeing, you chose a special counsel wrapped-up (sic) in both.”
The senators also point out that Smith has a prior relationship with Pilger. Smith was in charge of the DOJ’s Public Integrity Unit while Pilger was in charge of the Election Crimes Branch.
This means that Smith is now overseeing an investigation that was allegedly defective in its initial steps and an investigation which his former subordinate [Pilger] was involved in opening.
“The Justice Department’s track record with respect to informing Congress and the public that it has prevented potential or actual conflicts from infecting investigations leaves much to be desired,” they wrote.
Grassley and Johnson again pressed Garland on whether Nicholas McQuaid, the former principal deputy assistant attorney general, will be involved in the investigation.
McQuaid reportedly had a professional relationship with a key witness in the Hunter Biden criminal investigation, which the senators say raises serious conflicts of interest.
The senators concluded their letter by urging Garland to “reconsider” Smith’s appointment as special counsel.
“We are concerned that this appointment is a blatant attempt by the Biden Justice Department to protect Democrats and attack President Trump,” they wrote. “We urge you to reconsider this appointment and instead appoint an independent special counsel who can conduct these investigations without political bias or conflicts of interest.”
This latest development is a worrying sign that the Biden Justice Department is using its power to protect Democrats and attack President Trump. Fox News will continue to follow this story and bring you updates as they become available.