The wife of Jack Smith, the special counsel appointed by the DOJ to go after President Trump was not only a donor to Joe Biden, but also a producer of the Michelle Obama documentary pic.twitter.com/EBsJpoRZWq— Greg Price (@greg_price11) November 21, 2022
In 2010, the famed public integrity division of the Justice Department was still recuperating from an expensive scandal involving the withholding of defense witnesses in a case against Alaska Senator Ted Stevens.
In an extraordinary move, then-Attorney General Eric Holder had asked a judge to overturn all charges against the Republican legislator as a result of the crisis.
The Justice Department sought for a war crimes prosecutor in The Hague to take over as the unit’s new commander. This man got his start in New York pursuing state and federal offenses, including the horrific assault of a Haitian immigrant by police.
In an interview with The Associated Press that year, Jack Smith said that after reading about the Stevens case, he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to take over and handle the section.
The opportunity like this doesn’t come around very frequently, but I had a fantastic career and had no desire to leave it, Smith said. I quit my dream job in favor of a better one.
Now that he has a new job, Smith finds himself in the heart of two of the biggest Justice Department investigations in recent memory, even if it may not be his ideal position. Smith, who was recently appointed as a special counsel, will be in charge of overseeing investigations into the storage of classified documents at former President Donald Trump’s Florida mansion, Mar-a-Lago, as well as specifics of a probe into efforts to rig the 2020 election in favor of Democrat Joe Biden.
Due to the fact that the investigations involve a former president and current candidate for the White House, they have clear political ramifications. In fact, Attorney General Merrick Garland cited Trump’s entry into the race this week, along with Biden’s declared intention to run again, as reasons he acted now in appointing Smith on Friday.
Given the Justice Department’s historical interest in avoiding action that may be viewed as influencing the result of a race, Smith will likely need to move quickly to guarantee his task is completed before the final stretch of the 2024 presidential election.
Smith is regarded by former coworkers as a hard-charging, tenacious, and enthusiastic prosecutor who pursues cases without regard to political affiliation. Outside of the court, where he is a skilled athlete who has competed in triathlons all over the world, he exhibits a similar flair.
Lanny Breuer, who oversaw the Justice Department’s criminal division, which includes the public integrity section, at the time Smith was hired for the position, described Smith as “an exquisite lawyer and an exquisite prosecutor.”