In the 2024 Presidential election, investigators, and prosecutors whose names will never appear on the ballot could have a huge role in shaping the final results of that election. One is Jack Smith, the Biden administration’s choice to investigate and prosecute former President Trump. In announcing Smith’s appointment, U.S Attorney General Merrick Garland failed to mention Smith’s mixed history as a prosecutor in high profile cases.
Exhibit A is Jack Smith’s role as chief of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Public Integrity Unit when Bob McDonnell was indicted and convicted of alleged bribery. Prior to his conviction, McDonnell was a rising star in the Republican party having been elected as Attorney General and as Governor in Virginia; a politically purple battleground state. After his conviction, McDonnell’s future in politics was finished, despite a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn his conviction. In a recent interview, McDonnell said this about his experience with Jack Smith: “I think he’s just overzealous. I think he doesn’t do an honest look at the law… he’d rather win than get it right.”
Affirming McDonnell’s assessment was Smith’s experience when his office prosecuted U.S. Senator Robert Menendez for alleged bribery. That case ended in a mistrial when ten of the twelve jurors who heard the evidence presented, wanted to return a verdict of “not guilty.” Following the trial, Menendez said, “The way this case started was wrong, the way it was investigated was wrong, the way it was prosecuted was wrong.”
Smith struck out for a third time in the prosecution of John Edwards, a former U.S. Senator and former challenger to Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination for President in 2008. In this case, a jury returned a “not guilty” verdict on one charge and a judge declared a mistrial when the jury could not agree on five other charges. The Justice Department then dropped additional charges and never filed new ones.
Smith’s prosecutorial conduct so far on one Trump indictment is already raising doubts on his understanding of and commitment to one of the most basic principles of American criminal law — due process. Earlier this month, Smith’s team admitted in a court filing that they failed to turn over all evidence to Trump’s legal team as required by law. Worse yet, they claimed that they had done so when in fact they had not.
Smith is not the only prosecutor aggressively securing indictments against Trump. All this leads one to ask why and why now?
Could it be the Biden re-election campaign has seen recent polling reports compiled by RealClear Politics. Those reports show the potential for a very close election rematch between Biden and Trump in 2024. Could it be the Biden campaign has launched an aggressive campaign to generate negative media reports designed to denigrate Biden’s current most formidable potential opponent? Could it be part of a strategy to use announcements on Trump investigations and/or indictments (four and counting) to divert public attention away from yet to be fully answered questions on alleged misdeeds by Joe Biden, Hunter Biden, and other members of the Biden family? Those questions include, but are not limited to, ones on President Biden’s previous and/or ongoing involvement in Hunter Biden’s very lucrative business ventures with foreign governments and foreign businesses, some of whom are openly hostile to America.
One can ask — are Jack Smith and other prosecutors who are investigating and indicting Trump seekers of truth and justice; or are they political operatives focusing on derailing possible success of a targeted political candidate?
Going forward there is a critical need for a thorough investigation to determine the motives, agenda, and the real goals of Jack Smith and others as an investigator and as a prosecutor.
David Reel is a public affairs/public relations consultant who serves as a trusted advisor on strategy, advocacy, and media matters who resides in Easton.