Special Counsel Jack Smith Hit with Official Election Interference Complaint

Special Counsel Jack Smith Hit with Official Election Interference Complaint

Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida has filed a complaint with the Inspector General’s Office of the Department of Justice alleging that special counsel Jack Smith’s effort to try former President Donald Trump amounts to election interference.

Gaetz is claiming that Smith’s efforts to push against any delays in Trump’s election interference trial are rooted in Smith’s desire to influence the presidential election.

“The witch hunt against President Trump by Attorney General Garland and Special Counsel Smith is a partisan exercise, and the American people know it!” Gaetz posted on X.

“Jack Smith’s attempt to speed up the trial against President Trump violates the DOJ’s rules and the law. His public comments and his office’s briefs before the Supreme Court demonstrate that he has no reason for his actions other than to unlawfully interfere in the 2024 presidential election,” he wrote.

In the letter, Gaetz notes that the Justice Department’s Justice Manual says, “Law enforcement officers and prosecutors may never select the timing of public statements (attributed or not), investigative steps, criminal charges, or any other action in any matter or case for the purpose of affecting any election, or for the purpose of giving an advantage or disadvantage to any candidate or political party. Such a purpose, or the appearance of such a purpose, is inconsistent with the Department’s mission and with the Principles of Federal Prosecution.”

Quoting Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s comment in a recent decision that America is in the “volatile season of a Presidential election,” Gaetz alleged that Smith’s push for a trial goes against Justice Department policy of avoiding actions that impact an election.

It is “the core of prohibited conduct that a purpose (not the purpose) of any official action of a prosecutor be to affect any election,” Gaetz wrote.

One brief from Smith “repeatedly urges ‘rapid’ review of the federal prosecution of Presidential Candidate Donald J. Trump, and the incredible ‘public importance’ of the case, without once explicitly stating why the rapidity is warranted, or what the public importance is,” Gaetz wrote.

“Were there a legitimate, non-election related purpose for this request, these attorneys, who have filed in appeals courts many times, would have listed such. Since charges have been filed and the defendant himself is taking a legal position on timing and lodging various appeals, that justification cannot, for example, be the rights of the defendant under the Constitution or Speedy Trial Act,” Gaetz wrote.

“So, there can be only one conclusion: Special Counsel Jack Smith sees it as of paramount importance to hold a trial before the November 2024 election, but he is unable to explicitly say so, as such a justification is in violation of Departmental policy and law,” Gaetz wrote.

Gaetz called for a review of “compliance of the Office of Special Counsel Jack Smith with Departmental regulations, particularly related to investigatory and prosecutorial actions during an election season.”

“The precise scope of an investigation may be as narrow as interviewing the Special Counsel, and determining that he has a lawful purpose in seeking the expediting of his case against Donald Trump, and determining that he did not have the purpose of keying a trial date to the election calendar. Or it may be wider,” Gaetz wrote.

In his letter, Gaetz cited a column by Jack Goldsmith on Lawfare in which Goldsmith noted that unlike the need for speed in the recent ruling on a Colorado ruling that would have kept Trump off the ballot, “There is no such rationale here.

“Normally the Court, if it grants at this stage, would set the case for oral argument in April and decide the case by late June. If the Court goes faster, the only conceivable rationales for doing so would be the political ones that have motivated Smith to rush to trial, canvassed above.”

“We should at least be aware of the possible adverse consequences of Smith’s rush to trial. They potentially go far beyond a mere violation of a Justice Department rule,” he wrote.

“If Trump is convicted and is seen to lose the election even in part because President Biden’s Justice Department violated norms in rushing Trump to trial (and in giving Trump inadequate time to prepare), then the trial, and the election outcome, could be deemed illegitimate and unfair by approximately half the country,” he wrote.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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