Investigations into former President Donald Trump over the Jan. 6 incident at the Capitol and the discovery of “classified documents” at his Mar-a-Lago estate have yielded nothing except further inquiry.
The previous president has maintained that he declassified the papers personally before leaving office, and Trump himself has asserted that the FBI “Failed to find anything on me regarding the Jan 6 Hoax, or the Document Hoax!”
With the appointment of a new special prosecutor by Attorney General Merrick Garland, the investigations are attempting to proceed.
Friday, Attorney General Garland appointed Jack Smith, a war crimes prosecutor in The Hague and former head of the Department of Justice’s public integrity unit, to oversee two investigations of Trump. However, the appointment is just as controversial as the probes.
The special counsel appointed by the Biden administration to investigate Donald Trump headed a Justice Department division criticized by the Supreme Court for its prosecution of a prominent Republican and was tied by Congress to an IRS controversy involving the targeting of conservative groups. Smith has links to a past IRS incident as well as other questionable situations.
In 2014, the House Oversight Committee concluded that during Smith’s previous tenure at DOJ, he arranged a crucial meeting between his department and IRS official Lois Lerner. This meeting set in motion the targeting of conservative nonprofits, which became one of the Obama administration’s signature scandals.
In 2014, the Oversight Committee obtained testimony from a DOJ official named Richard Pilger indicating that Smith arranged a meeting with Lerner to discuss more aggressive enforcement of regulations prohibiting tax-exempt organizations from engaging in politics in the wake of the landmark Citizens United free speech decision.
“According to Mr. Pilger, the Justice Department convened a meeting with former IRS official Lois Lerner in October 2010 to discuss how the IRS could assist in the criminal enforcement of campaign-finance laws against politically active nonprofits,” the committee wrote in a 2014 letter to DOJ. “This meeting was arranged at the direction of Public Integrity Section Chief Jack Smith.”
The letter concluded: “It is apparent that the Department’s leadership, including Public Integrity Section Chief Jack Smith, was closely involved in engaging with the IRS in wake of Citizens United and political pressure from prominent Democrats to address perceived problems with the decision.”
The letter requesting a transcribed interview with Smith was signed by then-Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), who will become House Judiciary Committee chairman in January when the GOP gains control of the House.
The Inspector General of the Treasury Department eventually determined that the IRS’s subsequent pursuit of conservative charities was improper.
“The IRS used inappropriate criteria that identified for review Tea Party and other organizations applying for tax-exempt status based upon their names or policy positions instead of indications of potential political campaign intervention,” the report concluded.
During Smith’s tenure at DOJ, other scandals arose. After discoveries of prosecutorial misconduct in a corruption case against Republican Senator Ted Stevens, he took over the Public Integrity Section and chose to abandon many other outstanding corruption charges.
However, his department pursued the prosecution of then-Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, obtaining a jury conviction on 11 felony counts charging that the Republican governor’s family took gifts in exchange for official public acts.
More on this story via The Republic Brief:
But the Supreme Court reversed the conviction in a stunning loss for DOJ, concluding that the definition of public acts used by Smith’s team was unconstitutional and exceeded the definition in the bribery statutes. CONTINUE READING…