Jack Smith isn’t a stupid man. A number of definitions apply to Smith, but stupid isn’t one of them. A zealot? A vainglorious, demagogic political hack who is doing the bidding of another political hack? Yes, to both. But Jack Smith isn’t dumb.
Smith was the head of the public corruption unit at DOJ when, in 2014, he brought public corruption charges against sitting Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell. McDonnell was charged with 14 counts. Those counts included honest services wire fraud, obtaining property under “color of official right,” and extortion under “color of official right.” Like most DOJ attorneys with the power of the US government at their fingertips, charging McDonnell and his wife wasn’t enough. Smith’s team threatened to arrest McDonnell’s children if the governor and his wife discussed the case with them. After a three-week trial, he and his wife were convicted. The Court of Appeals affirmed both convictions, but in 2015, the Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision, vacated Smith’s convictions, finding that Smith and his strongarming gang had invented a new meaning for “official act.” Smith had interpreted the statutory term of “official act” too broadly. So it seems that Smith has a history of channeling Lavrentiy Beria. Beria was Stalin’s secret police chief and was infamous for targeting someone and then finding a crime to fit the arrest. “Find me the man, and I will show you the crime” – or some iteration of the same.
Eight years later, while the DOJ was targeting Trump, Garland tapped Smith as Special Counsel. Smith got to work right away. No time to waste. Smith had his target. That target was Trump. Now he needed to find the crime to fit. Smith’s appointment was, of course, purposeful. Merrick Garland appointed Smith knowing that Smith would have the imprimatur of impartiality via the special counsel statute but while Smith is many things, impartial isn’t one of them. Jack Smith is a lifelong and faithful Democrat. One needn’t be a body-language expert to see that Smith hates Trump with the heat of a thousand suns. Smith had his target. He needed to find the crime. And he did.
The new indictment of Trump is fraught with McDonnell-type invention and bad-faith interpretation of the statutes. Smith’s charging document is really an out-of-office impeachment dressed as a criminal indictment. The indictment has been previously discussed at RedState, but what jumps out to me is that Smith is pushing for an early trial date not to provide a quick resolution and to “do justice”; rather, Smith wants a partisan DC jury to quickly convict Trump, thus setting up Smith’s next level of political gamesmanship. Smith wants Trump’s conviction to be heard and decided by the Supreme Court, knowing full well that a Trump conviction has no chance of affirmation at SCOTUS. Smith is counting on it. Smith wants the Supreme Court to vacate his almost certain conviction in order to enflame the Democratic base. He wants to hand Joe Biden another “the Supreme Court is illegitimate” gift.
Smith knows that he and his team of attorney goons have a bad-faith interpretation of the federal criminal statutes. In May of this year, the Supreme Court clearly signaled that the recent attempts to overcharge and misread a 150-year-old statute weren’t going to find a willing ear with a majority of SCOTUS.
In May, the court unanimously found that the DOJ was expanding the definition of criminal “fraud” beyond the bounds intended and written by Congress. In Ciminelli v. United States, penned by Justice Thomas, and Percoco v. United States, written by Justice Alito, the court reversed both convictions 9-0, in essence telling the DOJ that it cannot invent new definitions for criminal statutes not clearly intended by Congress. In fact, in concurrences by Gorsuch and Thomas, the Justices opined that not only were jury instructions open-ended, the fraud statutes were hopelessly vague and invalid.
Although Ciminelli and Percoco have very different facts, Smith, like the Ciminelli and Percoco prosecutors, relied on statutes that do not fit. Smith knows the Ciminelli and Percoco were warnings – but Smith doesn’t care. He has marching orders.
Smith wants this trial to be front-page news and led on cable news before the 2024 election. Smith expects Trump to be convicted because this is a DC. Trump could be charged with lying about his golf score based on “fraud,” and a DC jury would gladly convict. Smith isn’t dumb. He expects his conviction to be vacated. In fact, he’s counting on it.
Beria would easily recognize the tactics of Jack Smith. Smith has his man, and he’s invented crimes to fit.