Jack Smith, the special counsel announced by Attorney General Merrick Garland to oversee the criminal investigations into the retention of classified documents at former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort and parts of the January 6, 2021, insurrection, is a long-time prosecutor who has overseen a variety of high-profile cases during a career that spans decades.
Smith’s experience ranges from prosecuting a sitting US senator to bringing cases against gang members who were ultimately convicted of murdering New York City police officers. In recent years, Smith has prosecuted war crimes at The Hague. His career in multiple parts of the Justice Department, as well as in international courts, has allowed him to keep a relatively low-profile in the oftentimes brassy legal industry. His experience and resume will allow him, at least at first, to fly underneath the type of political blowback that quickly met former special counsel Robert Mueller’s team. It also shows he is adept at managing complex criminal cases related to both public corruption and national security – and that he has practice making challenging decisions with political implications.
Smith also testified that he was not aware of anyone at the Justice Department placing pressure on the IRS – and that he was never pressured to investigate any political groups.
“No. And maybe I can stop you guys. I know there’s a series of these questions. I’ve never been asked these things, and anybody who knows me would never even consider asking me to do such a thing,” Smith said.