Saturday, November 19, 2022

Special Counsel Jack Smith's Kosovo War Crimes Prosecution Experience Makes Him The Perfect Choice To Take On Trump


"So unfair! I will not partake of this new witch hunt!"
                                          "I'm comin' for you, bombastic boy!"

It's no coincidence that within 3 days of Trump announcing his new attempt to escape indictment (by running for the White House again), AG Merrick Garland appointed a special counsel (Jack Smith)  to investigate the traitor. The job of Smith then will be to determine whether Trump should face criminal charges stemming from investigations into his mishandling of national security documents at Mar-a-Lago, e.g

A Fearless (For Now) AG Garland Calls Trump's Bluff Over Unsealing Warrant: And MAGA Land Erupts 

 And his role in the January 6 attack on the US Capitol.  

 "Facts are Facts": 8th Select Committee Hearing Proves Trump Needs To Be Indicted, Prosecuted

In truth, each of these, in fact both of these - ought to slam dunks.

 Some pundits and legal gurus (like Neal Katyal) have argued that basically Garland appointed a special counsel unnecessarily.   This is because he didn't want to be the one to do the dirty work of indictment himself, but this is naive and misses the point.   

Anyone who's played chess at any level grasps that the best, most effective checkmates are accomplished using a lesser piece, like bishop or knight - in tandem with similar lesser pieces. It seldom works to trot out the queen early to try to take out the enemy king.  Garland is basically adopting an analogous indirect strategy on the political stage - using the special counsel office as a lower profile modus operandi to take down Trump.  This relieves him of having to make the direct, frontal attack for prosecution which would have the Right going even more ballistic than they are.

In Garland's words in a press conference on Friday.:

Based on recent developments, including the former president’s announcement that he is a candidate for president in the next election, and the sitting president’s stated intention to be a candidate as well, I have concluded that it is in the public interest to appoint a special counsel,


“I strongly believe that the normal processes of this department can handle all investigations with integrity. And I also believe that appointing a special counsel at this time is the right thing to do. The extraordinary circumstances presented here demand it.

I will ensure that the special counsel receives the resources to conduct this work quickly and completely. Given the work done to date and Mr Smith’s prosecutorial experience, I am confident that this appointment will not slow the completion of these investigations.”

Note that Trump brought this on himself by telegraphing his intent to avoid indictment by running in '24. Garland knew that so appointed Jack Smith as an indirect judicial force to take him down and reduce the incentive for anyone to call out "political attack".  The reason, as former Alabama attorney Joyce Vance pointed out yesterday, is that the special counsel office is strictly legal, while the AG and deputy AG offices are political appointments.  

Of course, the Rightists and Trump will still scream "Political attack!", but that's what we expect. A knee-jerk reaction based on pure lower brain chemistry, emanating from the amygdala.  The biggest howler, indeed, has been Trump bawling "I will not partake of this!", as if the orange twit has a choice.  After a crook is arrested for car theft or bank robbery it's certainly dubious to hear- when dragged before a court of law: "I will not partake of this!

The other master stroke aspect of Garland's appointment is that Jack Smith's probe is certain to distract from the upcoming circus of the GOP House next year.  We know these inveterate Repuke ass clowns plan endless bogus side shows. They have already (yesterday)  pledged to investigate the Justice Department and the FBI’s handling of all politically sensitive cases, from Jan. 6 to Mar-a-Lago to the investigation of the finances of President Biden’s son Hunter. One numb nut even mentioned Anthony Fauci,  muttering "It's good he's retired now 'cause we're gonna be calling on him."  See e.g.

As Republicans take the House, the crazies take the wheel

Well. give it your best shot, fools, but I warrant Jack Smith will put your lot in the shade along with the 3-ring bogus investigation circus.

 Smith, a graduate of Harvard law school, is no lightweight and is optimally placed to take down a loser and criminal like Donald Trump. From 2010 to 2015 he served as the chief of the public integrity section at the justice department, which handles government corruption investigations.  This is a role not dissimilar to his new position as special counsel.

Since 2018, he has been a special prosecutor to The Hague investigating war crimes in Kosovo, having joined the international criminal court from the US attorney’s office for the eastern district of New York in Brooklyn, where he helped prosecute a police brutality case that drew national attention.  Most interesting, Smith has also investigated Trump before, in the 1970s.  This was over potential fraud charges during his tenure as a prosecutor in New York.

In a statement released by the justice department, Smith said: 

I intend to conduct the assigned investigations, and any prosecutions that may result from them, independently and in the best traditions of the Department of Justice. The pace of the investigations will not pause or flag under my watch. I will exercise independent judgment and will move the investigations forward expeditiously and thoroughly to whatever outcome the facts and the law dictate.”

 Many other political candidates have been investigated while running for office without the appointment of a special counsel — including Hillary Clinton, Trump’s Democratic opponent in 2016-  but these all lack the necessary name cachet and high profile to make a dent in the optics, or achieve the goals for which they were appointed. 

Mueller didn't reach his basic goal of indicting Trump because of a daft DOJ policy position that former presidents can't be indicted.  That codswallop will now be tested to the limit by both Smith and Garland - knowing the sane segment of Americans demand no more 'get out of jail free' cards like Bill Barr gave Trump in 2019.

 See Also:

The new Trump probe special counsel should move quickly


by Jaime O’Neill | November 18, 2022 - 8:06am | permalink


by Amanda Marcotte | November 18, 2022 - 8:26am | permalink

— from Salon


If one indisputable truth has emerged from the midterm elections, it's that Donald Trump is the political equivalent of herpes. Sure, the MAGA base loves him, but mainly as a blight they can inflict upon liberals, since infecting all Democrats with literal herpes is a logistical impossibility. Everyone else despises Trump, so much so that Republican candidates, by aligning themselves too closely with Trump, surrendered a significant chunk of voters and lost a bunch of otherwise winnable elections.


Darrin Rychlak said...

I don't agree that it's a naïve take on Garland to conclude he's sidestepping the issue. He's an institutionalist. We saw trump do nothing to stop the coup of Jan 6. His people admitted to the Green Bay Sweep: strong-arm electors in the states to find 11,780 votes, etc., the fake slate of electors scam, culminating in a terrorist attack on the Capitol to deny Biden the vote certification. trump admitted to committing espionage. We don't need a grand chess technique to convict this sonofabitch. The damning facts are already there.
What gets me is the terrorism aspect. The use of force or threats thereof to achieve a political end. That threat exists today. But it's business as usual in the US.
Nothing will happen to trump. Nothing. The 750 billionaires who own the US prefer the trappings of Fascism: cowed labor, cowed political opposition, and a government/president that can act without conscience or reprisal for acts like the Iraqi invasion or Vietnam. Profits depend on a government useful to these elites. A government operating 'By and For the People' is not a part of that calculus.
I hope you're feeling ok. I worry about your health and I wish you the best.

Copernicus said...

Good points, Darrin. But somewhat depressing. I do hope that Smith is ultimately successful, however, moreso than Mueller!

Right now feeling ok but wifey has a terrible case of adult RSV and just hope I have enough immune system resistance to fend it off. Thanks for your comment!