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Gaetz accuses Jack Smith of election interference in DOJ complaint

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) filed a complaint with the Department of Justice inspector general on Wednesday, accusing special counsel Jack Smith of election interference by resisting attempts to delay his criminal prosecution of former President Trump.

Smith has pushed federal judges not to delay his case against Trump, which alleges that the former president attempted to overturn the 2020 election. Trump’s attorneys have invoked the Supreme Court over whether Trump can be prosecuted at all, possibly pushing back trial past the 2024 general election.

Gaetz claims Smith’s work is intended to influence the election, violating DOJ policy.

“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 said in a statement. “The actions of the Special Counsel Smith to speed up the trial against President Trump violate 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 continued.

Unwritten DOJ policy generally forbids prosecutors from actions that could be seen as influencing an election within 60 days of Election Day. Gaetz argued in the letter that the logic of the rule should be extended to now because “it is indisputable that we are already in an election season.”

Gaetz’s letter to DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz specifically claims Smith’s attempts to speed the case through courts is a “violation of law.”

“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. “It may be morally correct that the American people should see swift resolution of this case, perhaps with dropped charges or a Trump acquittal before the November 2024 Presidential election, but wielding Executive Branch authority in the service of this is a violation of law. Prosecutors must be held to a higher standard.”

Gaetz asked Horowitz to interview Smith about the rationale behind requesting a speedy trial, in an attempt to clarify his motive and ensure that it is not to impact the general election.

Last month, Trump’s attorneys said Smith was twisting “into logical knots” in arguing against delaying the trial, making a similar case to Gaetz’s letter.

“The Special Counsel’s latest filing raises a compelling inference of a political motive — the motivation to influence the 2024 Presidential election by bringing the leading Republican candidate to trial before November 5, 2024,” Trump’s lawyers wrote.

The letter adds to conservative criticism of Smith’s case, which Trump and his allies have labeled a political prosecution.

The Supreme Court is expected to hear arguments on whether Trump is immune from prosecution due to his work as the president in late April. Smith initially proposed a March trial date for the case.

Source: The Hill

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