For two ongoing criminal investigations by the Department of Justice of former president Donald Trump, as a special counsel, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland named former federal prosecutor Jack Smith. Just three days after the Republican, Trump announced plans to run for president in 2024, the appointment for Smith came in. Garland’s decision to appoint a special counsel was directly triggered by Trump’s announcement. The special counsel will recommend whether criminal charges should be lodged against the ex-president, but Marjorie Taylor Greene is pulling the Holman card on this one.
Biden, a Democrat who defeated Trump in his 2020 re-election bid, was the one who appointed the attorney general. Although the president has not yet made a final decision on becoming a candidate, it is possible that Biden will face Trump again in the 2024 election.
Smith will immediately begin working on his first investigation, which will be looking into whether any person, including Trump, unlawfully interfered with the transfer of presidential power following the 2020 election, or the certification of the Electoral College vote in President Joe Biden’s favor on January 6, 2021. On that day, a mob of Trump supporters disrupted the certification of the Electoral College vote, as they invaded the U.S. Capitol.
Smith will oversee another DOJ probe, which will be focused on whether Trump broke the law and obstructed justice in connection with his removal of hundreds of documents from the White House, which were shipped to his Mar-a-Lago club at his residence in Palm Beach, Florida.
Garland said that Mr. Smith is the right choice to complete these matters in an even-handed and urgent matter. The office of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia will continue prosecuting criminal cases and probes of individuals who were physically present at the Capitol during the January 6 riot, and Smith will not be responsible for those cases.
Most recently, Smith was serving as chief prosecutor for the special court in the Hague, in the Netherlands, where he investigated war crimes in Kosovo. Smith began his career as a prosecutor in the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, and also served with the International Criminal Court, supervising war crimes probes, as chief in the DOJ’s public integrity section, as a senior prosecutor at a U.S. Attorney’s office in Tennessee, a prosecutor in the Brooklyn, New York, U.S. Attorney’s office.
“The Department of Justice has long recognized that in certain extraordinary cases it is in the public interest to appoint a special prosecutor to independently manage an investigation and prosecution,” Garland said when he revealed the appointment during a public statement from the DOJ, said a report by CNBC.
Garland then continued, saying that 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, he has concluded that it is in the public interest to appoint a special counsel.
The attorney general was “confident” that the appointment “will not slow the completion of these investigations.” Garland then said: “I will ensure that the Special Counsel receives the resources to conduct this work quickly and completely.”
In a statement, a campaign spokesman for Trump said that “this is a totally expected political stunt by a feckless, politicized, weaponized Biden Department of Justice.”
Later, Trump also said that he has been going through this for six years. “For six years I have been going through this, and I am not going to go through it anymore,” said Trump. “And I hope the Republicans have the courage to fight this,” he added. “I have been proven innocent for six years on everything, from fake impeachments to Mueller who found no collusion, and now I have to do it more? It is not acceptable. It is so unfair. It is so political,” said Trump.
In his own statement, Smith said that he intends 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,” said Smith.
Marjorie Taylor Greene, who is a GOP Representative, says that, after Republicans seize control of the House, the newly announced special counsel investigations of former President Donald Trump will be “defunded.” Regarding the classified documents found in Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home and his activities surrounding the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, veteran federal prosecutor Jack Smith was appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland as special counsel to spearhead criminal investigations of Trump.
It is predicted by Greene that Kevin McCarthy, the House Minority Leader, will reinstate a little-known House rule after being voted in as speaker in January and that Republicans will then move to force the investigations to a grinding halt due to lack of funds, said Newsweek.
Here is what Greene tweeted: “Holman Rule. Look it up! @GOPLeader is going to put it in place. That means no money for Garland’s politically weaponized Special Counsel. Don’t promise too many jobs! Whoops defunded.”
The Holman Rule allows members of Congress to propose amendments to appropriations bills that target specific programs or individuals. It was introduced to the House in 1876, and it means that programs and specific workers can be stripped of pay or fired under the rule. It allows members of Congress to unethically target individuals and government agencies for political purposes, critics of the rule have said. Critics also say that it gives House appropriations too much power and could potentially paralyze the federal government.
In early 2017, when Republicans brought back the rule, it was warned by the National Federation of Federal Employees that it was “nothing more than an expressway for the politically corrupt to commandeer the capability of the executive branch.” Before the Holman Rule was reinstated in 2017, it had not been in place since 1983., and after Democrats took control of the House in 2019, it was reinstated again. Potentially, the Republicans could reinstate the rule in January. But it is still not clear if the new leadership would be able to easily reenact the rule since the Republican House majority is likely to be razor-thin and will include some members with political philosophies diverging from Greene’s.
While three Republicans did not vote, three others voted against the rules package that contained the provision before it was reinstated in 2017. A block to the change in the next Congress could potentially happen with a similar outcome, combined with unified Democratic opposition. But stopping the investigation could still be difficult, even if the Holman Rule does come back, as both the Democrat-controlled Senate and the House would have to vote to approve any amendments proposed under the rule.
In 2017 and 2018, Republican lawmakers attempted to use the rule multiple times, with none of their amendments ultimately passing. Still, President Joe Biden would need to sign the attached legislation even if Republicans manage to reinstate the rule and pass a related amendment in the next Congress.
Any Republican attempt to defund the investigation using the rule “would fail,” suspects political science professor at George Washington University’s Columbian College of Arts and Science, Sarah Binder. Binder said that it is not clear to her that Republicans would get 218 votes to pass the bill in the first place. “Even if the House succeeded, I doubt a Democratic-led Senate would agree to a spending bill that defunds Department of Justice personnel conducting lawful investigations,” she said. Binder also doubted whether “Senate GOP leaders would necessarily back their House colleagues’ efforts.” “Although Trump’s vocal House supporters might think this is a powerful threat, I’d be skeptical their efforts would bear fruit,” she concluded.