Attorney General Merrick Garland and other top Justice Department officials looked at a number of possible special counsel candidates before deciding on longtime prosecutor Jack Smith, sources familiar with the matter tell CNN.
The officials spent weeks weighing this appointment, trying to find someone they believed could survive partisan scrutiny, the sources said. They also considered former DOJ officials and people who had served as judges.
Trump already has lashed out over the special counsel’s appointment, saying in an interview on Fox News Digital that he wouldn’t “partake in it.”
“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?” Trump told the outlet. “It is not acceptable. It is so unfair. It is so political.”
The former president called the decision to name a special counsel “the worst politicization of justice” and said that “the Republican Party has to stand up and fight.”
Who is Jack Smith? Smith is a veteran attorney who began a decades-long prosecutorial career in New York in the mid-1990s.
He is a former acting US attorney in Tennessee and once led the DOJ’s Public Integrity Section, which handles election crimes and public corruption investigations.
Most recently, Smith served as a chief prosecutor for the special court in The Hague, where he investigated and adjudicated war crimes in Kosovo.