Stand up for the facts!
Our only agenda is to publish the truth so you can be an informed participant in democracy.
We need your help.
I would like to contribute
If Your Time is short
- U.S. Attorney Merrick Garland appointed Jack Smith as special counsel in November to investigate two cases involving Donald Trump.
- Trump was indicted in June in the classified documents case and remains under investigation in a separate case about the 2020 election.
- As public corruption chief for the Justice Department, Smith’s office prosecuted both Republicans and Democrats who had served in Congress.
Allies of former President Donald Trump have rallied around him ahead of a potential second federal indictment, portraying special counsel Jack Smith as having a partisan ax to grind.
U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., was among Trump’s defenders trying to discredit Smith, who has been investigating Trump’s efforts to overturn legitimate 2020 election results and separately prosecuted Trump in the classified documents case, in which a grand jury indicted him in June.
"Jack Smith is a lousy attorney," Greene tweeted July 18. "His career is filled with mistrials, overturned cases, and judicial rebukes. He only targets Republicans because he’s a weak little b---- for the Democrats."
Like any public corruption prosecutor, Smith has had some wins and losses; whether he is "lousy" is an opinion. But Greene’s statement that Smith "only targets Republicans" is wrong.
The phrase she tweeted, "mistrials, overturned cases, and judicial rebukes," is essentially the same phrase used in the headline of The Washington Times, a conservative newspaper. And that article said: "Mr. Smith’s team followed the same playbook in the Trump case as in other high-stakes political prosecutions of both Republicans and Democrats."
By saying Smith "only targets Republicans," Greene also ignores how a special counsel operates.
U.S. Attorney Merrick Garland appointed Smith in November to lead two investigations involving Trump. Garland did so because of Trump’s announcement that he was running for president and President Joe Biden’s expected re-election campaign. That means Smith didn’t choose to "target" Trump; Smith was hired to investigate Trump’s actions.
When Smith was appointed, he was prosecuting war crimes in Kosovo, far from any U.S. political melodrama.
Smith has a decadeslong career as a prosecutor, starting in New York in the 1990s. From 2010 to 2015, he was chief of the Justice Department’s public integrity section, where his office went after politicians of both parties.
In Smith’s earlier Justice Department role, he had the power to triage investigations and decide which cases prosecutors would pursue.
The Justice Department prosecuted two prominent Democrats during Smith’s tenure: former Sens. John Edwards of North Carolina and Bob Menendez of New Jersey.
In 2011, a federal grand jury indicted Edwards in a scheme to violate federal campaign finance laws. Prosecutors said that Edwards, during his 2008 presidential campaign, conspired with other people to receive campaign contributions that exceeded federal limits to avoid disclosure of an extramarital affair and a resulting pregnancy. Smith was among the prosecutors who signed the indictment. Smith tried to negotiate a plea deal with Edwards’ attorney before he was indicted, reported The News & Observer, a Raleigh, North Carolina, newspaper.
In 2012, a jury found Edwards not guilty on one count related to accepting illegal contributions and deadlocked on the other five charges, resulting in a mistrial. The Justice Department declined to retry the case.
In April 2015, Menendez was indicted along with Salomon Melgen, a Florida ophthalmologist, for allegedly accepting gifts from Melgen in exchange for using his Senate office’s power to benefit Melgen’s financial and personal interests. An 11-week trial in 2017 ended in a hung jury, and the Justice Department declined to retry the case.
Smith’s name was not on the Menendez indictment — about two months earlier he was appointed first assistant U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee. However, the Menendez case would have been investigated during Smith’s tenure as public corruption chief.
During Smith’s tenure, the Justice Department also prosecuted former Gov. Bob McDonnell, R-Va., (although the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the conviction) and Republican Rep. Rick Renzi, R-Ariz. (whom Trump pardoned).
We found one public corruption case against a Democrat during Smith’s Tennessee tenure.
Cason "Casey" Moreland was a Nashville General Sessions judge charged in a sex-for-favors case. The charges, attempting to obstruct justice through bribery and witness tampering, were announced in March 2017 by Smith, who was then the acting U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee.
When Smith announced the charges, he called the allegations "egregious abuses of power" and said it "undermines the credibility of and destroys the public’s trust in the court system and strikes at the very essence of our judicial branch of government." (At that point Smith was the acting U.S. attorney for the jurisdiction.)
Moreland pleaded guilty in 2018 and was sentenced to 44 months in prison.
After Smith left his position in Tennessee in August 2017, he worked at Hospital Corporation of America and then as a specialist prosecutor for the Kosovo Specialist Chambers, which has a seat in The Hague. The office has jurisdiction over crimes against humanity, war crimes and other crimes under Kosovo law.
When we sent our findings to Nick Dyer, a Greene spokesperson, he said they showed that "in recent history he only targets Republicans."
Greene said Smith "only targets Republicans."
That’s wrong. During his tenure as public corruption chief for the Justice Department, two Democratic senators were charged, Edwards and Menendez. When Smith left that job, he went to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Nashville where his office prosecuted a judge who was an elected Democrat.
We rate this statement False.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Tweet, July 18, 2023
Washington Times, No white knight’: Jack Smith’s record rife with mistrials, overturned convictions, judicial rebukes, July 4, 2023
The Tennessean, Jack Smith to resign from federal prosecutor's office, Aug. 7, 2017
The Tennessean, Nashville Judge Casey Moreland resigns amid federal corruption charges, March 31, 2017
Washington Times, 'No white knight': Jack Smith's record rife with mistrials, overturned convictions, judicial rebuke, July 5, 2023
Raleigh News and Observer, Plea falters over prison deal, June 5, 2011
U.S. Justice Department, Former Virginia governor and former first lady convicted on public corruption charges, Sept. 4, 2014
U.S. Supreme Court, United States v. McDonnell, June 27, 2016
Politico, Supreme Court overturns Bob McDonnell’s corruption convictions, 2018
The New York Times, At Justice Department, a Watchdog on Graft Finds Its Teeth Again, April 1, 2014
The New York Times, Who is Jack Smith, the special counsel who indicted Trump? June 8, 2023
U.S. Justice Department, Former senator and presidential candidate John Edwards charged for alleged role in scheme to violate federal campaign finance laws, June 3, 2011
U.S. Attorneys Office Middle District of Tennessee, Jack Smith, April 14, 2015
Kosovo Special Chambers, Press release about Jack Smith, May 7, 2018
Reuters, Who is Special Counsel Jack Smith in the Trump documents case? June 9, 2023
CNN, Justice Dept. won’t retry Sen. Bob Menendez, Jan. 31, 2018
U.S. Department of Justice, Former Congressman Richard G. Renzi convicted of extortion and bribery in illegal federal land swap, June 11, 2013
U.S. Department of Justice, Former Congressman Richard G. Renzi sentenced for extortion and bribery in illegal federal land swap, Oct. 18, 2013
PolitiFact, Maddow claims Palin got zero support for her idea, only it wasn't hers, and others supported it, April 10, 2009
PolitiFact, Read Donald Trump’s indictment in the Mar-a-Lago classified documents investigation, June 9, 2023
U.S. Attorney Middle District of Tennessee, Nashville General Sessions Judge Charged With Attempting To Obstruct Justice Through Bribery And Witness Tampering, March 28, 2017
U.S. Attorney Middle District of Tennessee, Former Nashville General Sessions Judge Sentenced to Federal Prison for Obstruction and Theft Charges, Nov. 30, 2018
Telephone interview, Kendall Coffey, former U.S. Attorney in Miami and lawyer at Coffey Burlington, June 9, 2023
Email interview, Steve Friedland, senior scholar and director of the Center for Engaged Learning in Law at Elon University School of Law, June 9, 2023
Telephone interview, Howard S. Master, former federal prosecutor and partner, managing director & counsel to the CEO at Nardello & Co, July 20, 2023
Email interview, Andrew D. Goldstein, former federal prosecutor and partner at Cooley law firm, July 20, 2023
Email interview, Nick Dyer, U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, July 20, 2023
Read About Our Process
In a world of wild talk and fake news, help us stand up for the facts.