Gaetz: Smith Expediting Trump Trial To ‘Unlawfully Interfere’ In Election

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) has demanded that the Department of Justice (DOJ) launch an investigation into special counsel Jack Smith over his rush to try former president and current Republican nominee Donald Trump.

In a statement, Gaetz called on DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz to investigate why Smith has gone to such great lengths to put Trump on trial. The Florida congressman argued that the clear political nature of the prosecution and the efforts to hold the trial before the November election are evidence that Smith and his allies in the Biden administration are trying to “unlawfully interfere” in the presidential election.

“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 wrote. “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.”

In a December filing to the Supreme Court, Smith begged the justices to expedite their review of Trump’s presidential immunity argument because of the supposed “public importance” of the case. The court declined. It is unclear why it is so important to put Trump on trial before Election Day, especially as Smith initially wanted to begin the trial just before the Super Tuesday primaries, but many commentators argue that the rush to file was a clear effort to aid President Joe Biden in his campaign against Trump.

Smith claimed in the filing that the question of presidential immunity must “be resolved as expeditiously as possible — and, if respondent is not immune, [he must] receive a fair and speedy trial on these charges. The public, respondent, and the government are entitled to nothing less.”

The Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial is a right of the defendant, not the prosecutor or the public — although Democrats and the Biden administration have never seemed to care about a speedy trial in other cases, evidenced by their decision to allow many Jan. 6 defendants to rot in jail for years before their trials.

Meanwhile, Trump’s team has fired back at Smith for his efforts to rush the trial, noting that the issue must be “resolved in a cautious, deliberative manner — not at breakneck speed.”

Gaetz noted in his statement that Smith appears hellbent on rushing the case through the courts so that he can interfere in the November presidential election, explaining that this is a violation of section 9-85.500 of the DOJ’s manual — which requires Smith and other prosecutors “never select the timing of … criminal charges … for the purpose of affecting any election, or for the purpose of giving an advantage or disadvantage to any candidate or political party.”

The Florida congressman also pointed to Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s concurrence in Monday’s unanimous ruling against Colorado’s attempt to kick Trump off the ballot, where the justice noted that the U.S. is already in a “volatile season of a Presidential election.”

“It is indisputable that we are already in an election season. However, the Justice Manual does not set hard dates,” Gaetz added. “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: 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.”

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