by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Jack Smith is, almost surely, a fanatic.
By that, I don’t mean he’s a committed progressive ideologue. Partisan politics is almost beside the point. Rather, he is in all likelihood a Liz Cheney–style zealot driven by a burning hatred of Donald Trump and all he represents.
Now, zealotry is not always a bad thing, and, needless to say, there is much to hate in how Trump conducted himself after the 2020 election.
It’s understandable to feel that he is skating after having committed a grave offense against the American republic. Impeachment ultimately failed, and the political process hasn’t shown any sign of making him pay a price — he’s the strong front-runner for the GOP nomination and, if he’s the nominee, would have some serious chance of getting elected president again.
It’s a little as if Aaron Burr had maneuvered to steal the presidency out from under Thomas Jefferson in 1800, shot Alexander Hamilton, got acquitted in a subsequent treason trail, and, instead of having to leave for an ignominious exile in Europe, became the leading candidate for the Federalist presidential nomination in 1808.
So, it’s an understandable temptation to try to make up for what the second impeachment didn’t do and what ordinary politics hasn’t done, with a prosecution that puts the Justice Department on the record about the enormity of Trump’s post-2020 actions and either dents him in 2024 — with the expense, distraction, and political embarrassment of a major criminal trial — or, if all goes as planned, puts him in jail.
Everything points to Jack Smith feeling this way.
If there’s a case against a given target that seems open and shut and has already been indicted, why would a by-the-books prosecutor go out of his way to make an additional indictment in another case that may be legally defective, and at the very least very risky — unless he feels an extralegal motive?