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A top House Republican is grilling U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland about special counsel Jack Smith’s prosecutorial team following the unprecedented indictment of a former president last week.
Garland appointed Smith to look into former President Donald Trump’s possession of classified documents following an FBI raid in August to seize them. Trump was indicted on 37 counts a week ago amid allegations by the government that he mishandled some and was not entitled to others.
Now, Rep. Matt Gaetz, in a letter to Garland, is “demanding information on the office of special counsel” after it was revealed “that one of the prosecutors on his team investigating Trump for his alleged mishandling of classified documents previously contributed to President Biden’s 2020 campaign and faced misconduct allegations in 2009,” Fox News reported.
Specifically, Gaetz wants the names of Smith’s team.
The Florida Republican claimed in his letter that the special counsel’s past work “is both highly irregular and of extraordinary public concern,” specifically “how his office is structured.” He gave Garland until July 7 to produce “all staff rosters, phone lists, or similar records, within the custody or control of the Department of Justice, depicting all employees hired by or detailed to the office of Special Counsel Jack Smith.”
The lawmaker added that it’s “beyond debate” the information, such as identifying the members of Smith’s team, should be public. He also said “this simple staff list cannot be withheld from Congress or the public on the basis of attenuated and entirely fantastic privacy concerns.”
Fox News added:
Gaetz pointed out that one of Smith’s deputies who has been named, Karen Gilbert, resigned in 2009 from her position as head of the narcotics section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida after alleged misconduct, which prompted an apology at the time from the DOJ.
Federal Election Commission records also show that Gilbert has donated over $2,000 to the former campaigns of President Biden and former President Barack Obama.
In his letter, Gaetz threatened to take congressional action to defund Smith’s office.
“While there are innumerable valid legislative purposes for this request, it should be obvious that doing due diligence in vetting an office that has apparently done no vetting of its own personnel, or worse, might affirmatively be seeking to staff with sanctioned lawyers and partisan hatchet-men (and women), is an entirely appropriate purpose and one small reason I am requesting this information,” wrote the lawmaker.
“The 118th Congress has procedural tools in place to allow for targeted recission of funds from components or subcomponents of agencies that are not operating in the public interest,” he added.
Gaetz sent his letter the same day Trump appeared in a federal courtroom in Miami to be arraigned on a 37-count indictment from Smith over his alleged mishandling of classified documents.
On Monday, the previous day, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) announced she would be filing legislation to defund Smith’s office and shut down the probes into Trump.
“Today, I’d like to announce that I’m writing an appropriations rider to defund Jack Smith, special counsel, his office and the investigation,” Greene said Monday on the House Floor. “This is a weaponized government attempt to take down the top political enemy and leading presidential candidate of the United States, Donald J. Trump.”
Last week, Judicial Watch made an announcement regarding the filing of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Department of Justice (DOJ) with the objective of obtaining records that reveal the identities of the staffers involved in Trump’s case.
The DOJ previously refused to disclose the names, claiming it would “constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy,” Judicial Watch noted.