House Republicans Want Jack Smith to Provide Trump Indictment Documents

Three House GOP lawmakers have requested Special Counsel Jack Smith turn over documents related to his criminal indictments of former President Donald Trump.
House Republicans Want Jack Smith to Provide Trump Indictment Documents
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) speaks during a press conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Oct. 19, 2023. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images)
Gary Bai

Three House Republican lawmakers on Dec. 1 asked special counsel Jack Smith to turn over documents related to his criminal indictments of former President Donald Trump, asserting that Mr. Smith has a political motivation in pursuing the indictments.

“The Committee is concerned your unprecedented investigation and fervent prosecution of President Trump is not about any true commitment to equal justice under the law, but an (increasingly contrived) attempt to use the criminal justice system to defame the former president before the 2024 Presidential election,” reads the Dec. 1 letter addressed to Mr. Smith and signed by Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), chair of the House Oversight Committee; Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (R-Fla.); and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), chair of the chamber’s Judiciary Committee.
The House Oversight Committee has jurisdiction to conduct investigative oversight over the Department of Justice (DOJ) and make laws to influence the agency’s actions.

The Republican lawmakers demanded that Mr. Smith hand over documents related to his authority as special counsel to offer immunity to witnesses and impanel a grand jury, as well as any communications that could speak to any oversight from the Department of Justice concerning Mr. Smith’s decision to indict the former president, who’s also the frontrunner for the GOP’s 2024 presidential nomination.

Mr. Smith is heading two federal criminal indictments targeting President Trump: one related to the former president’s handling of classified documents and alleged obstruction of justice and another related to the former president’s alleged attempt at overturning the 2020 election. President Trump has pleaded not guilty in both cases.

In asking for the documents, the lawmakers questioned Mr. Smith’s prosecutorial discretion in bringing general conspiracy charges against President Trump, suggesting that Mr. Smith has adopted an overly liberal interpretation of the law. They reasoned that the U.S. Supreme Court “has consistently overturned criminal convictions against public officials and private parties based on broad theories of prosecution brought under general criminal statutes.”

The request for information echoes claims of political weaponization that the Republicans have levied at the DOJ under the Biden administration, amid three investigations—of President Trump, President Joe Biden, and President Biden’s son, Hunter Biden—conducted by special counsels who are operating nominally independent from the DOJ.
Attorney General Merrick Garland, who heads the DOJ and appointed the three special counsels to avoid appearances of a conflict of interest for President Biden, has responded to GOP criticisms, saying the DOJ hasn’t interfered in these special counsel investigations.

Earlier this year, House Republican lawmakers have on at least two separate occasions—once in June and again in September—requested information related to Mr. Smith’s cases against President Trump. Mr. Smith’s office hasn’t responded publicly to the Republican lawmakers’ inquiries to date.

Should Mr. Smith fail to give “any meaningful response” to the inquiries, the lawmakers wrote in their letter that they “will consider the use of compulsory process,” apparently referring to the Oversight panel’s subpoena power.

Other House Republicans, acting on the claim that Mr. Smith is attempting to interfere with the 2024 presidential election by prosecuting Trump, have introduced a proposal to use the House’s power of the purse to restrict Mr. Smith’s funding or salary.

That bill, titled “Yanking Outlays for an Unethical, Ruthless Enterprise that Fraudulently Impedes Robust Electoral Debate”—short for the “YOU’RE FIRED” Act—is pending before the House Judiciary Committee.

Officials at the DOJ and the House Oversight Committee didn’t respond by press time to a request by The Epoch Times for comment.