Most recently, Smith was the chief prosecutor for the special court in The Hague responsible for investigating and adjudicating war crimes in Kosovo. Prior to the Hague, he was the vice president of litigation at HCA Healthcare, one of the largest health providers in the United States.
In a statement following Garland's announcement, Smith said he intends to conduct the investigations and any prosecutions that may arise from them "independently and in the best traditions of the Department of Justice."
From 2008 to 2010, he worked at the Office of the Prosecutor with the International Criminal Court, where he conducted investigations of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.
In 2010, he returned to the DOJ to serve for five years as the chief of the Public Integrity Section in Washington overseeing prosecutions of public corrections cases across the United States, according to the department. During this time his unit secured bribery and extortion convictions of former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell and Arizona U.S. Representative Rick Renzi.
Smith in 2015 was appointed first assistant U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee before becoming the acting U.S. attorney in 2017.
"Throughout his career, Jack Smith has built a reputation as an impartial and determined prosecutor, who leads teams with energy and focus to follow the facts wherever they lead," Garland said.
Garland said that Smith will begin his work as special counsel immediately and return from The Hague to the United States.
As special counsel, Smith is charged with overseeing the ongoing investigation into Trump's handling of classified and presidential records at Mar-a-Lago, as well as the Washington-based probe into whether there was unlawful interference with the transfer of power after the 2020 election or the certification of the electoral college vote on Jan. 6, 2021.