Donald Trump Asks Judge Cannon To Dismiss Jack Smith’s Mar-a-Lago Case as ‘Selective and Vindictive’

The 45th president suggests that the special counsel has gone easy on Mike Pence in exchange for January 6 testimony.

Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Special Counsel Jack Smith delivers remarks on a recently unsealed indictment including four felony counts against President Trump on August 1, 2023 at Washington, DC. Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump’s latest request that Judge Aileen Cannon, in the Mar-a-Lago case, dismiss the charges against him argues that he is the victim of a “selective and vindictive prosecution.” 

The 45th president, in a 43-page brief docketed on Thursday, contends that Special Counsel Jack Smith’s case against him “has been motivated by improper political animus.” He cites “President Biden’s targeted leaks and public statements urging others to prosecute President Trump” as amounting to a mandate to prosecute from the White House.

Mr. Trump also points to the timing of Mr. Smith’s case. Echoing claims made in a letter to the Department of Justice from Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, he points to the “abuse of DOJ election-interference policies by the Special Counsel’s Office.” Justice guidelines prohibit “select[ing] the timing of any action … for the purpose of affecting any election.”

Mr. Smith’s primary deputy, Jay Bratt, told Judge Cannon during a hearing that the prohibition on election interference “does not apply to cases that have already been charged.” Mr. Bratt also contends that a separate DOJ regulation, warning against prosecuting for 60 days, is similarly circumscribed. 

Turning to the presidency from the DOJ, Mr. Trump maintains that “no sitting President has ever successfully pressed for the prosecution of a former President, and his chief political rival, the way that President Biden did — proudly and publicly — in 2022.” 

Central to that claim is a New York Times article from April 2, 2022, which reported that Mr. Biden told his “inner circle that he believed former President Donald J. Trump was a threat to democracy and should be prosecuted.” The Times also reported presidential pressure for Attorney General Garland to act “more like a prosecutor who is willing to take decisive action.”

Mr. Trump also mentions a meeting between a man he calls a “disgraced former Special Assistant District Attorney in Fulton County, Georgia,” Nathan Wade, and the White House counsel. Mr. Trump reasons that the meeting “strongly suggests that the Biden Administration also supported the unlawful Fulton County prosecution.” Mr. Wade resigned after evidence surfaced of his affair with District Attorney Fani Willis, who hired him.

The brief notes that Mr. Wade met with White House officials for eight hours on the same day Mr. Smith was appointed special counsel. Mr. Trump also points to a press conference General Garland held in January when he “abandoned any appearance of independence from Jack Smith and used public statements released on CNN to back the Office’s demand for a ‘speedy trial,’ which is the Office’s code for a trial prior to the November 2024 election.” 

The former president, while decrying what he calls the “Biden Administration’s coordination to target President Trump,” also marshals evidence that he hopes will convince Judge Cannon that he has been treated so unfairly as for his prosecution to amount to “selective” hounding. Mr. Trump cites the “long history of presidents and other officials retaining classified information when they leave their posts without consequences.”

Among these officials, Mr. Trump contends, is Mr. Biden himself. Special Counsel Robert Hur found that the president shared confidential information with a ghostwriter, who subsequently destroyed evidence. Mr. Hur also found one of Mr. Biden’s written submissions “not credible” and said he engaged in “willful” violations of the Espionage Act, the same statute under which Mr. Trump has been charged 32 times. 

Turning to two long-time bêtes noires, Mr. Trump also asserts that Mr. Smith “downplays the significance of Hillary Clinton running the State Department using a personal email account operated through three private servers stored in her residence.” He also accuses a one-time FBI director, James Comey, of engaging in “obstructive behavior that investigators decided to overlook.”

Mr. Trump also alleges that he has been untreated unfairly compared to his vice president, Mike Pence, who also faced an investigation into his storage of classified documents. The 45th president makes the startling claim that Mr. Smith has a “clear interest in minimizing the significance” of Mr. Pence’s actions to “maintain his credibility as a witness in their District of Columbia case against President Trump” relating to January 6.

The New York Sun

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