DeSantis says he'll fire Special Counsel Smith, others who've 'weaponized' the legal system, on 'day one' if elected president

 January 3, 2024

Questions have been raised about Special Counsel Jack Smith about not only his aggressive prosecutorial tactics against former President Donald Trump but also the legitimacy of his initial appointment to the uniquely powerful position he now holds.

Republican 2024 presidential candidate Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis recently vowed that, if elected as president, he would fire Special Counsel Smith on "day one" of his administration, along with others who've "weaponized" the justice system, Times Now News reported.

Meanwhile, a separate effort at the U.S. Supreme Court seeks to have Smith's November 2022 appointment as special counsel -- and all of the subsequent legal actions that followed that appointment -- declared illegitimate and unconstitutional.

DeSantis would fire Smith on "day one" if elected

The Hill reported last week that Gov. DeSantis, who is challenging former President Trump for the 2024 Republican nomination, appeared on Fox News and spoke with guest host Jason Chaffetz, a former colleague when both served in Congress, about some of the mounting legal woes faced by his chief rival to be the GOP nominee.

"I do think this is gonna be a constant throughout the election year, where there's gonna be different parts of these legal cases that are gonna be front and center," the governor said of the focus on Trump's multiple legal problems. "I think that we win when we hold Biden accountable and talk about the issues that matter to the American people."

DeSantis went on to say, "I think that a guy like me as the nominee will be able to keep the focus on Biden, keep the focus on the Democrats’ failures, but then, more importantly, after you win the election, start holding these people accountable, who have weaponized the legal system to go after their political enemies."

"And that starts with, day one, firing somebody like Jack Smith. That goes to dealing with people who are violating constitutional rights at the state and local government area," he added. "Republicans have turned a blind eye to abuses of power for far too long. We need to actually do something about it."

Questions raised about Smith's appointment and claimed authority

However, while Gov. DeSantis has vowed to fire Special Counsel Smith and others like him who have "weaponized" the justice system at the federal and state levels to go after political opponents, there is a slim possibility that he won't get the chance to do so even if manages to win both the GOP nomination and the 2024 general election.

Reason magazine posted an op-ed last month by law professor Steven Calabresi who, in conjunction with fellow law professor Gary Lawson and former U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese, filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court that questioned the validity of Special Counsel Smith's appointment and claimed authority under the U.S. Constitution.

The brief first argued that the Office of Special Counsel was never properly created by congressional statute as well as that Attorney General Merrick Garland had no statutory authority to appoint Smith to the "superior" and independent position that lacks any sort of real oversight or departmental control.

What should have happened, in the view of these legal experts, is that Garland at most had the authority to elevate an already-serving U.S. Attorney, who was properly appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate, to the powerful position of special counsel and only then appointed "private citizen" Smith to serve as a "special assistant" to that Senate-confirmed special counsel.

Odds are slim that Smith will be ousted

Of course, regardless of how airtight and well-sourced the argument against the legitimacy of Special Counsel Smith's initial appointment -- and by extension, all legal actions he's taken since that potentially unconstitutional appointment -- it seems rather unlikely that Smith will be stripped of his position and claimed authority by the Supreme Court, much less by AG Garland or President Biden.

Instead, Smith's dubious and overtly political prosecution of former President Trump amid an election year will likely continue unabated, with the only hope of any accountability coming with the unlikely event of Gov. DeSantis winning the GOP nomination followed by the general election in November.

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