Hearing set on claim Jack Smith's case against Trump is illegitimate

 June 5, 2024

This story was originally published by the WND News Center.

"Special counsel" Jack Smith's case against President Donald Trump over documents from his presidency that he had in his home is facing several obstacles.

For sure it's not going on the timetable Smith has demanded: a trial as soon as possible and a conviction for sure before the November election.

There are allegations about how those documents came to be in Trump's possession – perhaps the government turned them over. There are serious problems because the FBI already has confessed that its agents tampered with the evidence Smith hopes to use in court. There are claims about selective prosecution since Joe Biden was let off the hook for the same actions. And more.

And now the federal judge handling the case has scheduled a hearing on the question of whether Smith's case is legitimate at all – whether he has any authority to bring such a case.

It is the Washington Examiner that documented that Judge Aileen Cannon has released an order scheduling a June 21 hearing on the dispute.

She said legal scholars will be allowed 30 minutes apiece to argue whether Smith "may or may not have been legally appointed" by Biden's Department of Justice.

Among those expected to make presentations are South Texas College of Law professor Josh Blackman; attorney Gene Schaerr, a former clerk to Justice Antonin Scalia representing ex-Bush and Reagan administration U.S. Attorneys General Michael Mukasey and Edwin Meese; and Matthew Seligman, an attorney representing an anti-Trump coalition.

They earlier were allowed to file written arguments on the dispute.

"Blackman will represent Landmark Legal Foundation and law professor Seth Barrett Tillman to argue Smith is not an 'officer of the United States' but rather an 'employee' whose 'appointment is inconsistent with the separation of powers and political accountability," the Examiner reported. "Schaerr will provide the argument that the special counsel is a 'principal officer' whose appointment by Attorney General Merrick Garland should require a Senate confirmation."

Court filings charge that Smith simply has no authority to prosecute the case. Some contend he wasn't appointed properly, or confirmed by the Senate. Others argue that the position he holds doesn't grant him to power to bring such a case.

Seligman will argue for Smith's authority. Several high-profile names are behind this argument, including anti-Trump Harvard professor Laurence Tribe and ardent Trump critic George Conway.

The judge's announcement came just as Biden's attorney general, Merrick Garland, was denying to Congress that his DOJ has been weaponized against Trump, despite the fact that Democrats have orchestrated at least four major criminal cases against Trump just as he's challenging Democrat Biden for the presidency.

One "show trial" already has concluded in New York with guilty verdicts to accounting system entries in the Trump organization where jurors convicted him of describing his legal fees as legal fees.

The Democrat operative there, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, took misdemeanors that were beyond the statute of limitations and claimed they were felonies because they were in furtherance of another, unspecified, crime.

Trump's campaign immediately took in tens of millions of dollars in donations within hours after the verdict, and his support jumped in several subsequent polls.

Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., confronted Garland about the dispute, charging, "What gives you the authority to appoint a special counsel to create … you’ve created an office in the U.S. government that does not exist without authorization from Congress."

WND reported when the dispute developed that former U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese and professors Steven Calabresi and Gary Lawson already have filed a 25-page brief in the Supreme Court pointing out that there's no constitutional authority for Garland's assignment to Smith to do such a high-level criminal investigation.

The reason? He's a private citizen and not confirmed by the Senate.

The experts charge that "a lawfully appointed special counsel would have had to serve in the Justice Department after being appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. Lawful special counsel appointments in the past, they said, included Patrick Fitzgerald, who served as U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, Rod Rosenstein, who was also a U.S. attorney, as were John Huber and John Durham."

Their filing charges, "What federal statutes and the Constitution do not allow, however, is for the attorney general to appoint a private citizen, who has never been confirmed by the Senate, as a substitute United States attorney under the title ‘special counsel.’ That is what happened on November 18, 2022. That appointment was unlawful, as are all the legal actions that have flowed from it."

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