Some conservatives have raised questions about the impartiality of the newly-appointed special council on former President Donald Trump’s case, Jack Smith, after it emerged that his wife donated to President Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign and produced a film for former First Lady Michelle Obama.
On Nov. 18 Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Smith to be special counsel in two probes involving Trump.
Smith will take over the investigation in two federal criminal probes, one related to Trump’s handling of presidential records and classified documents, and the other pertaining to his alleged interference in the transfer of power on Jan. 6, 2021.
Katy Chevigny, Jack Smith’s wife, was a producer on the 2020 documentary “Becoming,” which features the 2019 tour promoting Michelle Obama’s book of the same name.
Big Mouth Productions, where Chevigny is co-founder and works as producer, is listed as one of the production companies of the film.
According to Federal Election Commission filings, Chevigny made donations in support of Biden campaign twice in the 2020 election cycle.
She donated $1,000 to Biden on Sept. 20, 2020, with an equal amount dedicated to the Biden Victory Fund on the same day. In both cases, her employer was listed as Big Mouth Productions.
Suspicion of 2-Tiered System
The revelations have sparked suspicion from some Republicans.
“You just can’t make this stuff up. Katy Chevigny, wife of Jack Smith—the special counsel appointed by [the Department of Justice] to go after President Trump, donated to Joe Biden’s campaign and produced Michelle Obama’s documentary. America cannot stand with a corrupt, two-tiered justice system,” Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.) wrote on Twitter.
In the aftermath of the DOJ’s appointment, 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.”
Gaetz: ‘Defund’ Special Counsel’s Office
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) raised concerns about the potential bias of Smith’s investigation given his wife’s prominent ties to the Democrats.
“You would think that if the stated purpose to avoid any type of concern about bias were sincere, then they would at least check to see whether or not when you shake the family tree of the special counsel, any virulent Trump haters, Never Trumpers, Biden supporters fall out,” Gaetz said during an interview with Steve Bannon on Tuesday.
The congressman went a step further by suggesting putting in place a law to settle such conflicts of political interests in the future.
“One has to wonder if we shouldn’t address this legislatively so that in the future—whether it’s Republicans or Democrats being investigated—you don’t have the very people in the throes of the political conflict trying to migrate their political grievance into the criminal justice process,” he contended.
In Gaetz’s opinion, the solution in the case of Smith is to defund the special counsel’s office.
“It’s not what we should be seeing in the United States of America,” he said. “I don’t want to sit around hand-wringing and bedwetting over this. I think we ought to use the power of the purse to defund this explicitly political exercise against President Trump.”
Trump has called the DOJ’s move a “horrendous abuse of power,” a “hoax,” and part of a string of politically-motivated “witch hunts.”
Tom Ozimek contributed to this report.