Last week, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland surprised the nation by announcing that he had appointed a special counsel to oversee two DOJ-led criminal investigations concerning former President Donald Trump, including the Mar-a-Lago classified documents debacle and the Jan. 6 Capitol incursion.
“Based on recent developments, including the former president’s announcement that he is a candidate for president in the next election, and the sitting president’s stated intention to be a candidate as well, I have concluded that it is in the public interest to appoint a special counsel,” Garland said in a statement, naming Jack Smith as the special counsel who will oversee the investigations.
While Smith is generally known as an experienced, neutral prosecutor who’s worked several high-profile cases against Democrats and Republicans, the same might not be true for his wife, a filmmaker who seemingly has clear partisan ties.
According to the New York Post, Smith’s wife, Katy Chevigny, has “producer” credits for a 2020 Netflix documentary titled “Becoming.” The subject of the documentary is former first lady Michelle Obama.
Further complicating matters, especially in the court of public opinion, is the revelation that Chevigny donated $2,000 to President Joe Biden’s presidential campaign that same year.
News of Chevigny’s political donation to the Biden campaign and her work on the Michelle Obama film stirred intense debate on social media as to whether it creates a conflict of interest for her husband in his investigation into Trump, as Trump stands a strong chance at becoming Biden’s political opponent in 2024.
Georgia Republican Rep. Andrew Clyde slammed the Justice Department on Monday.
“You just can’t make this stuff up. Katy Chevigny, wife of Jack Smith—the special counsel appointed by DOJ 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,” Clyde tweeted.
Others echoed the same sentiment, including Turning Point USA founder and president Charlie Kirk.
Do you think that this is a conflict of interest?
“Of course the wife of Jack Smith, the special counsel appointed by Merrick Garland to investigate President Trump, was one of the producers of the Michelle Obama documentary. But don’t worry guys, the DOJ has not been weaponized against conservatives. Everything is fine!” Kirk tweeted Monday.
Others argued that Chevigny is entitled to her career, separate from her husband’s investigation, and cited Ginni Thomas, the wife of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, for partaking in conservative causes.
“He prosecuted New York Assembly Speaker (Dem) Sheldon Silver. He also prosecuted Democratic VP candidate John Edwards. But sure, let’s talk about his unproven bias because of his wife’s career. Right after we investigate Ginni Thomas and her husband Clarence,” one Twitter user wrote in response to Kirk’s post.
According to The Washington Post, Smith will begin his investigation remotely from the Netherlands after recovering from a recent bicycle accident.
CNN reported Monday that Smith’s investigation has officially launched after he took his oath of office, presumably remotely, to make it official. Both AG Garland and Smith have insisted that the special counsel addition to the investigations will not slow them down.
So far, there isn’t any evidence to suggest that Smith will recuse himself due to his wife’s political leanings.
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