Conservative media outlets and figures have ramped up their attacks on special counsel Jack Smith, who is in charge of two criminal investigations of former President Donald Trump, following news reports on increasing evidence of Trump’s alleged crimes. Many of these conservatives are accusing Smith of “leaking” evidence to the press, and a former Trump appointee with a seemingly personal grudge against Smith repeatedly claimed without evidence that the special counsel hates Trump and is politically biased in his investigations.
Smith is investigating Trump for withholding classified documents from the federal government and for his attempt to illegally remain in power following his electoral defeat in the 2020 presidential election. News reports about developments in these two investigations have spurred most of the recent right-wing attacks on Smith.
On May 31, CNN reported that “federal prosecutors have obtained an audio recording of a summer 2021 meeting in which former President Donald Trump acknowledges he held onto a classified Pentagon document about a potential attack on Iran,” adding that the recording undercuts “his argument that he declassified everything” that was seized from his Mar-a-Lago property last year. And on May 25, The Washington Post reported that Trump staffers moved boxes of documents before the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago and that he showed classified documents to people.
Other articles that drew attacks from conservatives include reports that prosecutors issued a subpoena for information about some of Trump’s foreign business dealings and that Trump aides were subpoenaed about the firing of cybersecurity official Christopher Krebs after he debunked Trump’s lies about the security of voting machines in 2020.
Trump has attacked Smith for months on his social media account, and some of his attorneys recently sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland requesting a meeting and whining that Trump “is being treated unfairly.” But following the most recent news reports on the strength of the evidence against Trump, conservative media are stepping up their own attacks on Smith, mostly by accusing him of leaking information about the Trump investigations or claiming that he personally hates Trump.
- On June 1, Newsmax host Rob Schmitt introduced a segment on the CNN story by saying: “Special counsel Jack Smith's investigators are leaking like crazy to inflict maximum damage on former President Trump.”
- During Schmitt’s segment, former Trump acting director of national intelligence Ric Grenell said: “Look, these people leak all the time. They're trying to leak because they really don't have anything on the president.” Grenell baselessly added: “We have to be quite clear that Jack Smith is very political, he’s very partisan, he hates Donald Trump. He's got a long history with trying to get Trump.” Grenell’s remarks echoed what he said in a May 20 interview elsewhere, in which he said without evidence: “My accusation is that he became very political just because he hated Donald Trump,” and that “he’s highly political and extremely ambitious and selfish in his motives.”
- Also on June 1, OANN host Dan Ball said the FBI “just pulled a wag the dog this week,” adding: “Jack Smith jumps in and leaks information to CNN that there is an alleged audio recording of Donald Trump in the summer of 2021 where he’s acknowledging he has a classified document.”
- On May 31, Gateway Pundit published an article titled: “SMOKING GUN? Latest Leak by Jack Smith Involves Ridiculous War Plan by Dummy Mark Milley to ‘Deploy Massive Numbers of Troops’ into Iran – Something the White House Scoffed At.” The article claimed that “dirty Special Counsel Jack Smith” had leaked the information to CNN.
- A RedState contributor on May 31 claimed that this “leak” to CNN “should give no one confidence that any prosecution will be a fair pursuit of the law.”
- Citing a New York Times report on subpoenas of Trump aides, Washington Free Beacon reporter Chuck Ross wrote on Twitter on May 31: “Trump Special Counsel Jack Smith has expanded far beyond his initial mandate.”
- In a May 25 article, Gateway Pundit accused Smith’s prosecution team of “selectively leaking information about the investigations into Trump in an effort to derail his 2024 White House run.”
- On May 23, Gateway Pundit attacked Smith for “another Deep State leak” in an article headlined: “LEAK: Special Counsel Jack Smith Subpoenas Records on Trump Organization’s Real Estate Licensing in Foreign Countries.”
- Ross also tweeted on May 22, citing a report on Trump’s foreign business records being subpoenaed: “Mueller and now Jack Smith expanded their investigations far behind their initial focus and media was totally on board.”