Gaetz Seeks Criminal Contempt Charges Against Smith

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) declared his support for possible criminal contempt charges against special counsel Jack Smith, who is leading the prosecution of former President Donald Trump. Gaetz’s effort reflects widespread conservative condemnation of the charges.

Gaetz made the comments Tuesday, stating that the House of Representatives should “immediately demand that Jack Smith present himself for a transcribed interview before the Judiciary Committee in the next 15 days.”

The Florida Republican said that if Smith ignored the subpoena, then “we should hold him in criminal contempt of the Congress so that he is the first prosecutor in American history to prosecute a case while himself under criminal contempt.”

Gaetz also said that Attorney General Merrick Garland should face impeachment if he does not attempt to restrict Smith.

The representative called it “an effort to try to distract us from the very real crimes committed by Hunter and Joe Biden.”

Trump received significant support from a number of Republican figures. Former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker called the case against Trump a double standard. Walker cited the attempted assassination of a number of Republican lawmakers that resulted in the wounding of Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA).

The prosecution of the former president was also condemned by 2024 GOP candidate Vivek Ramaswamy. 

The candidate said that the charges were “politically motivated.” He also said that “there are no coincidences in the fact that they’re bringing three indictments against him at the same time in the midst of an election. But I’m not even in this to defend Trump. I’m in this to defend the country.”

Ramaswamy called it an “awful precedent in our country.” The businessman said that he would no go so far as to call the nation’s justice system “corrupt” but said that he would pardon Trump if he were elected “because I want to move our country forward.”

Another 2024 contender, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) said that he would end the weaponization of government, replace the FBI Director and ensure a single standard of justice for all Americans.” 

He added that the nation needed to “enact reforms so that Americans have the right to remove cases from Washington,” which he described as a “swamp.”