Ethically challenged Special Counsel Jack Smith

What Has Happened to Our Lawyers? A Tale of Principles Lost

Special Counsel Jack Smith and all lawyers serving in such roles are responsible for investigating and possibly prosecuting crimes. These lawyers must follow the facts and resist all temptation or persuasion to allow politics to interfere with the important work they conduct. Amid accusations that he is weaponizing the Justice Department, Jack Smith, the Special Counsel investigating former President Trump continues seems to be following a history of overzealous prosecutions against Republicans.

Party affiliation and politics should have no place in the pursuit of justice. Yet, former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, and exonerated victim of a Jack Smith prosecution recently said of Smith that, “he would rather win than get it right.”

Those appointed Special Counsel, and literally all attorneys (especially those serving the United States government) must follow the facts and follow the law. The integrity of our system of justice hinges on the ability of lawyers, and those in power, to remain impartial, fair, and dedicated to upholding the rule of law. Investigations must be pursued with the utmost objectivity and adherence to legal principles.

Political bias (real or perceived) undermines trust, and likely the outcomes of investigations and prosecutions, eroding the very foundation of a just society.

As the Joe and Hunter Biden money laundering issue unfolds, I can’t help but reflect on a pivotal moment in history that shaped my perspective on the role of lawyers in upholding the law and serving the country. Back in 1973, during my tenure as Executive Assistant to William D. Ruckelshaus, Acting Director of the FBI, I witnessed a remarkable display of integrity and commitment to the nation’s well-being amidst political turmoil. It was a time when the principles of law and justice took precedence over partisanship, unlike what we often witness in today’s news.

In those turbulent days, Vice President Spiro Agnew was embroiled in a money-taking scandal. We, as part of a Republican administration, could have easily allowed political affiliations to cloud our judgment, but we chose a different path. Ruckelshaus and I believed that President Nixon was guilty of covering up a crime, and we took our concerns to Attorney General Elliott Richardson. This courageous move led Richardson to appoint Ruckelshaus as Deputy Attorney General and me as Associate Deputy Attorney General. The focus was clear – the law must be upheld, regardless of party lines.

In stark contrast to the current state of affairs, we never sought to protect any individual based on their political affiliation. Our priority was the country, and we firmly believed that both Nixon and Agnew had violated the law and must be held accountable for the sake of the nation. It was a time when lawyers considered themselves guardians of justice, above all else.

Attorney General Richardson, a Boston Brahmin with strong principles, took personal charge of the Agnew case. Despite being a Republican, he abhorred the idea of the Vice President accepting side payments. He kept politics out of the equation and worked closely with prosecutors to ensure justice was served.

Regrettably, in the current political landscape, such impartiality and dedication to the rule of law seem elusive. We witness partisan divides leading to a protectionist attitude toward political figures. The contrast between the past and present couldn’t be starker, as President Biden enjoys unwavering support from virtually every Democrat, even amid controversy.

In the Agnew case, there was no room for political maneuvering within the Department of Justice or the FBI. Our commitment to upholding the law was unwavering, and we were guided by the principle that the country’s welfare should never be compromised for personal or political gain.

As we watch the events of today, one wonders which institutions we can truly rely on. The legacy of Attorney General Richardson and Deputy Attorney General Ruckelshaus remains a testament to what the legal system could achieve when driven by the desire to protect the nation and uphold justice. Their actions set an example for future generations of lawyers to prioritize the oath they take to serve the country over partisan loyalties.

In these uncertain times, we yearn for leadership in the Department of Justice and the FBI that mirrors the dedication and integrity demonstrated by those who served the country during the Agnew-Nixon saga. Our hope is for a return to a time when lawyers, irrespective of their political affiliations, put the nation first, above all else.

The pursuit of justice must transcend political affiliations and personal agendas. Special Counsel Jack Smith and all Justice Department lawyers involved in the investigation of the Biden family have a duty to uphold the law and protect the principles that our democracy rests. Only by adhering to the highest ethical standards and impartially pursuing the truth can we preserve the integrity of our justice system and ensure equal treatment under the law for all citizens.