Special Counsel Jack Smith, who is heading up the classified documents case against former President Donald Trump, has a history of charging political leaders, including former Kosovo President Hashim Thaçi.
The former acting Director of National Security during the Trump administration, Richard Grenell, contends Smith’s charging of Thaçi was politically driven.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Friday unsealed its 49-page indictment against Trump detailing 38 counts, 31 of which alleged willful retention of national defense information, Breitbart News noted. While Smith has secured the grand jury indictment and is set to pursue the charges against the leading Republican presidential candidate, Trump insists, “I’M AN INNOCENT MAN.”Donald J. Trump / Truth Social
Smith is a Harvard Law graduate who embarked on a career in the American legal world with a job as a prosecutor in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office in 1994, Reuters noted. Remarkably, Trump finds himself under indictment from the current iteration of the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, led by left-wing chief prosecutor Alvin Bragg. The foundation of that case, which involves alleged falsification of business records in the lead-up to the 2016 presidential election, has been scrutinized by legal minds such as Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz and George Washington University Law Professor Jonathon Turley as well as staunch Trump critics such as Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) and former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL).
Smith made the jump from the state to the federal level in 1999, taking a job at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York in Brooklyn, per Reuters. The Kosovo Specialist Chambers (KSC) noted in a press release he later served in the Justice Department as the chief of the Public Integrity Section between 2010-2015. During that time, the branch oversaw two prosecutions of prominent American political figures, former Democrat vice presidential nominee John Edwards and then-Virginia Gov. Bob McDonald. As the Associated Press reported, the DOJ’s conviction against McDonald was later overturned by a 9-0 vote by the Supreme Court, while Edwards was acquitted on one count, with the jury split on others. Prosecutors opted not to further pursue the case.
Smith also worked several stints as a prosecutor in Europe, first as the investigation coordinator in the International Criminal Court prosecutor’s office from 2008-2010 and then as the special prosecutor in the KSC, prosecuting war crimes — where former President Thaçi comes into the frame.
While the KSC was established under Kosovo law, European Union nationals, along with nationals from “five other contributing states,” staff the court situated in the Hague in the Netherlands. The KSC was created following a 2011 Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly Report alleging, in part, that members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) engaged in the human trafficking of Serbians’ organs. The office of the specialist prosecutor prosecutes alleged war crimes “commenced or committed in Kosovo between 1 January 1998 and 31 December 2000 by or against citizens of Kosovo or the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.”
In the Summer of 2020, Smith announced a ten-count indictment of then-sitting President Thaçi relating to alleged war crimes he committed during the conflict between Serbia and Kosovo in the 1990s as Yugoslavia dissolved. The indictment charged that Thaçi — who, as Al Jazeera noted, led the ethnic Albanian Kosovo KLA in the 1990s — and others were responsible for “a range of crimes against humanity and war crimes, including murder, enforced disappearance of persons, persecution, and torture.”
Thaçi’s trial began in early April with opening statements from witnesses and the defense team, and at the time, a journalist in Kosovo told Al Jazeera that public confidence in the specialist court was dwindling as neither Thaçi nor the three other former leaders of the KLA were hit with charges relating to organ harvesting:
Journalist Xhemajl Rexha told Al Jazeera from Kosovo that the country “was pressured by its allies, mainly the US, to establish the Specialist Courts in 2015 as a result of a Council of Europe report alleging ‘organ trafficking’ by the KLA in Albania during the war with Serbia.
“These accusations never made it to the indictment against the ‘Big Four’, and there is a sense of anger in Kosovo with many considering the Court biased that will only deal with alleged crimes by KLA, and not those of Serbian army and police which resulted in more than 10,000 ethnic Albanian deaths and one million refugees,” Rexha said.
Grenell served as the special envoy to Kosovo and Serbia relations during the Trump administration and has contended that Smith brought the charges because he was on the precipice of mediating a deal with Thaçi and Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić that would have ended the tribunal court and Smith’s job.
Jack Smith’s actions to indict and imprison a 20 year old accusation simply because President Thaci was negotiating a big agreement that would end Jack’s cushy job is a scandal.
You can’t call yourself a journalist and ignore Jack’s immoral behavior for personal gain. https://t.co/5oZMpTkg1y
— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) December 14, 2022
— NSC 45 Archived (@WHNSC45) March 3, 2020
In June 2020, Kosovo and Serbia had not publicly been engaged in talks for 19 months when Grenell and the Trump administration were to host Thaçi and Vučić in Washington, DC, for diplomatic discussions, the Associated Press noted at the time. Although Serbia had never recognized Kosovo’s independence, Grenell emphasized at CPAC last year that both men were forward-looking leaders who wanted to ease relations between the nations. The meeting was to take place on June 27.
On June 24, 2020, Smith’s office suddenly issued a press release announcing it had charged the sitting president with the ten counts two months earlier on April 24 — charges that appeared not to have been made public before then. The release alleges Thaçi, Kadri Veseli, and others “are criminally responsible for nearly 100 murders.” Smith “deemed it necessary to issue this public notice of charges because of repeated efforts by Hashim Thaçi and Kadri Veseli to obstruct and undermine the work of the KSC,” per the document.
Grenell has contended that after he informed Bruce Schwartz, deputy assistant attorney general and counselor for International Affairs at the DOJ, of the deal, the DOJ “tipped off Smith,” who “jumped to indict” Thaçi.
Jack Smith moved to indict @HashimThaciRKS after I told Bruce Schwartz at DOJ that the parties agreed to end the special court and Jack Smith would lose his job.
Thaci was coming to the Trump White House to finish the final deal.
Jack Smith jumped to indict.
— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) December 20, 2022
“When President Thaçi was on his way to Washington, DC, to come and negotiate the final agreement with me, he went to the airport, and the Europeans issued an indictment of him from 20 years ago,” Grenell said at CPAC last Summer while Thaçi was still awaiting trial.
The man sits in a Hague prison today, two years later. His crime is that he was negotiating with Donald Trump. This is so outrageous, and if the Europeans cannot understand their vindictive legal system, which is going after President Thaçi sitting in prison for trying to negotiate — they came up with these charges that are from 20 years ago that they’ve been investigating that they’ve never been able to prove, crazy charges.
The Europeans are doing this, we have European media here today and if they don’t get off their duff and start looking into some of these issues, on why President Thaçi is in prison, honestly, they will never be able to take the mantle of pretending like they care about human rights.
Former Kosovo Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti was unable to fill in for Thaçi under sudden circumstances, and the meeting never materialized. And where Thaçi and Vucic were “forward” looking ahead of the would-be summit, Grenell noted at CPAC that relations between the countries have devolved with a lack of U.S. leadership and as Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti instigates conflict. Now the counties are fighting over license plates.
“I think we have to be very upfront and say there is no U.S. leadership in the Balkans right now. And as we all know, when there is no U.S. leadership, situations suffer,” he said, adding:
And so, what we’re seeing right now in this conflict between Kosovo and Serbia – you know, I’ve seen some people who know nothing about the situation say “oh this is Russia.” Here we go again, “Russia, Russia, Russia.” This is not about Russia. This is literally about the leader of Kosovo unilaterally making decisions which is causing conflict. This is 100 percent the fault of Alvin Kurti, who is the leader of Kosovo.
And let me be very clear about this. Kosovo is a great ally of the United States. We have done much for the people of Kosovo and I love the people of Kosovo, but they are not being served by this leader right now. And I will get a lot of hate for calling out Alvin Kurti, but the reality is, we had a deal and what this whole conflict is about right now is license plates… But in 2011 we worked out a deal, there was a deal that the EU put, and they said if Serbian cars go into Kosovo, you put a little sticker on the car. If Kosovo cars go into Serbia, you put a little sticker. Everything was fine. That was five-year deal. In 2016, they redid that deal. There was an idea — actually the stickers came in 2016, but in 2011 they had a deal where they recognized each other’s license plates. And now what we have is Alvin Kurti jumping out and saying, ‘”I no longer will recognize any license plates that come from Serbia into Kosovo.”
Grenell added that feelings of animosity between the countries should be dissipating two decades after the war, not ramping up, and that the Trump administration played a key role in fostering an optimistic outlook on the future among the people of the Balkin nations:
I know it was horrible and it was more than 20 years ago, but it was my job in working through these solutions is to tell people, “Look, it’s up to you. You can fight the wars of the past and your kids are not going to have jobs and they’re going to go to Hungary and Poland and all of these other places. But if you’d like to look to the future and solve some of these issues and do economic development — we got to give President Trump credit here because what President Trump said is, you know, you got the Europeans and all of these people who have been concentrating on political issues for 20 years and let’s go in and do economic development. We did four economic development agreements, the people of the Balkans, the governments in the Balkans were very excited. Now what we have is they’re fighting over license plates.
After the Justice Department unsealed its 37-count indictment against the 45th president and leading Republican presidential candidate on Friday, Smith delivered a statement without taking questions from the media. Grenell tweeted that Smith “is shaking as he speaks,” adding that he is “so nervous.”
Watch the video here:C-SPAN
“He has always overplayed his hand in the cases he’s handled because he’s an emotional partisan activist,” Grenell said.
He is shaking as he speaks. He’s so nervous.
He has always overplayed his hand in the cases he’s handled because he’s an emotional partisan activist.
His Kosovo case is falling apart and his own witnesses there are now claiming he and his team at The Hague faked CIA officials… https://t.co/FPOqQYvko3
— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) June 9, 2023
“His Kosovo case is falling apart and his own witnesses there are now claiming he and his team at The Hague faked CIA officials to intimidate them,” he added.
Speaking for less than three minutes without taking questions, Smith said in part, “Adherence to the rule of law is a bedrock principle of the Department of Justice, and our nation’s commitment to the rule of law sets an example for the world. We have one set of laws in this country and they apply to everyone.”
What’s more, Federal Election Commission records show that Smith’s wife, Katy Chevigny, in September 2020 made two $1,000 donations to Biden’s efforts to beat former President Donald Trump, with one donation going to the Biden for President campaign committee, and the other made to the Biden Victory Fund super PAC. Moreover, in 2008, she apparently made a $150 donation to Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s (D-MN) campaign, Open Secrets shows. Chevigny also helped produce the 2020 Michelle Obama documentary Becoming, according to Big Mouth Productions, a company she helped found.
“I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I’d be married to someone who was donating to someone that I didn’t support, either,” MAGA Inc spokeswoman Karoline Leavitt told Breitbart News Saturday while speaking of Chevigny’s donations.