Attorney General Merrick Garland announced Friday he would appoint Jack Smith, a career prosecutor, to take the reins in the Justice Department's ongoing probe into former President Trump.
In the announcement, Garland said Smith was the right choice "to complete these matters in an even-handed and urgent manner" given his extensive prosecutorial history. The attorney general added the appointment wouldn't slow the investigations into the former president, a sentiment Smith echoed in a statement.
"I intend to conduct the assigned investigations and any prosecutions that may result from them independently and in the best traditions of the Department of Justice," Smith said. "The pace of the investigations will not pause or flag under my watch.
"I will exercise independent judgment and will move the investigations forward expeditiously and thoroughly to whatever outcome the facts and the law dictate."
As part of the agreement to lead the investigations, Smith will depart his current role as the chief prosecutor for the special court in The Hague assigned with investigating war crimes committed during the Kosovo War during the late 1990s. The Hague is an intergovernmental panel that probes and prosecutes international crimes.
Before he joined The Hague as chief prosecutor in 2018, Smith was the vice president of litigation for the Tennessee-based Hospital Corporation of America, the largest private health care provider in the nation. He worked in the role at the company for less than a year, according to the Nashville Business Journal.
Prior to working in the private sector, Smith worked in different prosecutorial roles in New York City and the Department of Justice (DOJ) outside a two-year stint between 2008 and 2010 he spent investigating war crimes for the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
Smith's prosecutorial career began in 1994 when he was selected to be the assistant district attorney in the New York County District Attorney’s Office. In 1999, he was hired by the DOJ to serve as assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, where he worked on a wide variety of investigations, including gang-related and civil rights-related cases.
In 2010, Smith was hired to lead the DOJ's Public Integrity Section, which specializes in public corruption and elections-related investigations.
In 2015, he was appointed the first assistant U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee. He eventually became the acting U.S. attorney for the district before being hired by the Hospital Corporation of America.
During his time at the DOJ, he received both the Director’s Award and the Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service.
Smith is a graduate of the State University of New York at Oneonta and, later, Harvard Law School.
According to the announcement Friday, Smith will be tasked with two criminal investigations involving Trump.
The first probe revolves around whether any person unlawfully interfered with the transfer of power following the 2020 presidential election. The second is related to Trump's handling of classified documents and other presidential records after leaving the White House in early 2021, an investigation that led to an FBI raid at the former president's Mar-a-Lago home in southern Florida.
"I have been going through this for six years — for six years I have been going through this, and I am not going to go through it anymore," Trump told Fox News Digital in an exclusive interview Friday after the DOJ announcement. "And I hope the Republicans have the courage to fight this.
"I did nothing wrong."
Fox News' Kevin Ward contributed to this report.