January 6 special counsel Jack Smith recently took the unusual step of sitting in on former Vice President Mike Pence’s grand jury testimony. This move comes after months of legal battles over whether the Justice Department had the constitutional authority to compel Pence’s testimony in the first place.
In a conversation with CNN’s “The Situation Room,” former prosecutor Shan Wu we highlighted the significant difference between Smith’s approach and that of Robert Mueller, who led the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
When asked about the implications of Smith’s presence during the grand jury testimony, Wu emphasized its rarity and noted that it indicates an “active and operational” leadership style. Wu contrasted Smith’s hands-on approach with Mueller’s more hands-off style, which largely involved delegating interviews to his staff.
Mueller’s background as the head of the FBI for many years may have influenced his more distanced approach, whereas Smith comes from an operational prosecutor background. Wu believes that this difference in leadership styles is evident in their respective investigations.
When questioned if Smith would continue to take a direct role in other key testimonies, Wu responded that it would likely depend on the individual witness. However, he noted that Smith’s hands-on approach signals a steady and active hand on the controls. Wu warned that having the top person be too hands-on isn’t always the best strategy but acknowledged that different kinds of prosecutors have different styles of leading investigations.