We don’t know with certainty whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government during the 2016 election. And if that collusion existed, we don’t know whether President Trump was directly or indirectly involved. Perhaps at this point, only he knows (though we doubt it). But a special prosecutor is not needed yet. And Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, once again, places the interests of his political faction above those of the country.
- 1 No FBI Director Until a Special Prosecutor is Appointed – Just Politics
- 2 Watergate Illustrates When a Special Prosecutor Should Be Appointed – After the FBI Develops Definitive Proof of Crime
- 3 The American Public Believes in the FBI – Appoint a New Director ASAP
- 4 A Special Prosecutor is Not Needed – Yet
No FBI Director Until a Special Prosecutor is Appointed – Just Politics
With the firing of former FBI Director Comey, Schumer now insists that he will block a new FBI Director – yes, block – until the Attorney General appoints a “special prosecutor” to take control of the investigation. It’s a political trick by Mr. Schumer. But it is only that.
Schumer knows that an independent FBI Director could just as easily complete a comprehensive investigation into this whole matter as well as a special counsel. He’s betting that the public would assume that a special prosecutor appointment implies presidential misconduct. All to extract maximum political advantage to the Democrats, and to inflict maximum damage on the Trump Administration. Cast a pall over the Trump administration for as long as possible, that’s the game. But a special prosecutor is not needed at this point.
Watergate Illustrates When a Special Prosecutor Should Be Appointed – After the FBI Develops Definitive Proof of Crime
But it is way too early for the appointment of a special prosecutor. Comparisons to Watergate are apropos and highly instructive. Watergate began with the June 17, 1972 break-in of the Democratic National Committee headquarters. Within two days of the burglary the Washington Post reported that one of the burglars worked for the Republican Party. And just two weeks later the Post reported that a cashier’s check, apparently earmarked for President Nixon’s re-election campaign, wound up in the bank account of one of the Watergate burglars.
Thus, the FBI uncovered evidence almost immediately pointing directly to President Nixon’s campaign. The FBI conducted a comprehensive and independent investigation. By October, 1972 they demonstrated that the Watergate burglary came from a massive political spying campaign conducted for Nixon’s reelection. By January 30, 1973, Nixon aides G. Gordon Liddy and James McCord Jr. were convicted of conspiracy, burglary and wiretapping.
The Watergate Special Prosecutor was not even appointed by the Justice Department until May 18, 1973. This was over 11 months after the break-in. It was after the convictions of both Liddy and McCord. It was after Attorney General Richard Kleindienst resigned. And it was after Nixon’s White House inner circle, H.R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman, also resigned.
The point is clear. Even in Nixon’s case, there was no need for a special prosecutor until after the FBI brilliantly developed volumes of evidence proving criminal misconduct.
The American Public Believes in the FBI – Appoint a New Director ASAP
Which brings us full circle back to Senator Schumer. The American public has great confidence in the institution of the FBI, its capabilities and its independence. The FBI is the agency with expertise. It has thousands of highly capable and dedicated agents. The FBI is, after all, the agency of “investigation.” The list of capable candidates who could independently lead the FBI through the investigation process is long. It should include some fantastic candidates, including Democrats. There will be time enough – if necessary – to appoint a special prosecutor. And if we reach that point, we expect the evidence presented to the American public will be clear and unequivocal.
A Special Prosecutor is Not Needed – Yet
Appointment of a special prosecutor with respect to a President of the United States is a very grave matter. If done prematurely, it unnecessarily weakens our country in the face of our adversaries. And we are at no loss for adversaries. An appointment should occur only when evidence of criminal misconduct is clear – and only when extraordinary circumstances prevents the Justice Department from retaining its traditional role (more on that in another commentary). Apparently, Senator Schumer cares little for this. A special prosecutor is not needed. We are not there yet.