Finally, some good news out of Washington. The Department of Justice has appointed former FBI Director Bob Mueller to be Independent Counsel to investigate all issues related to Russian intervention in the American election. Mueller has the latitude and resources to investigate President Donald Trump’s relationship to the Russians, contacts between Trump campaign officials and the Russians, possible collusion between the President and Vladimir Putin or other top Russian officials to benefit the Trump campaign, even the circumstances surrounding Donald Trump’s leaking of highly classified intelligence to Russia the day after he fired former FBI Director James Comey. Mueller can also review Trump’s tax returns for relevant information.
It was Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein who made the appointment, which redeems his reputation, sullied when Trump used him in Comey’s dismissal. Mueller, who served as FBI Director for 12 years under both Republican and Democratic administrations, is one of the good guys, a person of serious demeanor, high intelligence, utmost integrity, courage and all the other values so important to our nation in this time of crisis. Whether he finds criminal wrong-doing or determines there was none, the American people can put faith in the outcome of the investigation. It’s hard to imagine anyone better suited to the task than this individual. I knew and respected him when he was U.S. Attorney in Boston after he had served in that position in San Francisco.
The appointment takes the heat off many Republican members of Congress, who didn’t want this appointment, but now can tell their constituents they’re doing their job. Having a DoJ independent counsel shouldn’t deter House and Senate Committees from carrying on their investigations. Having some duplication may present problems with, for example, the granting of immunity. But Congressional investigations have a greater chance of providing the public with important information about past wrongdoing and grossly unethical behavior that wouldn’t see the light of day under Independent Counsel Mueller if there is no narrow finding of criminality. Congress, not DoJ, is the body that must take the lead in designing steps to prevent the misbehavior of 2016 from occurring again.
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