The Growing Clamor for a Special Prosecutor of the Trump-Russia Case

From the beginning of the investigation by committees in the House and Senate into possible connections between the Trump Campaign and Russian hacking of Hillary Clinton’s email and the DNC headquarters, there have been calls for a special prosecutor to be named to de-politicize the investigation.  Legislators, especially Republicans, have argued against naming one.  Mitch McConnell, Senate majority leader, has wanted to sweep the investigation to the side so that “more pressing” matters of government may be addressed.

Those pressing matters include a list of regressive moves that would roll back any progress made during the last fifty years and ensure insulation of the wealthy elite from any remaining regulation and taxation.  Democrats have little power to stop these moves at the present time.  Lack of consent necessary to form a unanimous decision to move backward is about their only tool, but it is necessary to allow the investigation of Trump and campaign allies and their possible connection to Russia's interference in the last election to continue to progress.

Lately, however, there has been growing sentiment in favor of the naming of a special prosecutor to handle the investigation, and it has been coming from a variety of sources.

 

Last week a group of twenty states attorneys-general recommended a special prosecutor following the firing of FBI director James Comey, stating that Comey's firing undermined the very basis of our criminal justice system.

Benjamin Wittes, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and friend of Comey wrote in the blog, Lawfare, that Rod Rosenstein, a long respected prosecutor was damaged and should not continue as Deputy Attorney General.  Rosenstein you may recall, after only two weeks on the job wrote a memo at the White House’s request, criticizing Comey’s handling of the investigation and reporting of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email.  The timing of that memo smells; Rosenstein was used.

 “He made a recommendation,” Trump said of Rosenstein. “He’s highly respected, very good guy, very smart guy. The Democrats like him; the Republicans like him. He made a recommendation, but regardless of the recommendation, I was going to fire Comey.”

Within the week Trump admitted that he fired Comey because of the turn of the investigation into a connection between his campaign and Russia to an investigation into Trump’s role in the Russian interference in our election.

Wittes wrote, “Trump happily traded the reputation of Rosenstein, who began the week as a well-respected career prosecutor, for barely 24 hours of laughably transparent talking points in the news cycle.”

“These are the costs of working for Trump, and it took Rosenstein only two weeks to pay them. The only decent course now is to name a special prosecutor and then resign.” 

Ron Hosko, president of the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund is quoted as saying, ““I had very high regard for Rod as a prosecutor and public servant. He was a true and dedicated and capable prosecutor every step of the way and served multiple administrations. However, his involvement in these events and the timing is questionable. That it’s his second week on the job and he’s focused on something James Comey did nine months ago is beyond curious to me.”

Rod Rosenstein has been a highly respected prosecutor, one who worked on Ken Starr’s investigation into the Clinton – Whitewater scandal in the nineties, and was appointed as a Federal Attorney under the George W. Bush administration, and a man respected by legislators on both sides of the aisle on Capitol Hill.  Rosenstein has learned what many have learned that Trump has no regard for the damage that may be done to the people he uses, and as Wittes wrote it only took two weeks for Rosenstein to pay the price for getting too close to Trump.

The rules for appointing a special prosecutor are summarized here, with additional discussion here.

There must be a request from the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Attorney General – or in this case the Deputy Attorney General – must convene a jury and name a prosecutor.

“Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said in a statement that she supports ‘Senator Durbin’s call for Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to resign if he is unwilling to appoint a special counsel. These investigations are far too important to risk disruption, delay or interference.’

Feinstein's comments were part of a larger statement calling for the Judiciary Committee to hold hearings on President Trump's decision to fire FBI Director James Comey. Feinstein is the ranking Democrat on the committee.” ~ The Hill

When questioned by Dianne Feinstein about the propriety of naming a special investigator Rosenstein declined to answer stating that he did not have enough information to decide, “"I'm simply not in a position to answer that.”

Growing opinion is that the only course for Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is to resign or name a special prosecutor, or, according to some, name a prosecutor and resign in order to salvage what is left of his reputation.

Views: 36

Comment by koshersalaami on May 15, 2017 at 5:33am

Yes, Rosenstein got himself in a bad position and he needs to do the right thing now

Comment by JMac1949 Today on May 15, 2017 at 6:03am

It is as it is in the year of the Beast "45" 2017 CE:

 

Comment by Rodney Roe on May 15, 2017 at 6:16am

JMac, how do you find these clips?  That is a classic from a classic.

Comment by Rodney Roe on May 15, 2017 at 6:22am

Not to change the subject, but Hot Springs, AR had casino gambling for decades.  Each election cycle candidates for Governor would run on the platform of shutting down the gambling there (illegal in Arkansas).  They would and the following week the casinos would be wide open again.

When Winthrop Rockefeller ran, and won, as the first Republican governor since reconstruction he shut the casinos down, too, but he apparently did not get the memo to open them up the next day.  Hot Springs has legal para-mutual betting on horse racing, but gambling is otherwise illegal.  "Gambling in Hot Springs?  I'm shocked."

Comment by Rodney Roe on May 15, 2017 at 6:24am

kosh, what will make him decide to do it?

Comment by Jonathan Wolfman on May 15, 2017 at 6:43am

it'll happen

Comment by koshersalaami on May 15, 2017 at 7:22am

Rodney,

Rosenstein may be in charge of vetting the new FBI director. I'm thinking he stays through that. 

Comment by Rodney Roe on May 15, 2017 at 8:44am

He may regain some respect by doing that job well.

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