(National Sentinel) Witch Hunt: The longer special counsel Robert Mueller continues his investigation of POTUS Donald Trump and his 2016 campaign, the more obvious it becomes that there is no there there.
It’s always possible that Mueller is waiting for an “October surprise,” to lay on the country allegations of nefarious behavior on the part of the president in the days before the November election. Special counsels, who are still employees of the Justice Department (and, ultimately, who serve at the pleasure of the Executive Branch chief), are not supposed to commit overtly acts so close to elections in normal times.
These are not, of course, normal times.
That said, former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy, who specialized in national security crimes during his time working on behalf of the country, wrote in National Review Monday that a fundamental question regarding the existence of Robert Mueller’s investigation has never been offered and has yet to be answered by the man who appointed him, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and that question is: What is the crime POTUS is alleged to have committed?
Because that is the guiding principle behind the appointment of any special counsel.
For precisely what federal crimes is the president of the United States under investigation by a special counsel appointed by the Justice Department?
It is intolerable that, after more than two years of digging — the 16-month Mueller probe having been preceded by the blatantly suspect labors of the Obama Justice Department and FBI — we still do not have an answer to that simple question.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein owes us an answer.
To my mind, he has owed us an answer from the beginning, meaning when he appointed Special Counsel Robert Mueller on May 17, 2017. The regulations under which he made the appointment require (a) a factual basis for believing that a federal crime worthy of investigation or prosecution has been committed; (b) a conflict of interest so significant that the Justice Department is unable to investigate this suspected crime in the normal course; and (c) an articulation of the factual basis for the criminal investigation — i.e., the investigation of specified federal crimes — which shapes the boundaries of the special counsel’s jurisdiction.
This last provision is designed to prevent a special counsel’s investigation from becoming a fishing expedition — or what President Trump calls a “witch hunt,” what DAG Rosenstein more diplomatically disclaims as an “unguided missile,” and what Harvard’s Alan Dershowitz, invoking Lavrentiy Beria, Stalin’s secret-police chief, pans as the warped dictum, “Show me the man and I’ll show you the crime.” In our country, the crime triggers the assignment of a prosecutor, not the other way around.
There are other considerations, and we have made them here on past occasions: The ongoing scandal…er, sorry, “investigation”…is a massive national security issue because it is needlessly distracting to the president and thus makes him less able to govern effectively.
In May we noted:
What is clear is that this investigation is dangerously distracting to our president at a time when we need him to be fully focused on the very real threats to our country.
Fake investigations should never outweigh real-world challenges.
McCarthy agrees. He writes:
Sound reasons undergird the regulations. If a Democrat were in the White House, we would know them by heart at this point. Republicans once knew them well, too. That was before Donald Trump’s character flaws had them shrugging their shoulders, resigned that he deserves to be investigated whether he committed a crime or not.
Yet, the rationale for the regulations relates to the presidency, not to the man or woman who happens to occupy the office at a particular time. It is too debilitating to the governance of the United States, to the pursuit of America’s interests in the world, for us to permit imposing on the presidency the heavy burdens of defending against a criminal investigation unless there is significant evidence that the president has committed a serious crime.
Rosenstein not only owes the country an explanation as to what alleged criminal act by POTUS Trump and/or members of his campaign constituted the appointment of Mueller, or why Mueller remains on the job sans any evidence.
This is a witch hunt, as Trump has often characterized it. And it needs to go away, or the officials responsible for it held to account.