Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Stephen L. Carter ― Can the Special Counsel Uncover the Truth? Dream On

Robert Mueller is unlikely to give us the answers we crave in the Russia-Trump investigation, no matter how qualified he is.

Bloomberg View - The appointment of a special counsel is always a tragedy, in the sense that going under the surgeon’s knife is always a tragedy. Like the human body, the government should function smoothly without the need to slice and cut. The Justice Department brings in an outsider only when the public does not trust the executive branch to investigate itself. Even when, as now, there may be good reason for the mistrust, the moment is hardly one for celebration. Even when we know surgery is necessary, we do not throw parties.

So although I fervently hope that Robert S. Mueller III will perform as admirably in the role of special counsel as he did in the role of director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, I am not ready to turn handsprings. Like most of us, I would like to know the truth about any ties between Donald Trump's presidential campaign and the Russian government. But although Mueller is a man of unquestioned probity and determination, I have never much liked the idea of special counsels, even back in the days when they were appointed by the judiciary and called independent counsels, not least because the counsel is not really subject to any authority but his own. The investigation can range as widely as any particular individual holding the position might wish.