by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Recent John Locke Foundation speaker Andrew McCarthy explains at National Review Online why he opposes the idea of creating another special counsel to investigate potential crimes related to the 2016 election.
“What’s good for the goose . . .” is more an understandable impulse than a useful rule of thumb in legal controversies, particularly legal controversies in which an error has been made.
The White House and congressional Republicans have watched in ire as the Trump administration has been tied in knots by the no-boundaries Mueller investigation. “Okay,” they’re thinking, “now, it’s payback time.” There appear to have been highly irregular investigative tactics used in probing the Trump campaign — particularly, but not exclusively, by the Obama administration. Why not, then, appoint another special counsel to squeeze the squeezers? Why not turn the tables?
It’s a bad idea.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein made a foundational error in appointing Robert Mueller to be special counsel to investigate . . . well . . . um . . . come to think of it, that was the error: The investigation has no parameters, and thus no limitations. …
… [T]here may be good reasons to probe Kushner’s possible self-dealing as an adviser to his father-in-law, the president — and, for that matter, Kushner’s reported failures to disclose significant foreign contacts during his background check (which clearly complicated his ability to qualify for a security clearance). Similarly, it may well be that scheming by Paul Manafort and Richard Gates with a Kremlin-connected Ukrainian political party in the dozen years prior to the 2016 campaign should be scrutinized. The point, however, is that these matters have nothing to do with Russian interference in the election. There is no reason our $29 billion–per–annum Department of Justice could not have investigated them without the administration-crippling appointment of a special counsel.
Now it is Republicans on the verge of the same mistake, which would inevitably lead to similar abuses and the paralysis of critical government functions.