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Why a Special Counsel is Necessary

James Comey made serious errors as FBI director. Yet Trump’s own statements indicate that the motive behind Comey’s firing was to squelch the FBI investigation into Russian interference in last year’s election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign. Those statements and other Trump actions suggest that he may have obstructed justice.

Other actions we currently know of or have reason to suspect include the delay of 18 days between the time the White House was informed of Michael Flynn’s potential vulnerability to blackmail by the Russians and his departure as National Security adviser. At a private dinner only hours after the White House received this information, Trump allegedly asked Comey for his “loyalty.” The day after Flynn’s firing, the president reportedly told Comey that he hoped he could “let go” of the investigation into Flynn’s connections to the Russians.

We are still at an early stage in collecting the facts. The danger to Democrats is that they will rush to conclusions in advance of a thorough investigation. However, to deny the potential threat to the rule of law and our constitutional system posed by the Trump team’s actions would itself be a threat to our democracy. Republicans need to accept this and work with Democrats in Congress to investigate thoroughly the behavior of Trump and his subordinates, both during and after the 2016 campaign.

Unfortunately, in this era of extreme partisanship, Congress cannot be trusted to conduct a meticulous investigation and reach objective conclusions based on the evidence. Seventy-eight percent of Americans in a recent WSJ-NBC poll said they preferred that an outside investigator lead the probe.

The appointment as special counsel of Robert Mueller, a decorated former Marine, and FBI director with an impeccable reputation for integrity, represents the beginning of a process that will help protect the rule of law and restore public confidence in our institutions. Republicans and Democrats alike, both in Congress and the general public, need to put their country and their constitution above party loyalty in seeing a resolution of the potential crisis that looms before us.

Written by Mary Smith | Printed on May 25th