By Roger L Simon
In March, Attorney General Sessions wrote to three Republican congressman, declining to appoint a special counsel in the matter of the FBI, CIA, Obama administration and… and… frankly, I don’t know what to call it, since there is so much from the Clinton Foundation to the emails to the FISA court to who knows what…. because, the AG said, a special counsel necessitated “extraordinary circumstances.”
I sympathized somewhat with Sessions at the time. Special counsels do not have the best track records. Often they are appointed for dubious politicized reasons. In the Valerie Plame case, a special counsel put Scooter Libby in jail for outing the insignificant Plame as a CIA agent when she was already easily identified in Who’s Who (not to mention that the never-indicted Richard Armitage, not Libby, did the initial public outing anyway).
[UPDATE: As several commenters have correctly noted, Libby was indicted for the ever-popular “lying to the FBI,” not for outing Plame. I knew this and apologize for being so sloppy. But it’s worth noting that is even worse, virtually, as someone said, a “set up.”]
Now we have the interminable Mueller “Russia Probe,” so named because it was supposed to be looking into Russian involvement in the 2016 election but seems to be investigating everything but. Democrat pollster Mark Penn isn’t the only one of his party to realize this has been one elongated farce and actually damaging to the Dems with FBI officials dropping like flies either through quasi-firings or potential indictment. The public is somewhere between bored and nauseated. That Republicans are suddenly leading in the generic polls is almost certainly related.
Now we have a situation that qualifies as an “extraordinary circumstance” if anything does. It is becoming increasingly clear that there was and is a plot at the highest levels of our government involving the FBI, the intelligence agencies, and the Obama administration to block and then undermine the administration of Donald Trump.
On top of that, we now learn there were spies — plural. Spies! (I don’t mean to “trigger” the children at the New York Times who chose to call them “informants.”) Not just this Halper dude (aka “The Walrus” — how Le Carré is that!) in Cambridge, whose identity everyone is pretending to hide, but now former Trump advisor Michael Caputo reports he was approached by multiple individuals.
Think about that again. Spies — in action long before James Comey said the investigation began — paid (large amounts in at least one case) to spy on the political opposition. Are we a Banana Republic or the very Russia we are supposedly probing? I can’t imagine how my liberal and progressive friends justify this. Hold their ears, I guess, but this is a loud explosion. (I’ve already seen how James Clapper does. He lies.)
The reaction to Watergate proved the strength of our democratic republic. Thus far this does exactly the opposite. It threatens it as never before since WWII.
So, as much as I do dislike the method, I think we really do need a special counsel this time. Immediately. It’s certainly going to slow things down and maybe, just maybe, Atty. John Huber, whose presence working on the case in Utah was announced by Sessions in that same March letter, will do the necessary job. (And to do that he would have to be ruthless, willing to put a number of our highest officials, perhaps friends, in orange suits. Otherwise this will be much ado about nada.)
But you’ll excuse me if I’m a Doubting Thomas. Perhaps I’ve seen too many films like the Italian Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion or seen too many plays like Brecht’s The Caucasian Chalk Circle with its rascally judge Azdak to be sanguine about police and intelligence agencies investigating themselves. These are bureaucracies whose overwhelming interest is almost always self-preservation.
The confused, ambushed look on Christopher Wray’s — the relatively new FBI new director — face through all this is an illustration of this. The man doesn’t seem to know what to do, although most of on the outside would say “get rid of them!” Clean the place out. What’re you waiting for? But just by being there he has become one of them.
Well, Jeff, your turn. You said you wanted “extraordinary circumstances.” Voilá.