No President, no executive branch member, no cabinet member wants to have a special prosecutor appointed to investigate him, her or them. However, if the past is prologue, the special prosecutor appointed makes all the difference in the world. One need go no further than Kenneth Starr, Whitewater, and the entire Clinton investigation, as an example of how far-reaching a special prosecution can be.
Mr. Starr is, and was, a gifted appellate lawyer, appellate judge, academician, and writer. What he wasn’t was a prosecutor. Moreover, he had no investigative background of any kind. Hence, with history as our guide, one sees that it became a prosecution completely out of control at every level. At the end of the day, the President was acquitted by the Senate and the prosecuting party was hurt by the process. An argument can be made that the country and all three branches of government were hurt as a result of it.
Former FBI Director Robert Mueller is exactly the type of special prosecutor one would want involved in a case to lend credibility and integrity to the end result. Mr. Mueller served under a Republican administration, and he was confirmed 100 to zero for his tenure to be extended by a Democratic President. Mr. Mueller is a 72-year old veteran of the United States Marine Corps. He earned his undergraduate degree from Princeton University, a Master’s degree in International Relations from New York University, and a law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law. In addition to his tenure at the FBI, Mr. Mueller’s public service has included time as a prosecutor in the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices for the Northern District of California, the District of Massachusetts, and the District of Columbia. He also served as an Assistant to Attorney General Dick Thornburgh during the late ‘80s and early ‘90s when he oversaw the prosecutions of Manuel Noriega and Gambino crime family boss John Gotti. He has a reputation for competency, expertise in difficult prosecutions, and, most importantly, absolute discretion.
Leaks are impossible to stop when an active criminal investigation is occurring in Washington. Everyone who knows Special Prosecutor Mueller believes that if there isn’t anything there, he is not going to proceed. He is not likely, unless forced by Congress, to issue a scathing or sensational report made up of yet unproven reports. He is someone who understands the importance of getting to the bottom of whether something happened or not.
Frankly, Mr. Mueller’s appointment as Special Prosecutor should provide all involved with a level of comfort that the investigation will be handled efficiently and appropriately. This should allow the President of the United States to get back to addressing policies important to the American people, knowing that the President’s actions and those of his colleagues will be investigated in an even-handed manner.