Special Counsel Takes Over
Late yesterday afternoon there was yet another big development in a week of big developments. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced the appointment of a "special counsel" -- former FBI Director Robert Mueller -- to take over the investigation of Russian influence in the election and possible campaign collusion.
In a statement, Rosenstein said:
"My decision is not a finding that crimes have been committed or that any prosecution is warranted. I have made no such determination. What I have determined is that . . . a Special Counsel is necessary in order for the American people to have full confidence in the outcome."
Rosenstein empowered Mueller with broad authority to investigate "any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump" as well as "any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation." The order further states, "The special counsel is authorized to prosecute federal crimes arising from the investigation of these matters."
Responding to Mueller's appointment, President Trump said last night:
"As I have stated many times, a thorough investigation will confirm what we already know -- there was no collusion between my campaign and any foreign entity. I look forward to this matter concluding quickly. In the meantime, I will never stop fighting for the people and the issues that matter most to the future of our country."
The initial reaction on Capitol Hill was largely positive, with Mueller earning praise as a dedicated patriot and public servant. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) said that Mueller "has sterling credentials and is above reproach." Senate Democrat Leader Chuck Schumer said, "Former Director Mueller is exactly the right kind of individual for this job."
Former federal prosecutor and National Review columnist Andrew McCarthy wrote that Mueller "is a straight shooter, by the book, and studiously devoid of flash." Rep. Louie Gohmert, however, is not a fan.
During an interview on Fox News last night, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, expressed concerns. "I don't think they should have actually appointed somebody," Chaffetz said. "I have not seen any evidence of actual collusion. Where is the actual crime that they think they need a special prosecutor to prosecute?"
Chaffetz is right. This special counsel was appointed to investigate something for which there is not one scintilla of evidence, which the deputy attorney general alluded to in his statement.
Even former top Obama officials and congressional Democrats have publicly stated that there is no evidence of collusion.
Various reports indicate that Mueller is being given 60 days just to draft a budget for his investigation. That means it will be mid-July at the earliest before his investigation begins, a year after the FBI launched its investigation.
The Double Standard
You have to hand it to the left -- it knows how to drive a narrative. Progressives have been demanding a special counsel. And, thanks almost entirely to the constant drumbeat of their biased media allies, they got one just 116 days into the Trump presidency.
As President Trump noted this morning, the double standard is disgusting.
Where was the special prosecutor for the IRS scandal?
Where was the special prosecutor for the VA scandal?
Where was the special prosecutor for the Fast and Furious scandal?
Where was the special prosecutor for Hillary Clinton's "extremely careless" and scandalous mishandling of national security secrets?
Where was the special prosecutor for the highly unethical tarmac meeting between Bill Clinton and Loretta Lynch?
Where was the special prosecutor for the Clinton Foundation's collusion to sell our uranium to the Russians?
So many times over the past eight years, scandals would erupt and many people would think, "This might result in a special prosecutor." Sadly, those of us who have been around the block a few times, knew better. There was no way that Barack Obama's Justice Department would ever allow it and the fawning left-wing media would never demand it.
But once conservatives are in power, the entire left-wing media/political establishment goes to war. And there is no doubt that the D.C. swamp is at war with Donald Trump.
Kudos to Rush Limbaugh for reminding his listeners yesterday why there is such opposition to President Trump. He said that in the minds of the media and the progressive left, Trump's "crime" was defeating Hillary Clinton and stopping the left's fundamental transformation of America. But there was more. Rush said that Trump declared war on the D.C. establishment when he said this in his inaugural address:
"Today's ceremony, however, has very special meaning. Because today we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another, or from one party to another -- but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to you, the American people.
"For too long, a small group in our nation's Capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost. Washington flourished, but the people did not share in its wealth. . . The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country.
"Their victories have not been your victories; their triumphs have not been your triumphs; and while they celebrated in our nation's capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land.
"That all changes starting right here, and right now, because this moment is your moment: it belongs to you."
Of course, liberals immediately vowed to resist Trump. But they weren't the only ones opposed to the new president's agenda.
Former President George W. Bush seemed baffled by what he heard. And, as we have seen from the very beginning, some of the most vociferous anti-Trump opponents have been the "Never Trumpers" in the GOP.