November 28, 2022

JACKED UP: Pundits ponder the necessity of a Special Counsel

JACKED UP: Pundits ponder the necessity of a Special Counsel

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On Friday, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the appointment of Jack Smith as Special Counsel for the Justice Department. He will oversee the stolen classified documents case against Donald Trump as well as some of the aspects of the January 6 insurrection.

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Smith is a universally respected prosecutor with vast experience who has brought cases everywhere from Brooklyn to The Hague. No one questions his integrity or his unique ability to probe into criminal activity.

“He is a phenomenal investigator,” a former colleague, Moe Fodeman, told CNN. “He leaves no stone unturned.”

“He’s going to be really aggressive,” another said, adding that “things are going to speed up.”

Yet a debate rages on as to whether Garland is correct in appointing a special counsel. Many want Garland to act now, concerned that, like with Robert Mueller, a special counsel investigation will simply take too long – arguing that there’s no need to work on building a case that’s really already built.

They’ve also pointed out that there’s no need to go to great lengths to make the investigation of Trump appear impartial, as Trumpers will dismiss whatever evidence there is regardless of from whence comes.

Former solicitor general of the United States and current Georgetown Law professor Neal Katyal has been one of the more outspoken critics of the move.

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He’s not alone in this assessment.

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Yet others who previously opposed the special counsel have come around, including Laurence Tribe and Jill Wine-Banks.

Unfortunately, while Smith certainly seems highly qualified, we have seen this show before, and the actions taken by Garland are right in line with the look-like-you’re-doing-something dynamic without actually doing much. The truth is, there is plenty of evidence to arrest Trump right now – for stealing documents and for trying to steal our democracy.

And there’s frankly too much of an obsession with trying to find someone who appears to be “impartial.” A big deal has been made out of the fact that Jack Smith is a registered independent who has gone after Democrats and Republicans – as if there’s just as much corruption on both sides.

In truth, there’s nothing wrong with having a passionate prosecutor, so long as that prosecutor recognizes people’s civil rights. No one thought Thomas Dewey lacked integrity because he wanted to put all the gangsters behind bars. The IRS agents who nabbed Capone weren’t selected because they saw his point of view too. Why is it that people like Garland still suffer from the mystical belief that “If only we find the right person, everyone will say we did it right?”

They won’t.

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Perhaps Tribe and Wine-Banks will prove correct: maybe Smith is the guy for this job and he’ll get it done. But let’s not fall into a perpetual loop of “gathering evidence” when we have the Orange Demon on video encouraging insurrection, on tape calling for an election to be overturned, and red-handed with confidential documents.

Help me carry on the fight against Agent Orange of Stupidsville and the Republicans by following me on Twitter. @RossRosenfeld

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