Russia investigation: A special prosecutor?
“The Trump White House just inflicted a serious wound on itself,” said Greg Sargent in Washington Post.com. White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus was forced to admit last week that he’d meddled in an FBI investigation into repeated contacts during the 2016 campaign between Trump associates and Russia. After The New York Times reported on the investigation into those contacts, Priebus asked the FBI to tell that newspaper and others that the story wasn’t true. FBI Director James Comey refused Priebus’ request because it concerned an active investigation—a clear violation of rules prohibiting “political interference” in the bureau’s work. An angry Priebus later insisted that FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe approached him to assure him that the Times story was false—and that it was only then that he asked McCabe and Comey to set the record straight. Either way, said Malcolm Nance in TheGuardian.com, Priebus’ panicky behavior “reveals the fear in the White House that there may actually be a smoking gun” yet to be revealed about Trump and Russia’s hacking of Democratic officials.
To get to the bottom of this scandal, said David Corn in MotherJones.com, we obviously need a special prosecutor. The FBI will decide only whether a crime was committed, and reveal little about what it discovers. As for Congress, White House officials also admitted last week that they had “enlisted” senior Republican lawmakers to call reporters to dispute the original Times story— including Rep. Devin Nunes and Sen. Richard Burr, the chairmen of the two intelligence committees tasked with investigating Moscow’s involvement in the election. How can Nunes and Burr conduct an independent investigation after taking part in this “spin campaign”? When Republican Rep. Darrell Issa called for a special prosecutor last week, Nunes said it would be wrong to launch a “witch hunt” against “innocent Americans.”
“The media and Democrats continue to beat this drum,” said Patricia McCarthy in American Thinker.com. But there is still “absolutely no evidence” of any contact between Trump aides and Russia during the campaign. The malicious leaks from the intelligence agencies may be an attempt by “anti-Trumpsters” to bring down the new president. Wait—if the Russia story is totally bogus, said Jennifer Rubin in Washington Post.com, then why are White House officials asking investigators to draw premature conclusions? Their claim that “there is nothing to see here sure rings hollow.”