Tag: Patrick Fitzgerald

Special Prosecutor Is a Bad Idea


Amid the rumors and speculation regarding a new FBI director, the Democrats continue to cry out for a special prosecutor. I kept hearing that this step would be a bad idea, but I decided that finding out the reasons could be helpful. Let me give you some background and the reasons for taking an alternative course for continuing the investigation regarding the Trump campaign and Russia.

Many people are trying to compare Watergate with this current situation, which is a deeply flawed analogy. They are likely referring to Nixon’s firing of Archibald Cox who had been appointed as special prosecutor. Katy Harriger, a professor at Wake Forest University and author of The Special Prosecutor in American Politics, points out that a special prosecutor needs to be able to work independent of the President and Attorney General:

It was thus that Congress passed the Ethics in Government Act. The 1978 law formalized the process that had been going on for a century at that point, creating special prosecutors (renamed independent counsels in 1983, partly to avoid any implication of assumed guilt) and giving a panel of judges the right to pick them. After the law’s expiration in 1999, the Attorney General kept the right to appoint special counsels, with internal regulations determining the circumstances.