Legal analysts are skeptical that DOJ will consider Trump’s special instructions | Media Pyro


Donald Trump’s indications that he may launch his 2024 candidacy are fueling discussions about appointing a special counsel to oversee the various criminal investigations into the former president – and warnings from legal experts have little benefit in thinking about the Department of Justice.

Justice Department officials have been tight-lipped on the issue, according to CNN, amid reports that Trump could announce a presidential bid Monday night.

Several legal analysts interviewed by The Hill said it was a bad idea for the Justice Department to appoint a special counsel.

“If they hire a special counsel because they think the prosecution of the former president will be protected from political attacks on the grounds that the impeachment is politically motivated, that would be foolish because it’s a little just the impact of going down that road. the breadth and scope of criticism,” said Jeff Robbins, an attorney now in private practice who has worked as a federal prosecutor and investigative consultant. of the Senate.

Legal experts say Attorney General Merrick Garland should know that many Trump supporters are unwilling to prosecute regardless of who is in power.

“If the appointment of special counsel is to prevent criticism, it’s not going to work,” said Michael Bromwich, who served as the Justice Department’s inspector general during the Clinton administration and the prosecutor for the special counsel who investigated it. the Iran-Contra scandal.

He said that people “don’t like any prosecutor who decides to impeach Trump and finds a way to make him uncomfortable.”

“So the attacks on Merrick Garland will continue if he keeps the case, and will continue if he appoints a special counsel to take over the decision-making authority on the case,” Bromwich said. “So I think he’s found a no-win situation for himself. And I think he knows that.

The Justice Department has its own procedures for when a special counsel is appointed to oversee an investigation, but ultimately the attorney general is given broad discretion as to when to do so.

Andrew Weissman, one of the prosecutors in Mueller’s investigation, said he suspected the Justice Department had already reviewed whether to bring in a special counsel and decided against it but was still reviewing it. as Trump announced.

“I think it’s a responsibility if they’re looking again,” he said.

“To me, I said because that’s what the Merrick Garland Department of Justice does. It’s a legal position. There’s a law that says you have to look into these matters. The facts can change so they have to look at it if they do.” they change their assessment if the information changes. And I suspect they will come out in the same place,” he said.

He added that the announcement of a Trump-run presidency would be little different from Trump being the “leader of the Republican party.”

“So I didn’t know there was such a difference in diagnosis,” Weissmann said.

The start of Trump’s campaign will increase the current pressures on the Justice Department. Experts say appointing a special counsel is a lengthy process for the Justice Department that has no time to lose.

In addition to hiring someone to take over the job, a special counsel should have time to read into Trump’s two investigations — one over his mishandling of presidential records found at Mar-a-Lago, the one related to his role in the January 6 attack on it. the Capitol.

“It’s going to be very slow. And one, I think, is a very strong argument, you want this trial and all the costs to overlap with the home of the presidential campaign,” said Bromwich.

And that may require significant resources from the Justice Department.

“I think that appointing a special counsel is in many ways more of a representation than the truth because they don’t just have to rely on what the Justice Department lawyers have done, maybe “A lot of those attorneys talk to a private attorney to get the job done right because that’s where the expertise is,” Bromwich added.

Robbins said the move will help counter arguments that special counsel is a “bad fig tree.”

It’s also not clear who the special counsel will be, or if it might even appeal to a strong candidate.

“If anyone has the credibility to be a non-prosecution, right-down-the-middle, irrefutable, it’s Bob Mueller. With great consideration on both sides of the aisle, it was approved by the FBI director reaching out to both sides of the aisle – the whole investigation. It didn’t affect the attack on him from Trump world one iota,” said Robbins.

Weissmann said he thinks the environment for special counsel has gotten worse since he helped with Mueller’s investigation into Trump and Russia.

“There’s a playbook for defrauding a special counsel. I didn’t think we’d be in a state of emergency. [time] when Robert Mueller became special counsel – although there were many threats, I think it reached a new level. It’s hard to imagine,” he said.

However, Robbins has little interest in looking outside the Justice Department as what he sees as the most suitable person for the time being is already in the job.

“How could you find anyone better able to stand above the fray than Merrick Garland, a respected former, gentle, by-the-book, brilliant, famous appellate court justice always tries to avoid showing. as a person of authority, and not as a stranger,” he said.

“How could you find a better person to serve as an impartial witness for such a simple trial?” Robbins asked.

“It’s not easy.”


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