The revelations about Russiaâ€™s deliberate and successful attempt to install a puppet President in the White House â€“ reinforced by Trumpâ€™s surprise selection of a Secretary of State whose current employer hasÂ $300 billion stake in removing the sanctions imposed on Russia for annexing Crimea and stirring up civil war in Ukraine â€“ raises the question of what anyone can do about it now, other than fuss and fume and resolve to treat Trump as someone with the legal powers of the Presidency but absolutely no moral authority or entitlement to deference (or even the presumption of good faith).
Iâ€™m pleased to report that John Weaver, Gov. Kasichâ€™s campaign strategist, has come up with the right idea: a Special Prosecutor charged with investigating any illegal conduct, including foreign interference and computer hacking, in the 2016 Presidential election. That prosecutor could be granted resources, subpoena power, and unlimited access to intelligence information. Such an appointment is within the power of the Attorney General, and the President may properly suggest such an appointment.
That would be a radical step for President Obama to take, and even somewhat out of character, so heâ€™s unlikely to do it unless he faces a groundswell of public support for the idea, including from some prominent Republicans (e.g., Lindsay Graham and John McCain).
Yes, as a matter of law Trump could dismiss that Special Prosecutor, or order his Attorney General to do so. But as a matter of politics that would be a very, very bad move on Trumpâ€™s part. Moreover, Sen. Sessions faces a confirmation hearing, and the Senate (with just a little bit of Republican help) could require an ironclad commitment not to carry out a second Saturday Night Massacre, or impede the investigation in any way, as a condition of confirmation. (At what point firing a prosecutor because heâ€™s getting too close to finding the truth becomes a criminal obstruction of justice is not, I think, a matter on which the courts have yet ruled.)
A Special Prosecutor can properly do what an ordinary prosecutor may not: issue a full report with respect to the findings of the investigation, whether or not it leads to prosecution. (Recall the long pornographic essay produced by the Lewinsky investigation.) So even if the process didnâ€™t take any scalps, it would produce an authoritative account of what was done, and by whom, to undermine American democracy.
Of course thereâ€™s an argument that the findings of that report might trigger another Presidential impeachment, or some other form of Constitutional crisis, and that â€“ now that weâ€™ve allowed a lunatic to get his hands on the nuclear codes â€“ we shouldnâ€™t do anything to make him even crazier, or to further weaken public trust in government. But I canâ€™t see it that way. If we tolerate cheating, weâ€™re just going to get more cheating, as certainly as Shelby County followed Bush v. Gore. Time to draw the line.
So we all have our assignments, donâ€™t we? Tweet, Facebook, and blog. Call your Member of Congress and your two Senators. Call the White House. Write letters to the editor. Talk to your friends and get them into action
Above all: never let up. Be as relentless about finding the truth as Trump will be about continuing to conceal it.