On Politics: Mueller right choice for special counsel
May 26, 2017
Arrrgghhh! I have been writing weekly political columns for the Bonanza for over 15 years and last week I made a freshman mistake.
At the end of last week's column on Donald Trump, I predicted that a special counsel was unlikely and impeachment a definite "no" based on GOP strength in Congress and control of the White House. Wouldn't you know it the day before the print edition of the Bonanza hit the streets acting Attorney General Rosenstein appointed former FBI Director Bob Mueller as special counsel? Humiliating!
President Trump and most GOP Congressional leaders had opposed appointment of a special counsel, so I figured it couldn't happen. My problem was that I failed to consider the brilliant strategy of appointing an honest broker like Mueller because previous special counsel had been career-building publicity seekers.
The appointment of Mueller should end partisan excesses, such as the Washington Post and New York Times attempting to try President Trump in the newspapers based on anonymous sources. Yep, the adults are in charge now.
What's so special about Bob Mueller that, even in the explosive atmosphere of Washington, D.C., Democratic and Republican leaders agree that his investigation will be professional and leak-proof, and that the result will be factual and honest? Let's take a look.
Mueller graduated in 1966 from Princeton University, earned his master's degree in international law from New York University in 1967, and graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1973. He joined the U.S. Marine Corps, attended Army Ranger School, and led a rifle platoon during the Vietnam War. He was wounded in action, and awarded the Purple Heart and bronze star.
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After a stint in private practice in San Francisco, Mueller joined the U.S. Attorney's Office in Northern California and later in Boston. He was selected to head up the FBI by President George W. Bush just seven days before the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, so he got a baptism of fire.
His confirmation vote was 98-0 in a Senate that was evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats. He guided the FBI through those challenging days in which new and far-reaching homeland security laws were enacted by Congress, many on recommendations by Mueller's agency.
He was handed an FBI, which was badly demoralized following the Clinton administration's involvement of the agency in a deadly clash with the Branch Davidian religious cult in Waco, Texas. Additionally it became public that FBI agent Robert Hanssen was recruited as a spy by Russia. Mueller restored morale in the agency, and his leadership brought it to peak performance.
He headed the FBI from 2001-11, serving Republican President George W. Bush and Democratic President Barack Obama. In 2011, President Obama asked him to serve an additional two years, a nomination that was approved by the Senate 100-0. In 2013, he returned to private practice where he has been specializing in cyber security.
Although Mueller is a Republican, both Republicans and key Democrats lauded his appointment as special counsel. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Mueller "is exactly the right . . . individual for the job." Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) said: "There's no better person who could be asked to perform this function."
So what's next? Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz told a national television audience last Friday that this could really help Trump. He identified himself as an academic liberal who voted for Hillary; then he acknowledged Mueller's ironclad reputation as a straight shooter. Finally he added: "Taking all the Democrat allegations and the media's 'anonymous source' indictments as true, where's the crime? Nothing alleged is illegal. Mueller, he concluded, "will not be fooled by smoke and mirrors".
Jim Clark is president of Republican Advocates. He has served on the Washoe County and Nevada GOP Central Committees. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.