As the Trump presidency enters its fourth month, conservatives are eager for more legislative successes, more nominations and confirmations of judges, the rapid confirmation of a new FBI director and other achievements. Given the charges of collusion and obstruction that have dogged Donald Trump and his administration from before he took his oath of office as president, the appointment of former FBI director Robert Mueller as a special prosecutor to oversee the Justice Department's inquiry into those charges is a greatly encouraging development. In Mueller, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has made an excellent choice that will allow Republicans to again concentrate on turning the country around.
It's true that I have opposed a special prosecutor in the past. I did so for two reasons. First, if the allegations of the politicization of the IRS during Barack Obama's presidency didn't warrant a special prosecutor, then one certainly isn't necessary now. Second, I feared that the individual chosen as special prosecutor would not be another Jacob Stein the independent counsel who efficiently investigated charges against Attorney General-designate Edwin Meese when Meese was nominated for that job, clearing Meese within months. Instead, the appointee would be another Lawrence Walsh, who, for a variety of reasons, let his investigations into the Iran-contra affair linger and metastasize over years and years. Walsh was appointed in December of 1986. He submitted his final report on Aug. 4, 1993. I don't want to relitigate Iran-contra; I merely point out that a six-plus-year investigation into any scandal is not what either special prosecutors (appointed by the attorney general or, in this case, his deputy) or the old independent counsels (appointed by a panel of judges under a statute now expired) were thought to be about.
The bar is lower for Republicans, of course, and so the media joined in the clamor for a special counsel here whereas the IRS scandal didn't ignite such demands. But set that aside. With the right professional in the job, it is, as a practical matter of politics and government, better to go this route than to prolong the media frenzy about whether such a professional is needed.