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Standing on Principle

Some Senate Democrats seem to be really desperate to have a special prosecutor appointed over the Russia allegations.  They are really, really hoping, I think, that a special prosecutor would be the kind of thorn in President Trump's side that Lawrence Walsh was in President Reagan's and Ken Starr was in President Clinton's.  It was that bipartisan experience that produced a bipartisan consensus that the independent counsel law be allowed to expire in 1999.

Aruna Viswanatha and Nicole Hong report for the WSJ:

President Donald Trump's nominee to be deputy attorney general on Tuesday wouldn't commit to appointing a special prosecutor to investigate any Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, saying he wasn't in the job yet and didn't know all the facts needed to make a decision.
If confirmed, Rod Rosenstein, currently the U.S. attorney in Maryland, would decide the course of any Russian probe because Attorney General Jeff Sessions last week recused himself from an investigation into the matter. That move followed a disclosure that Mr. Sessions had had contact with a Russian official during the Trump presidential campaign.

At his confirmation hearing Tuesday, Mr. Rosenstein, whom Mr. Trump nominated in January, said he trusted career prosecutors and investigators to reach appropriate conclusions in the matter.
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He also said part of his reluctance to commit to naming a special prosecutor was because it could hurt the nomination process for future deputy attorneys general who might be asked to make similar promises.

"I view it as an issue of principle that as a nominee for deputy attorney general, I should not be promising to take action on a particular case," he said.
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Democrats argued that given the involvement of Messrs. Trump and Sessions, the case required a special prosecutor from outside the Justice Department. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D., Conn.) said Tuesday he couldn't support Mr. Rosenstein's confirmation if he didn't commit to naming one.

Fortunately for Mr. Rosenstein, the Department of Justice, and the cause of justice, Senator Blumenthal's support is not required.  Thanks to Sen. Harry Strangelove Reid having gone nuclear during the Obama Administration, the Republicans need only hold their own party together.  With nothing specific against the nominee, I very much doubt any will go over the hill, and a few sensible Democrats may well vote against obstruction also.

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