To Congress: Do your job – protect Robert Mueller
Andrew Harnik/AP

As Special Counsel Robert Mueller ’s special criminal probe gets ever closer to President Trump, there’s only one way to ensure it plays out to its conclusion: Congress must legally protect Mueller by re-establishing the Special Prosecutor’s office and putting him in charge of it.

Congress legalized Special Prosecutors in 1978, four years after Watergate, and after lawmakers actually did their job in 1973 by forcing Richard Nixon to guarantee the independence of the second Watergate Special Prosecutor, Leon Jaworski – after Nixon fired the first one, Archibald Cox. That Special Prosecutor law expired in 1999.

Right now, Mueller works under an appointment by Trump’s Justice Department, overseen by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. But Trump could fire Rosenstein, or force him to quit – thus further obstructing justice in the Mueller investigation at any minute.

And if you want a precedent for what could happen to Mueller, look what happened 45 years ago under then-President Nixon. It was called, for good reason, “The Saturday Night Massacre.”

With Cox moving ever closer to discovering Nixon’s Watergate cover-up, Nixon tried to short-circuit everything by ordering Attorney General Eliot Richardson and then Deputy AG William Ruckelshaus to fire Cox and shut things down.

Richardson refused and quit. Ruckelshaus refused and Nixon fired him. Watergate Judge John Sirica later wrote that it looked like a coup was taking place.

As he left, Cox declared: “Whether ours shall continue to be a government of laws and not of men is now for Congress and ultimately the American people” to decide.

Does this sound familiar? Trump could literally fire Rosenstein – and Mueller — tomorrow.

Is it any different now than it was in the Nixon years? No. Mueller, remember, still works for the Justice Department. He has no legal protection.

It’s up to Congress to pass a new Special Prosecutor law, with complete independence for the appointee, Mueller, and to let him finish the probe. And it’s up to the American people to throw out all the Republican lawmakers this November 6 who have thus far refused and will continue to refuse to protect democracy in the United States.


PW Editorial Board
PW Editorial Board

People’s World editorial board: Editor-in-Chief John Wojcik,  Managing Editor C.J. Atkins, Copy Editor Eric A. Gordon, Washington D.C. Bureau Chief Mark Gruenberg, Social Media Editor Chauncey K. Robinson, Senior Editor Roberta Wood, Senior Editor Joe Sims