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Democrats Find New Leverage In Push for Special Prosecutor

by Countable | 3.20.17

President Trump’s nominee for Deputy Attorney General, U.S. Attorney for Maryland Rod Rosenstein, may have to contend with more hurdles in his upcoming confirmation process than anyone bargained for. When Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from any departmental investigations of the Trump administration’s ties to Russia he provided leverage for Democratic senators in their ongoing call for a special prosecutor.

In the absence of the Attorney General, the responsibility for naming a special prosecutor falls to the Deputy Attorney General. Since the firing of Sally Yates in February, Acting Attorney General Dana Boente has filled the position, but Rosenstein’s nomination will come before the Senate Judiciary Committee this month. Senators on the committee can insist that Rosenstein name a special prosecutor before they advance his nomination out of committee.

Historical precedent exists for such a move. In 1973, then President Nixon nominated Elliot Richardson to the position of Attorney General. During confirmation hearings with the Judiciary Committee, senators not only insisted that Richardson commit to appointing a special prosecutor to investigate Nixon, they forced him to name his appointment — one-time Solicitor General Archibald Cox. Then both Richardson and Cox were questioned by the committee about Cox’s potential degree of independence in the future investigation. Only then was Richardson advanced out of committee. Soon after Cox was named special prosecutor and Richardson eventually resigned rather than be forced by Nixon to fire him.

Cox, and his eventual successor Leon Jaworski, were followed on the list of special prosecutors by Kenneth Starr, whose Whitewater investigation eventually led to President Clinton’s impeachment proceedings. Patrick Fitzgerald was then appointed to investigate the exposure of Valerie Plame during the administration of President George W. Bush. Adding to historical precedent, Fitzgerald was appointed by then-Deputy General James Comey after Attorney General John Ashcroft recused himself.

Seven out of the nine Democratic current members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, including ranking member Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), have already called for a special prosecutor, as has Republican Lindsey Graham (R-SC). If Graham joins all the Democratic members of the committee in demanding that Rosenstein name a special prosecutor in his confirmation hearing they can hold his nomination in committee until he does.

Current members of the Senate Judiciary Committee include Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Dick Durbin (D-IL), John Cornyn (R-TX), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Michael Lee (R-UT), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Al Franken (D-MN), Ben Sasse (R-NE), Christopher Coons (D-DE), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and Thom Tillis (R-NC).

Do you think senators should demand Rosenstein name a special prosecutor during his confirmation? Take action now to let them know!

— Asha Sanaker

(Photo Credit: Glenn Fawcett / Public Domain)

Countable

Written by Countable

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(1,536)
  • Vicki
    03/04/2017
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    What are they hiding? If they were innocent of collusion with Russia, they wouldn't be pushing back so hard!

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  • Darin
    03/04/2017
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    A special prosecutor is essential for heading up the investigation into 45's connections with Russia. We deserve to know the truth!

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  • Shishi
    03/04/2017
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    It is your patriotic duity to use your elected office to do all humanly possible to ensure Russian involvement in US democracy is investigated in fair and non partisan fashion

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  • Shawn
    03/04/2017
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    Drain the swamp means being transparent. If there is nothing to see then there will be nothing to find. During the past 8 yrs we investigated equally concerning allegations MULTIPLE times. This deserves to be reviewed at least ONCE.

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  • Jimc
    03/04/2017
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    If the Trump administration really has illicit ties to Russia, Democrats and Republicans need to turn down the partisan rhetoric to get to the bottom of the matter. They need to make it easier, not harder, to question the administration. You need to appeal to your colleges sense of patriotism and their oath to defend the constitution.

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  • Eric
    03/03/2017
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    Absolutely, yes! A special prosecutor must lead this Russian-related investigation. We, the people, deserve the truth, no matter where it leads.

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  • Joan
    03/04/2017
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    The Republicans are working so hard to trivialize the connection between the Trump administration and "Mother Russia". Appoint an independent investigator and get this done!

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  • N8rags
    03/03/2017
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    You have an obligation to seek the truth in all cases. You spent millions investigating Hillary Clinton, and you better investigate Mr. Pence, Mr. Sessions and Mr. Trump fully and completely regardless of politics. Acting as though a special set of rules applies to the opposition party and not to you is the crux of corruption. Investigate. Do it well. Have the courage of your convictions and stand by your past votes and claims. You serve all Americans, including the generations that cannot yet vote or buy you with lobbying dollars. Act like it.

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  • Priscilla
    03/07/2017
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    This Russian connection needs to be investigated by an independent committee especially because it is a republican congress which would be a definite conflict of interest to the American people

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  • Pmbirdsong
    03/03/2017
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    I continue to urge you to push for a bipartisan independent investigation in regards to Russia's ties to our election and government. I also urge you to include American citizens on this panel to ensure justice prevails.

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  • Martin
    03/04/2017
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    Approve the special prosecutor. Let's see where this goes. Find answers. Did 45 work with Russia's illegal acts against our country?

    Like (16)
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  • Jennifer
    03/03/2017
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    Yes there should be a special prosecutor to investigate ties with Russia!!

    Like (13)
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  • Anita
    03/04/2017
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    There should and must be independent investigation of this administration's ties to russia. The deputy AG needs to name a special prosecutor who has full subpoena power. He or she has to have that authority. Do your job and uphold the laws of this land. Save our fundamental democratic principles.

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  • Dianne
    03/06/2017
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    The Senate Judiciary Committee must insist that Rosenstein name a special prosecutor, before they advance his nomination. Otherwise, the American people won't get a fair investigation into the ties between the Trump administration and Russia. Our democracy relies on it!

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  • Carol
    03/07/2017
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    Make him assign a Special Prosecutor to investigate this Presidents illegal business deals

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  • John
    03/05/2017
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    Senators Cruz and Cornyn, as members of the Senate Judiciary committee, you have the rare opportunity to spark the beginning of the process to rebuild trust in the law enforcement organizations in this country—particularly those at the Federal level. I urge you both to push for the appointment of a special prosecutor in the matter of Donald Trump's campaign for President and its communications and other ties to the government of the Russian Federation and especially to their President Vladimir Putin. Regardless of the outcome, the American people deserve to know the truth. If the truth lead to criminal prosecution, so be it so that our country can heal and be one again assured of our security. If the truth lead to exoneration, so be it so that we can move passed this issue and take on other urgent matters. To leave this issue unresolved will create a dark cloud under which this administration will always be shadowed. Do the right thing for your country and its people.

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  • Susanne
    03/07/2017
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    Please stay focused on the Russia issue and determining whether or not the key cabinet people like Jeff Sessions have been corrupted and should resign from their post. Thanks

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  • Mary
    03/03/2017
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    Please continue to push for an independent investigation into the Russian interference as well as their many ties to the Trump Administration! Of further importance as well, I would like to see Sessions held accountable for perjuring himself - this action will discourage further officials from thinking that they can lie under oath to Congress and the American People.

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  • Dd
    03/04/2017
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    Again, any Dem who folds on demanding an Independent special prosecutor will find a very chilly homecoming. And Republicans should understand that the bulwark of this failing presidency will NOT protect them over time...and why is Bannon still on the NSC committee?

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  • Peterj08
    03/03/2017
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    The situation concerning Russia is troubling on many accounts but foremost is the refusal to disclose these conversations and thusly lying to the American people about them. In order to find the truth we need a special prosecutor not the AG appointed and involved with the trump campaign himself. This effort must be completely separate from partisanship, this can be the first step to clearing the confusion and moving away from an "Us vs Them" dialogue. It's not what the republican nor democrats did(n't) say or do, it's working together for the betterment of OUR country.

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