A ques­tion of in­de­pen­dence

The Washington Post Sunday - - SUNDAY OPINION -

I agree with the point in the March 9 ed­i­to­rial “A strong pick for Jus­tice” that deputy at­tor­ney gen­eral nom­i­nee Rod J. Rosen­stein is a ca­reer prose­cu­tor with im­pres­sive qual­i­fi­ca­tions. But his con­fir­ma­tion is not a ques­tion of le­gal pedi­gree; it is a ques­tion of in­de­pen­dence. The need for a spe­cial prose­cu­tor is al­ready a mat­ter of pub­lic record. Mr. Rosen­stein has claimed that he needs to be in of­fice to fa­mil­iar­ize him­self with the facts be­fore ap­point­ing a spe­cial prose­cu­tor.

But we al­ready know that Rus­sia in­ter­fered in the 2016 elec­tion. We know At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions met with of­fi­cials of Rus­sia’s gov­ern­ment yet said un­der oath that he did not meet with the Rus­sians.

Mr. Rosen­stein was hired by Pres­i­dent Trump and can be fired by him. We need an in­de­pen­dent in­ves­ti­ga­tion into what hap­pened, who knew about it and when. The deputy at­tor­ney gen­eral can­not in­ves­ti­gate his own bosses.

Like any good lawyer, Mr. Rosen­stein should con­sult prece­dent. In the Water­gate era, El­liot Richard­son agreed to ap­point a spe­cial prose­cu­tor be­fore his con­fir­ma­tion to be at­tor­ney gen­eral un­der Pres­i­dent Richard Nixon. Mr. Richard­son knew then — and Mr. Rosen­stein should know now — that in­de­pen­dence is vi­tal to any in­ves­ti­ga­tion of law­less­ness at the high­est lev­els of our gov­ern­ment. The Amer­i­can peo­ple de­serve noth­ing less. Richard Blu­men­thal, Wash­ing­ton The writer, a Demo­crat, rep­re­sents

Con­necti­cut in the Se­nate.

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