President George W. Bush is publicly entertaining the idea of a special prosecutor to investigate possible relationships between Russia and President Trump's circle, the New York Times reports:
In a television interview to promote a new book of his paintings, Mr. Bush indicated that important questions were raised by reported contacts between Russian officials and Mr. Trump's associates during last year's election campaign. Mr. Trump forced out his national security adviser for withholding information about a call with Russia's ambassador.
"I think we all need answers," Mr. Bush said on the "Today" show on NBC. He said he would defer to Senator Richard M. Burr, Republican of North Carolina and chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, about how such an investigation should be conducted. He is a "really good guy, and an independent thinker," Mr. Bush said of Mr. Burr, "and if he were to recommend a special prosecutor, then it would have a lot more credibility with me."
The New York Times had a February 17 editorial, "Bring on the Special Prosecutor," endorsing the idea. A Republican congressman, Darrell Issa, has come out in favor of it. The Boston Globe, owned by Boston Red Sox proprietor John Henry, just editorialized in favor of the idea, under the headline "Appoint an independent prosecutor for Trump-Russia claims."
Before anyone — President Trump, Attorney General Sessions, or any Republican in Congress — goes any further along this mistaken road, Mr. Trump might want to do two things. First, have a private conversation with President Clinton about what a terrible idea it is to appoint an unaccountable prosecutor with an unlimited budget, subpoena and deposition-taking powers, and no time limit to go on a fishing expedition in search of a crime with which to tar the president or his advisers. Second, read Justice Scalia's dissent in the Supreme Court case of Morrison v. Olson, about the separation of powers issues and the risk of "weakening the presidency" by sapping the "boldness" of the president himself. If Mr. Trump doesn't get the point by then, he could invite the candidate he turned down for the no. 2 spot at the State Department, Elliott Abrams — or for that matter, former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn's co-author Michael Ledeen — for a personal recounting of the misery inflicted by the Iran-Contra special prosecutor. (Though Abrams, of whom I am generally an admirer, hasn't always been as clear and consistent as I might have hoped on the point.)
In other words, there isn't much of a more surefire way to wreck a presidency than to accede to this demand. Even if Mr. Trump genuinely believes there's no "there" there, it doesn't matter. The special prosecutor will find a "there," even if there isn't one. I can't be much more emphatic other than to say that if President Trump is foolish enough to allow a special prosecutor, he deserves whatever subsequent destruction is wrought.