Christopher Tidmore-New Orleans Elections

Tuesday, 23 May 2017 12:40

The Special vs.Independent counsels & "fake news" lexicon of Trump-Russia scandal

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Special counsel, independent counsel, Rod Rosenstein, Robert Mueller, fake news--Like the old baseball scorecard adage, you can't watch a Washington DC scandal unless you know the players (and the terminology).

That's where those close to the scene, who know the law are becoming more valuable as every day passes.

The nation's capital is indeed embroiled in one of the most explosive scorchers in modern presidential history.  Last week, Rod Rosenstein, the assistant Attorney General appointed a “special counsel” to investigate any criminal actions.  Since taking that step, many in the news media, social media and elsewhere have used the term “special counsel” interchangeably with “Independent counsel”.  However, they are not the same.

Plus, the names of the lead players, some familiar, some not, are making its way in embedding upon our national consciousness.

Which, in part, is one of the reasons I wanted to interview Caroline Fredrickson once again. 

Ms. Fredrickson is President of American Constitution Society of Law and Policy, a progressive organization representing constitutional law attorneys.  Early this morning I spoke with her during a Facebook Live event to get better information about just what the heck is going on?  

For starts, let's get the terminology right.  What exactly is a "special counsel" and how does it compare to an "independent counsel"?

Ms. Fredrickson, an attorney said the independent counsel statute was allowed to expire.  When you think of "independent counsel, perhaps the name Kenneth Star of Whitewater and Monica Lewinsky-Clinton fame comes to mind?  In its place, is the “special counsel” provision which she said has less power compared to the independent counsel position.

Fredrickson said, somebody appointed to be “special counsel” does not have “nearly as broad an authority or independence as the independent counsel”.

So how did we, as a country, get to this quandary once again where our President is under intense scrutiny even to the extent that the phrase "obstruction of justice" is being discussed in the media, Congress and even in the White House?.  Scandals occurred during the Nixon, Reagan, Clinton and to an extent, in the George W. Bush administration, but how and why did it occur this early during the administration that a “special counsel” has been appointed, and not by the person who owns the authority, the Attorney General?

Also, what about the allegations of “fake news” that are uttered by many Trump supporters and the President himself since so many of the news reports on the issue of the Trump-Russia controversy is based upon unnamed sources?

These are just two of the issues we discussed.  Watch the short video and learn more.

Part 2 tomorrow

 

Last modified on Tuesday, 23 May 2017 13:11
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