the national interest

Trump Does Not Understand What ‘Special Counsel’ Means

Photo: Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Since the special counsel investigation began, President Trump has been regularly flinging a series of attacks. There is No Collusion, it is a Witch Hunt, the investigation costs too much, Robert Mueller is conflicted over a golf club membership dispute. Trump has not abandoned any of these arguments, but of late he has begun to emphasize a different one: Mueller is biased because he is not prosecuting Hillary Clinton and the Democrats.

Trump questioned yesterday why Mueller isn’t prosecuting the other side:

This morning he returned to the theme in an epic storm of rage tweets:

This claim is obviously nonsense on multiple levels. The Justice Department has investigated both the Clinton Foundation and Hillary Clinton’s email use and declined to prosecute. Even if Clinton was guilty, it would have no bearing on Trump’s guilt. And even if a new investigation were required, Mueller would not be responsible for it.

The reason his job is called “special counsel” is not that Mueller is just considered a special person and the Justice Department wants him to feel good. It’s that he is tasked with the special role of investigating Russian interference in the election. He does not have the job of investigating all the famous politicians on television.

Trump seems to be settling on the line of defense that, because Mueller didn’t prosecute any Democrats, he is inherently biased and whatever charges he produces should be ignored. This is worth bearing in mind when noting Trump’s obsession with directing the Justice Department to gin up charges against various Trump antagonists. It is not only that Trump wants to smear and intimidate his opponents, but also that he sees accusations against the other side as an essential part of his own defense.

Trump Does Not Understand What ‘Special Counsel’ Means