Jack Smith, the New Special Counsel, Is Schooled in Corruption Cases, Now He Just Needs to Get His Foot in the Door
Last week, the Wall Street Journalreported that President Donald J. Trump ordered the firing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions for not pursuing charges against Democratic Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe for allegedly violating state ethics rules by accepting a sweetheart deal for a lobbying job in exchange for using his office as a conduit to sell President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act to the state. (See the WSJ’s March 20 story here.)
As Trump’s critics have repeatedly noted, this is the first sign of an impending attack on the rule of law, which the president routinely lambastes. But that isn’t how the firing came about: A federal prosecutor on the Special Counsel Robert Mueller team was fired by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein because he was too critical of the president to the president’s taste and had refused to be intimidated into recanting.
There is just one problem: James Comey, the man who fired Mueller, is a former director of the FBI and a former prosecutor who has had an illustrious career in the New York and Washington legal communities. Comey’s firing came out of nowhere and wasn’t prompted by Mueller’s refusal to be intimidated into not prosecuting Trump’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, for violating federal lobbying laws (and also the non-lobbyist campaign finance laws he broke).
And it’s worth noting that there appears to be no reason for Mueller to be fired for not prosecuting Trump’s former attorney. If Trump was going to be a crook anyway, there’s no reason to believe Mueller would be any more susceptible to being corruptly entrapped than any other prosecutor working for the Department of Justice.
Comey, like McCabe and Rosenstein, is a career prosecutor, but he appears to be one particularly vulnerable to the enticements of Trump. I’m no lawyer, and