Full Disclosure before I start - I think President Trump is doing a good job in the face of brutal opposition. I like it.
That said, in February 2019, a newly nominated Attorney General was confirmed by the Senate. The nomination of the Attorney General is proposed by the President and confirmed by the Senate, as are all Cabinet or senior administration officials. I have listened carefully to all that he has said (publicly) and I am impressed with his knowledge of the law as it applies to the major issues that come before him, the role of the Attorney General and his defense of the Rule of Law. He has been unflappable in his appearances before Congress and has given strong answers to Congressmen and Senators without confrontation or bitterness.
The Special Counsel governing laws and regulations are significantly different than the previous Independent Counsel Statutes and rules. If I am not mistaken, the current authority for a special counsel is found in the Code of Federal Regulations, Chapter 6. The previous Independent Counsel law (Ethics in Government Act 1977) permitted the AG to request the appointment of an Independent Counsel by a three-judge panel (Congress could compel the initiation of such a process). The final report was presented to Congress. Congress held a lot of the power under this act and the act expired and was not renewed in 1999. Congressman (and Judicial Committee Chairman) Nadler voiced much of the opposition of the EiG act - somewhat different than his current positions on the Special Counsel procedure.
The Special Counsel is part of the Department of Justice. He has the same authority as any US Attorney, although his area of jurisdiction can be expanded, if needed.) and he answers to the Attorney General. (Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein was asked to hold over until the Special Counsel (Mueller) report was complete, as he had exercised supervision and control of the Special Counsel's Office following Attorney General Sessions' recusal from the Russian Collusion case. The report of the special counsel is confidential and is submitted to the Attorney General - and it is within the discretion of the AG whether the report is released to Congress or to the public.
AG Barr had given his word in his confirmation hearings that he would release the Mueller report to Congress and to the public, subject to redactions that may be required by law or regulations. He provided a brief summary of the substantial findings of the report immediately and promised to release the full report with redactions required by law within weeks.
Public response (Democrat) has been difficult with all manner of accusations against the Attorney General. I believe that the summary report was an accurate attempt to capture the main points of Muller's report - including quotes from the Mueller report, including the ambivalence of the report sections on Obstruction of Justice. AG Barr analyzed the facts and the law along with Rod Rosenstein and lawyers from the Office of Legal Counsel of the DOJ and concluded that the factual basis for any criminal charge of obstruction was insufficient in law without reference to other Department of Justice policies concerning the President.
Now Attorney General Barr has caused some consternation among Democrats and the News Media by mentioning that the story of how we got here seems to be missing from the Mueller report and he intends to initiate further investigations into whether the FBI acted properly and whether the heads of the Intelligence Community acted properly. This could lead to the investigation into the Clinton e-mails and the possibility that the so-called dossier dealing with Russian collusion which is alleged to have been created and paid for by the DNC and the Clinton campaign. The mere fact of spying on the Trump campaign may have been properly predicated but the opportunity seems to exist that individuals in high positions in intelligence and law enforcement acted improperly and used their positions of power to try to unseat our elected President by misusing their legal processes in an attempt to stage a coup in our country.
Attorney General Barr has demonstrated that he does not object to turning over rocks to get to the truth. He has received a delegation of power from the President to declassify many of the documents that we have not yet seen to include 302's (the FBI internal reports on investigative meetings and interviews) and the FISA Court applications and transcripts of hearings, transcripts on additional email files and other previously classified documents.
This is all background for the title of this article. And I am pleased with the progress. The Rule of Law with its requirements for due process is necessary to our way of life and is the lifeblood of our political system. The alleged attack on President and his administration, if proven, is an existential threat to the United States as the type of country that I have lived in and loved for more than seventy years. The potential abuse of power by persons who think they are above the law (whether we are speaking of the President or the deep state bureaucrats and the news media) cannot be permitted. I believe that we owe our faith in this country and its flag to the military and civil authorities that enforce our laws and defend our shores. If the abuses of power are found to exist, we must hold these swamp-dwelling creatures fully and legally accountable to our system of equal justice for all citizens or we will have to adapt to some other system of government and the United States will have turned into something else.
I believe that Donald Trump despite his frustration along the way has been denied due process of law. I hope that Attorney General Barr can correct some of what ails us in the near future. We too easily forget in our system that we can put politics above due process for a while but if we forget the concept that in our system of justice we are all innocent until proven guilty, we are truly lost.
But will AG Barr have the courage to carry out the mission that he seems to have adopted. The tentacles of this case may reach into the highest levels of the previous administration. It seems that if every administration investigates and weaponizes policy to punish the leaders of the previous administration we may be trading one form of corruption for another. Time will tell. But to this point, AG Barr is so far only conducting exploratory surgery. If and when he authorizes John Durham, US Attorney from Connecticut, who appears to be his point man for these investigations, to issue subpoenas and call possible defendants before a grand jury (or several), then I will know that he is serious and I will feel that I and the future of my country are in good hands.