To tap into his lawlerly wisdom (and because we love the guy), Buck welcomed National Review columnist David French to the Freedom Hut to get his take on the appointment of a special counsel in the Trump/Russia collusion investigation.
Buck began by asking what the difference was between a “special prosecutor,” as the position was known during the Clinton impeachment trials, and “special counsel.”
“The Ken Starr-style independent counsel doesn’t exist any more,” said French. “That was a position where essentially you had a prosecutor who didn’t answer to anyone but a panel of judges. Justice Scalia thought the whole position was constitutionally problematic–and I agree. It takes a prosecutor out of the executive branch of government.”
“A special counsel is somebody who is appointed in extraordinary circumstances,” French continued. “They don’t answer day to day to the Attorney General, but they are under the rubric of the DOJ. The goal is to have a degree of independence without creating a freestanding branch of government that’s outside the executive branch.”
“So the special counsel can be fired or disciplined by the Attorney General because they’re still under the auspices of the DOJ?” asked Buck.
“Exactly,” French said. “It’s like you’re one foot in, one foot out. It’s a compromise between independent counsels that were created and did these runaway investigations, while acknowledging there are extraordinary circumstances when you might need to take an independent outside voice and give them autonomy while they’re still within the DOJ.”
Buck shared his concerns about the appointment of special counsel, citing the Scooter Libby example as proof that counsels try above all to “get somebody.”
“I think it’s a good development,” said French. “The way things have been going, the firing of Comey, the recusal of Devin Nunes, there was a real concern that we were without a clearly identifiable, independent voice, someone who’s going to be able to render an opinion on this issue that can do more than any congressional committee to put this issue to bed. Think about how much of the public argument has been, we need a special counsel. Well, now there’s one. Politics will still be in play, but we’re moving towards the realm of law and evidence, and that’s where this needs to be.”
“I think it’s a good choice, I think it’s someone who will take the job seriously. There’s a lot of rumor and innuendo, but there’s smoke there as well, and I think this is a positive development. This is a guy that a majority of people in the United States of America will be able to say left no stone unturned.”
“But the media can take this as, ‘See, we were right all along,'” said Buck. “That could be politically damaging going into the midterms.”
“There is that possibility,” said French. “But there’s the converse possibility that no evidence emerges, and Democratic conspiracy-mongering gets exposed. You mentioned Scooter Libby. That investigation was supposed to get Karl Rove…and all they got was a gigantic fizzle.”
“Not if you’re Scooter Libby,” chimed Buck.”
“Scooter Libby was a victim of overzealous prosecution,” French conceded. “But the gap between expectations and reality was extraordinary. The fundamental problem is that nobody made Donald Trump hire Carter Page, Paul Manafort, and Michael Flynn. A lot of this confidence that there’s nothing to discover rests on that.”
“I would fall out of my chair if Donald Trump was involved in collusion with the Russians,” French said. “It would not surprise me if a Manafort, or a Flynn, or a page, was involved. I still think this collusion thing is not going to pan out, but I wouldn’t bank my credibility that those three men are on the up-and-up.”
Click the link above to hear the interview in full.