On Oct. 27, major news sources reported that multiple indictments were about to be handed down by the grand jury convened by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
That same day Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., said about Mueller: “He should resign, I take the position that we shouldn’t have a special counsel at this time.”
Johnson’s call to have Mueller resign and to leave the special counsel role vacant is a blatant attempt to provide cover for any and all of those within the Trump campaign who may have violated the law. As such, it must be regarded as a serious threat to the principle of the rule of law in our country.
The question of how much Trump campaign team officials, from lowest to highest levels, may have been working together with agents of the Russian government is yet to be answered. Answers can only come from a full investigation, led by an individual empowered to bring indictments as warranted. Sen. Johnson’s call for a Senate or House report, instead of an appropriate investigation, is a clear and unmistakable attempt to shut the door on an effective pursuit of the facts.
Sen. Johnson is choosing to join in the efforts of President Trump to undermine those investigating Trump’s aides. We all recall Trump’s reported interactions with former FBI Director James Comey. Under oath, Comey testified in June that he was told by Trump: “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go.” Michael Flynn had served both as a Trump campaign advisor and as President Trump’s national security director. Comey refused to be intimidated, and continued the investigation despite this severely inappropriate pressure. Comey was subsequently fired by Trump.
President Trump has also made it clear that he should be allowed to define the scope of Mueller’s investigation. The New York Times reported July 20 on an interview with the President. Trump insisted that Mr. Mueller would be going outside his mandate if he were to begin investigating matters such as his personal finances. It is completely unacceptable for the president of the United States to use his bully pulpit in an effort to limit the scope of a criminal investigation.
Giving his farewell address, President Obama eloquently warned us how high the stakes would become if the next administration tried to place itself above the law. Obama declared: “Our Constitution is a remarkable, beautiful gift. But it’s really just a piece of parchment. It has no power on its own. We, the people, give it power – with our participation, and the choices we make. Whether or not we stand up for our freedoms. Whether or not we respect and enforce the rule of law. America is no fragile thing. But the gains of our long journey to freedom are not assured.”
If the rule of law is to be upheld, if President Theodore Roosevelt’s principle— “No man is above the law”— is to be kept, the American people need to tell President Trump, Senator Johnson and anyone else who tries to block full investigation that this needs to stop. We the people are entitled to know about any Russian meddling in our election. And if any campaign officials broke the law, appropriate consequences must be brought to bear. The future of our democracy rests upon our insistence that our laws receive faithful adherence.