In a piece for The Hill former Clinton advisor Lanny Davis warned Republicans that attacking Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his teams political motives won’t work and could backfire against them.
Davis argues that attacking Mueller will only appeal to Trumps base and will do nothing to persuade independents.
This might have been good advice if it came from someone who actually followed it. Davis admits that he and other Clinton defenders didn’t give Ken Starr this courtesy when defending President Clinton.
He relates the story of when he met John McCain during Starr’s investigation. McCain told Davis “I don’t approve of the way you are attacking Mr. Starr’s motives. You can challenge his judgment but do not attack his motives.
That advice stuck with Davis for so long that he disregards it in the very same piece in which he relates it. He wrote ” the Trump White House and surrogates must first understand the substantial difference between the credentials of Robert Mueller and Ken Starr. Mueller is widely respected across the political divide – as a professional, experienced prosecutor… Starr had no prosecutorial experience at all.
Not only does Davis insinuate that Starr was not respected he questions his credentials. Perhaps the fact that Davis believes Starr was not respected reflects more on Democrats than on Starr. Davis’ statement shows that Republicans can respect someone who doesn’t always side with them while Democrats are incapable of doing so.
For Davis to insinuate that Starr was somehow unqualified to be an Independent Counsel just goes to show the partisan lens Davis is looking through. Starr was both a Judge and Solicitor General before being appointed as head of the Whitewater investigation. Those would appear to be sterling qualifications.
Davis and his Democrat cohorts need to understand the substantial difference between the Starr and Mueller appointments. Starr was appointed by a panel of the the D.C. Circuit Court. That is about as independent as you can get from the political branches of government and its agencies.
The Mueller appointment was quite different. He was appointed after former FBI Directer James Comey leaked memos he had written of meetings with the president to a friend. Under oath he admitted that he leaked the memos to force the creation of a Special Council. It just so happened that Comey’s former subordinate obliged him. Oh and by the way he appointed Mueller who is a good friend of Comey.
Added to this situation that some would say arise from (gasp!) collusion is Mueller’s history as FBI Director. While he is open to expanding his probe of Russian collusion in the election to pre 2016 activities he was oddly disinterested in the potentially criminal scandals of the Obama administration.
Because of the circumstances surrounding the creation of this Special Counsel it would be foolhardy to take Davis’ advice and unilaterally disarm. The Democrats certainly didn’t when the shoe was on the other foot.