The weeks of missteps regarding the Russia investigation have finally caught up with the White House. As you know, President Trump came under increasing fire after dismissing FBI Director James Comey. "Now more than ever we need a special prosecutor," Bernie Sanders advised on Tuesday. Then, on Wednesday his calls were heeded as Rosenstein appointed a special counsel to oversee the Russia investigation; Sanders released a statement in response.
The Vermont independent, who rose to prominence seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, has been a big critic of Trump, and he sees this development as a step in the right direction, as evidenced by his comments:
Former FBI Director Robert Mueller will serve as the special counsel overseeing the investigation, ensuring it is run independently of the Justice Department. That's important because the head of the department, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, had to recuse himself from the investigation due to his own links to the Trump campaign and his meetings with the Russian ambassador to the United States. Mueller's appointment is a surprising development since as recently as last week, Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein was of the opinion that a special prosecutor was not needed. Ultimately, he explained his decision as needed for "the American people to have full confidence in the outcome."
We need a special prosecutor to conduct an independent investigation. That's where we are right now. It is a sad day for our country. pic.twitter.com/25AnHlTjuO— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) May 17, 2017
Sanders, while pleased with the development, had more to add regarding what needs to happen next in the investigation. "To ensure the American people have full confidence in this investigation, it must be conducted in an open and transparent manner and be given the full resources it needs," he said in the statement. He added that the investigations in the Senate and House must continue.
Robert Mueller’s appointment is a positive step. I am hopeful that he will help us get to the bottom of the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia.— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) May 17, 2017
Sanders will likely continue to push for independence in the investigation as Trump puts forward a nominee for the now vacant FBI director position. "Now more than ever we need to make sure that the next FBI director is independent of the Trump administration," Sanders said Tuesday, before Mueller's new role was announced.
As for the investigations in the House and Senate, those are largely in the hands of Republicans as they hold the majorities. Sanders addressed that too. "Now more than ever we need Republican members of Congress to work with us in demanding that Trump be held accountable for his actions," Sanders said.
The president and his associates need to be held accountable by independent and transparent investigations. Sanders gets that.