So You Want to Investigate Donald Trump…

Democrats should be careful what they wish for: In calling for an independent commission, they could be making a terrible mistake.

Neither of those blue-ribbon investigations—especially the 9/11 Commission, most often cited by Schiff, Pelosi and their colleagues as a model for a Trump-Russia inquiry—offers much hope that an independent commission would accomplish the Democrats’ goals, at least not if those goals include getting to the bottom of this mess in a timely fashion and holding individuals accountable for their wrongdoing.

.. the investigation lasted 20 months, with its final report not issued until July 2004, more than two and a half years after the Twin Towers fell.

.. the 9/11 Commission achieved bipartisan agreement only because the panel abandoned any attempt at individual accountability.

.. I find it mindboggling that, despite blistering incompetence by government officials who ignored evidence throughout 2001 that should have allowed them to foil the attacks, none of those officials were fired or disciplined, let alone prosecuted. Several of the most incompetent and dishonest among them even got big promotions after the commission’s report, including a number still on the government’s payroll.

.. the 9/11 Commission failed on another key issue of accountability. The report was widely read as an exoneration of the government of Saudi Arabia .. despite compelling evidence that at least some low-level Saudi officials were part of a support network for the 9/11 hijackers while they lived in the United States before the attacks.

.. the Warren Commission is even less of a model for a Trump-Russia investigation, if only because it failed at its central mission of convincing the public of the truth about JFK’s murder. Opinion polls have shown consistently since the late 1960s that most Americans reject that panel’s finding that there was no conspiracy in the assassination.

.. That leaves one other likely route for an independent investigation: appointment of a special federal prosecutor, a move the Trump White House would probably see as the worst possible outcome.

.. Partisans in the House and Senate will want to keep their hands in the investigation

.. The Trump White House needs to brace itself for the possibility of multiple, competing investigations