Was Naming a Special Counsel in the Trump Cases the Right Move?

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  • Trump, Musk and Twitter
  • Heroism at a Gay Nightclub in Colorado
  • The Dark Side of Qatar, the World Cup Host

The appointment of a special counsel was a way for Attorney General Merrick B. Garland to insulate the Justice Department’s investigations from political considerations.Credit…Andrew Harnik/Associated Press

To the Editor:

Re “A Special Counsel Is Named to Lead 2 Trump Inquiries” (front page, Nov. 19):

Donald Trump must have cackled in glee when he heard that Attorney General Merrick Garland would appoint a special prosecutor to continue — or restart — the investigations into Jan. 6 and the secret documents found at Mar-a-Lago. Delay and obstruction have always been the former president’s first lines of defense, and now he has been handed the gift of several months’ delay in investigations that have gone far too slowly already.

If a special prosecutor were warranted, one could have been named a year or even 18 months ago. The only thing that has changed is that Mr. Trump has announced that he is a candidate for his former job — which everyone knew he would do.

Apparently scared that an indictment now would be labeled political persecution, Mr. Garland has gone into a defensive crouch, forgetting that the accusation would be hurled at any prosecution, and ignoring that Mr. Trump has been crying “Witch hunt!” from the first day.

The American people are entitled to expect the Justice Department to act without fear or favor. Instead, they have our chief law enforcement officer paying more attention to the press and politics than to the principles of justice. That is exactly the wrong tack to take.

Jonathan J. Margolis
Brookline, Mass.
The writer is a lawyer.

To the Editor:

Merrick Garland would have made a terrific Supreme Court justice. His intellect and temperament are what you hope to find in a justice. Shame on those who prevented his confirmation. However, he has brought those same qualities to his current position as attorney general.

For those of us who have questioned him along the way, shame on us. Mr. Garland has never wavered in his belief in the system of justice he oversees. His appointment of a special counsel to either bring indictments against Donald Trump or put the matters to rest is well founded.

Whatever course is to be followed, the nation must believe in the legitimacy of that process and the decisions reached. Naming a career prosecutor experienced in cases involving public corruption and with the necessary résumé to gain the confidence of reasonable people will only serve those ends.

Bruce Neuman
Water Mill, N.Y.

To the Editor:

Rather than a delay, it may be that the appointment of a special counsel will provide a beneficial balance between a prosecutorial approach that had seemed to rely on emphasizing “look before you leap” and one that moves forward in the belief that “he who hesitates is lost.”

Patricia Flaherty
Duxbury, Mass.

To the Editor:

Some commentators have opined that Donald Trump announced his 2024 candidacy now in an attempt to foreclose any criminal proceeding. And since Merrick Garland appointed a special counsel, Mr. Trump has embraced his timeworn witch-hunt gripe.

But Mr. Trump does not need to develop a new game plan to fend off a criminal conviction. Rather, he can just follow the template he used to undermine the 2020 election and to run in 2016.

Last year Mr. Trump challenged Georgia election officials to “find” more votes for him than for Joe Biden to unravel an election loss. He then incited a riot where his insurrectionist disciples chanted “Hang Mike Pence!” And, of course, no Trump rally was ever complete in 2016 without the Trump-led refrain, “Lock her up!”

Now, if he faces a criminal trial, Mr. Trump could instruct his lawyers “to find me just one juror’s vote” to thwart a guilty verdict where jury unanimity is required. And his unquestioning followers will join him in his call for a different type of hanging — a hung jury. Meanwhile, the rest of us can only hope that any criminal investigation leads to the rightful verdict: “Lock him up.”

Stephen F. Gladstone
Shaker Heights, Ohio

To the Editor:

Attorney General Merrick Garland did absolutely the right thing in appointing a special counsel, Jack Smith. However, it’s critical that Mr. Smith deliver his recommendations within a year, so that we have closure before the presidential primary season begins in the first months of 2024. Based on the special counsel’s findings, we can then move forward with a regular presidential election year with or without Donald Trump on the ballot.

Jack Nargundkar
Cary, N.C.

Trump, Musk and Twitter

Twitter will allow former President Donald J. Trump, pictured at a rally in Mesa, Ariz., in October, to return to the platform.Credit…Rebecca Noble for The New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Trump’s Twitter Account Is Restored After Musk Asks Users to Weigh In” (news article, Nov. 20):

In a desperate move to try to save Twitter from implosion by attracting the MAGA crowd, Elon Musk comes up with a nebulous poll to invite Donald Trump back. So of course it’s not Mr. Musk’s decision; it’s the clamoring public’s.

Mr. Trump and Mr. Musk are two of a kind: Don’t take responsibility for bad decisions; blame someone else for them.

Carol Shurman
New York

Heroism at a Gay Nightclub in Colorado

Joshua Thurman outside Club Q, where he witnessed a deadly shooting on Saturday night. “This is a place we love, a place of peace, a place to be ourselves,” he said on Sunday.Credit…Daniel Brenner for The New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Bullets, Blood and Acts of Bravery in a Colorado Nightclub” (front page, Nov. 21):

Uvalde law enforcement officers waited on-site for 78 minutes before engaging the gunman at Robb Elementary School in May. These were men with guns, walkie-talkies and handcuffs. These were men who had trained for this moment.

It took less than six minutes for gay people who had been dancing, drinking and laughing to disarm and subdue the gunman who terrorized Club Q on Saturday night.

So I don’t want to hear another word from social conservatives with retrograde ideas of what makes a man a man. Courage, like left-handedness, knows no gender, no race, no identity. Courage will crop up where it crops up. But I will say that a lifetime of being different in America teaches you that silence equals death, that to confront bullies we have to act immediately and as a community.

Even as I grieve for the souls lost, I feel awesome gratitude to the heroic patrons who stopped this senseless attack. For they have shown the world just who we are and why having a gay friend or family member is a blessing beyond measure.

David D. Turner
New York

The Dark Side of Qatar, the World Cup Host

Credit…No Ideas

To the Editor:

“Why the World Cup Belongs in the Middle East,” by Abdullah Al-Arian (Opinion guest essay, Nov. 20), grossly plays down the legitimate complaints many football (soccer) fans have about hosting an international tournament in an autocracy that treats women as second-class citizens, that is responsible for the deaths and mistreatment of thousands of migrant workers and that persecutes the L.G.B.T.Q. community.

The last-minute beer ban, while trivial in the grand scheme of things, goes to show how little effort has been made to accommodate fans whose values differ from those of the host country.

Yes, the Middle East has a history of football (Mohamed Salah of Egypt is my favorite player, for what it’s worth), but that does not excuse the Qatari ruling family’s human rights abuses or its inability to welcome the outside world to its country in good faith.

As much as I would like to enjoy the great football that will surely be on display, I think I’ll take a pass and head down to the local fields for a kickabout instead.

Paul Wells
Florence, S.C.

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