ALAN DERSHOWITZ: A special counsel is the wrong way to uncover the truth. [archive]

A special counsel is the wrong mechanism for conducting an investigation that will uncover the whole truth.

The mandate of the special counsel is to “prosecute federal crimes arising from the investigation.” But the accusations directed at the Trump campaign and administration are not primarily criminal. Accordingly, they fall outside of the jurisdiction of the special counsel. . . .

At the end of his super secret investigations, the special counsel has essentially three options: he can issue indictments and prosecute the defendants, he can issue a statement that no indictments are warranted and close down his investigation, or he can issue a report.

If he were to issue a report, it would be one-sided and based on an investigation not geared towards knowing the whole truth, but rather to develop and present to the grand jury sufficient evidence to show probable cause that a crime may have been committed. The grand jury hears only one side — the prosecutor’s. A report, based on no criminal investigation, is likely to be one-sided and incomplete.

It would have been far better for this country if Congress had appointed a non-partisan investigatory commission to uncover the whole truth, including non-criminal wrongdoing, not only on the part of the Trump campaign and administration, but also on the part of those current and former intelligence officials who willfully leaked classified and highly secret information to the media.

That is one issue that is within the jurisdiction of the special counsel, because it involves serious federal felonies. It would be ironic if the only indictment resulting from the special counsel’s investigation was of the intelligence officials who unlawfully leaked classified information.