Having said all that, there should be a special investigation into Russia’s extra-curricular activities. Three key questions immediately arise. First, what’s its goal? Second, who should do it? Third, how wide a net should be cast? The answers depend on whether Democrats are using the whole Russia angle for partisan purposes — or whether the aim should be getting at the truth and ensuring the integrity of future elections. If we’re guided by the latter objective, the idea should not be to prosecute anyone or seek to undo the 2016 election. Everybody from President Trump on down could be given immunity — except for perjury to the investigating commission.
The next question then becomes: Who should be on that commission? Well, senators who’ve slandered their colleagues are automatically out of the running. So is anybody in the Trump administration. Not just Jeff Sessions, who already recused himself, but anyone appointed by the president or who worked on his campaign or donated to it. FBI Director James Comey, whose dithering on Clinton’s emails mucked up the election? Not him, either. Respected, nonpartisan people who have the trust of both parties. They’re hard to find, but still out there. It’s a big country.
Finally, what should be investigated? Russian hacking of DNC emails, Russian-supported “fake news” sites, any dirt the KGB might have on Trump, pro-Russian propaganda filtered through friendly Ukrainians and American lobbyists? Yes, all that. But also: the FBI wiretaps that have ensnared Americans; the criminal act of furnishing transcripts of those wiretaps and other classified documents to anti-Trump news outlets; and the concerted efforts of outgoing Obama administration officials to undermine the new president with carefully timed stink bombs in the form of leaks. These activities should also be probed.