There can be no clearer, more fundamental, conflict of interest than the Department of Justice refusing to vindicate—or even test in court—congressional subpoena powers because it considers itself duty-bound to defend the rights of the president rather than the rights of Congress.
And don’t forget the other requirement for appointing a special prosecutor: That doing so is in the public interest. The events of Jan. 6th were the most direct threat to our democracy since the Civil War. Congress must be allowed to investigate them and ensure they never happen again. The House Jan. 6th Committee is entitled to every witness’s evidence and it is imperative that it follows this evidence wherever it leads rather than being detoured by artificial roadblocks set up by the very people with the most to hide.
Unchecked executive privilege risks becoming a demagogue’s charter that shields coup plotters rather than being a tool of good government. So it’s also in the public interest to ensure that executive privilege has well-defined limits that don’t tempt future presidents into abusing the doctrine, something unlikely to happen as long as the Department of Justice refuses to allow these issues to be decided by a court.