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Stretch, grab a late afternoon cup of caffeine and get caught up on the most important news of the day with our Coffee Break newsletter. These are the stories that will fill you in on the world that's spinning outside of your office window - at the moment that you get a chance to take a breath.
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Six Times the Obama Administration Should Have Appointed Special Counsel

What is a special counsel, and why do we have them? According to Wikipedia, “a special prosecutor (or special counsel or independent counsel or independent prosecutor) is a lawyer appointed to investigate, and potentially prosecute, a particular case of suspected wrongdoing for which a conflict of interest exists for the usual prosecuting authority” -- i.e., the perceived conflict of interest of Jeff Sessions to investigate alleged collusion of the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 election.

Anyway, while liberals are holding out hope for Robert Mueller to find evidence of collusion and force Trump to resign or be impeached, it occurs to me that despite the rampant corruption and scandals-a-plenty of the Obama years that there was never a single special counsel appointed. Not one. Obama supporters point to this as evidence that his administration was above board, but in reality, it was just proof of just how corrupt things were. By limiting investigations to their own sham investigations that saw no one held accountable, or to congressional Republicans whose investigations they could simply stonewall and accuse of being partisan, the Obama administration felt they could keep up the ruse that they were scandal-free. Here are six times the Obama administration should have appointed a special counsel to investigate a scandal but didn’t.

6. The Walpin firing scandal

It’s a pretty big deal when the president of the United States breaks the law in order to protect his friend and donor who was being investigated for misusing federal grant money… but Barack Obama did just that for his friend, former NBA star and mayor of Sacramento Kevin Johnson. Johnson had taken nearly a million dollars in AmeriCorps grant money to his own nonprofit organization to pay volunteers for political activity. While investigating this, Gerald Walpin, the inspector general for the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS),  discovered a cover-up of sexual abuse allegations made by three students against Johnson who were offered some of this grant money as hush money. Walpin recommended criminal charges against Johnson and was quickly told to resign. Walpin refused, and Obama fired him. The firing itself violated a law that Obama co-sponsored as a U.S. senator. Congressional Republicans launched their own investigation, and the Obama White House responded with a smear campaign against Walpin and withheld documents from Congress.