General Question

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

What is the difference between a Special Counsel and a Special Prosecutor?

Asked by Hawaii_Jake (30652points) May 17th, 2017

The Dept. of Justice today appointed a Special Counsel to oversee the investigation of Russian meddling in the American election of 2106.

What is a Special Counsel? Is it different than a Special Prosecutor?

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15 Answers

AlaskaTundrea's avatar

I don’t know the real difference, but saw this on Twitter earlier:
David Corn‏Verified account @DavidCornDC 21m21 minutes ago
A special prosecutor is not the same thing as an ind. commission. He can do a great job; that doesn’t mean the results will become public.

Corn is the guy from Mother Jones.

Jeruba's avatar

I’m not educated in law, but my understanding is that a prosecutor prosecutes. I believe it’s the special counsel’s job to find out whether there’s any basis for prosecuting someone, and if so, who and for what.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

The article I read from The Guardian stated he’s a counsel until he decides to prosecute, when he becomes a Special Prosecutor. He has the authority to prosecute if warranted.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

The law calling them Special Prosecutors expired in 1999 (after the years and years of Ken Starr’s fishing expeditions).

After the expiration, rules were set up for Special Counsels instead.

But it’s the same thing – they examine allegations that involve the Executive branch. Regular Federal prosecutors are part of the Executive Branch and the idea is to bring in an outside observer.

Special Counsels can prosecute. They haven’t since 1999.

MrGrimm888's avatar

Can’t Trump just fire them, if he wants?

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Trump cannot fire him.

janbb's avatar

So very happy.

kritiper's avatar

Counsel will probably be on your side to keep you out of jail, prosecutor will try to put you in.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

^Wrong. Read the thread.

kritiper's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake I’ll pass. No body and no opinion is perfect, and I don’t have the time to wait for it to load…

LostInParadise's avatar

If the Special Counselor is let go, expect all hell to break loose, Republicans as well as Democrats.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@kritiper It’s not an opinion. It’s fact. A Special Counsel is able to prosecute crimes.

si3tech's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake Interesting question. Since your question, I see both terms used in this incident on various sites.

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