For the fourth time in less than six years, a special counsel has been appointed to investigate a sensitive matter. Since 1875, there have been fewer than 20 such investigations of real and alleged scandals. But for a host of reasons, they have proliferated in recent years. The vast majority of solo special counsels have been Republicans. This situation carries parallels to that of FBI director, which has always been a Republican. Special counsels are appointed when a president or an attorney general decides that the investigation requires a measure of independence from the Justice Department.
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