In order to appoint a special counsel to investigate potential criminal activity in the executive branch, the Congressional Research Service explained last week, the Attorney General (or his deputy) “must determine that a criminal investigation is warranted; that the normal process of investigation or prosecution would present a conflict of interest for DOJ or other extraordinary circumstances exist; and that public interest requires a special counsel to assume those responsibilities.”
See Special Counsels, Independent Counsels, and Special Prosecutors: Investigations of the Executive Branch by the Executive Branch, CRS Legal Sidebar, May 11, 2017.
Other new and updated reports from the Congressional Research Service include the following.
The Removal of FBI Director James Comey: Presidential Authority and the Senate’s Role in the Appointment of the FBI Director, CRS Legal Sidebar, May 10, 2017
FBI Director: Appointment and Tenure, May 10, 2017
Cybersecurity: Legislation, Hearings, and Executive Branch Documents, updated May 12, 2017
Navy Ford (CVN-78) Class Aircraft Carrier Program: Background and Issues for Congress, updated May 12, 2017
Navy DDG-51 and DDG-1000 Destroyer Programs: Background and Issues for Congress, updated May 12, 2017
Energy and Water Development: FY2017 Appropriations for Nuclear Weapons Activities, updated May 10, 2017