Who's leaving in handcuffs?

[Listen to the podcast that expands on this commentary]

Friday evening, CNN reported that someone -- and maybe more than one person -- faces criminal charges next week as a result of the investigation being conducted by Robert Mueller.

This means someone could literally be in handcuffs as soon as Monday.

So today would be a very good time for all of us to take a deep breath and ask: What do we believe in?

Because the thought that someone -- anyone -- might be facing prison time because they did something dirty to win an election is a pretty big deal indeed.

To be clear: I think the odds that the President himself did something illegal in order to win the election are very low -- bordering on zero. But I think the odds that someone close to him did something illegal are very high -- bordering on 100%.

That's because the President is known for a management style that pits everyone against everyone else, and in which the last thing you want to be seen as is a "loser".

So in a high-stakes environment where the only thing that matters to the boss is winning, it's easy to believe that someone might have gone outside the lines in order to win.

You might have heard of the "veil of ignorance" proposed by John Rawls. In essence, it asks a person to test their designs for society as an outsider who would be placed into the society after their rules were put into place, without knowing in advance what class or status they might have when they get there.

We're under a certain kind of veil of ignorance this weekend. We don't know who's facing charges, or for what, or where else the Mueller investigation might lead. While the odds are pretty good that it's someone from inside the President's circle who's facing charges, there are those who think and hope that it's someone from Clinton-world.

So, since we all share this veil of ignorance, we should put it to good use. We should decide, before we know who's in trouble for what, what we value the most out of this process. Some people want political retribution. Some people want a change in the Oval Office. Some people want it all to just go away because it feels so dirty.

I want justice. I want an impeccable, by-the-books prosecution of anyone who broke the rules in an effort to win the election, get favors or special influence for their clients, or enrich themselves at the expense of the country.

I don't think that should be so much to ask. I don't think it should be controversial, either.

But it is essential that we decide what we want from behind the veil of ignorance -- not in the harsh light of day on Monday, when we might well know who's doing a perp walk.

If your idea of a good outcome is that people should be punished according to your personal animus, then you don't really believe in the rule of law.

The process matters as much as the results.

 
Brian Gongol

Brian Gongol

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