Ken Starr, Clinton Impeachment Crusader, Comes Out Against Trump’s Impeachment
Now that a Republican president faces the likelihood of impeachment, former independent counsel Ken Starr — made famous by his relentless pursuit of President Bill Clinton’s impeachment — says Congress should slow down and perhaps consider a lesser response to President Donald Trump’s apparent abuse of power.
Dana Milbank noted in a Washington Post op-ed that the infamous Starr has seemingly had a change of heart over the merits of the constitutional provision for removing a lawless president.
During an interview with conservative writer Byron York on Monday, Starr decried Democrats’ rush to impeach over something so trivial as an alleged quid pro quo with a foreign government in hopes of influencing a U.S. election.
“It just seems we need to ratchet the conversation down because of the evils of impeachment,” he said. “Impeachment has become a terrible, terrible thorn in the side of the American democracy and the conduct of American government since Watergate. . . . Let’s at least have a reasoned and deliberate conversation about some lesser kind of response.”
In hindsight, Starr believes Congress should have taken the same approach to Clinton, saying Republicans should have considered “whether something short of impeachment would be appropriate” — perhaps a censure, as opposed to attempted removal from office.
“He didn’t mention ‘censure’ once in his referral to Congress in 1998 laying out ‘substantial and credible information that President Clinton committed acts that may constitute grounds for an impeachment,’ nor in his November 1998 testimony,” Milbank said of Starr.
The former independent counsel also said Trump’s “intent” was pure in pressuring Ukraine to investigate his likely political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, and insisted that Trump “is being held to a remarkable standard” in which we are “over-criminalizing the conduct of the business of government.”
The true motive at play with this impeachment inquiry, Starr suggested, is House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s desire to be president herself.
He said a “conflict of interest is that the speaker of the House is guiding this process when she is third in succession,” arguing that “she will do well if she can have the elimination of Donald Trump from office and then Vice President Pence somehow.”
Seated comfortably atop his moral high horse, Starr then went about explaining that his pursuit of Clinton for lying about an extramarital affair was “matter of conscience” for Congress, while Democrats’ concern over Trump’s behavior is not.
“Republicans were, in fact, proceeding in good faith and with a very substantial basis because the president was — and virtually everyone agreed with this — guilty of very serious offenses against the rule of law, particularly perjury and obstruction of justice,” Starr said.
“Everyone with reason accepted the proposition that Bill Clinton committed crimes,” he insisted.
As for Trump? “There I don’t think will ever come a point where all persons of good faith agree, let’s call it a consensus, that [Trump] stepped across the line.”