- President Donald Trump tapped Kenneth Starr, the former Whitewater independent counsel, to join his legal defence team as the Senate gets ready to launch its impeachment trial against him.
- After the announcement, Trump’s old comments about Starr resurfaced, in which he called Starr a “freak” and suggested “he’s got something in his closet.”
- In 1999, he told MSNBC: “I think Ken Starr is a lunatic, I really think that Ken Starr is a disaster. I really think that Ken Starr was terrible.”
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President Donald Trump tapped Kenneth Starr, the former Whitewater independent counsel, to represent him in his upcoming impeachment trial in the Senate.
Starr led the impeachment proceedings against Clinton in the 1990s. At the time, Trump had some interesting opinions about Starr.
“Starr’s a freak,” Trump told The New York Times in 1999. “I bet he’s got something in his closet.”
That same year, he told MSNBC: “I think Ken Starr is a lunatic, I really think that Ken Starr is a disaster. I really think that Ken Starr was terrible.”
At the time, Trump was a supporter of Clinton. Starr wrote the so-called Starr Report in 1998 that led to Clinton’s impeachment. The document listed 11 possible impeachable offences, including abuse of power, perjury, witness tampering, and obstruction of justice.
Starr has been accused of going on a fishing expedition during the investigation, which began as a probe of the Clinton family’s real-estate dealings and expanded to include lurid details of the president’s sex life.
He also drew some criticism for explicitly detailing the sexual encounters Clinton had with Monica Lewinsky, who at the time was a young White House intern. Lewinsky has said the negative publicity and bullying she endured during and after Clinton’s impeachment made her feel like a “poster child for public humiliation.”
Robert Ray, who worked with Starr during Clinton’s impeachment, will also be representing Trump in his impeachment trial.
On Friday, after it surfaced that Starr and Ray would be on Trump’s legal team and would likely be making the opposite case from what they argued in Clinton’s impeachment, Lewinsky seemed to weigh in.
“[T]his is definitely an ‘are you f—— kidding me?’ kinda day,” she tweeted.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Trump’s legal team will also include Alan Dershowitz, a Harvard emeritus law professor and constitutional and criminal law scholar. He confirmed his involvement in the impeachment trial Friday, tweeting that he was “participating in this impeachment trial to defend the integrity of the Constitution and to prevent the creation of a dangerous constitutional precedent.”
Dershowitz has represented controversial figures in the past. He defended OJ Simpson in the 1990s, and he also represented the billionaire and sex criminal Jeffrey Epstein. Last year, Virginia Giuffre, one of Epstein’s accusers sued Dershowitz alleging that she was forced to have sex with him when she was underage and recruited to work in Epstein’s sex trafficking ring (Dershowitz has repeatedly denied the allegation).
The judge in the lawsuit he’s defending from Giuffre ordered him to submit an extensive response to the allegations by February 7.
Trump’s legal team will be spearheaded by the White House counsel, Pat Cipollone. In addition to him, Dershowitz, Starr, and Ray, it will also include Jay Sekulow, Trump’s personal defence attorney, and Pam Bondi, the former attorney general of Florida.
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