Former independent counsel Ken Starr offered his praise for President Trump’s and his administration’s “unprecedented cooperation” with Special Counsel Robert Mueller that led to the disclosure of embarrassing conversations that are being seized upon for “political purposes.”
“Not only was there was no obstruction, there was cooperation,” Starr, who was the independent counsel investigating the Whitewater and Monica Lewinsky scandals during the Clinton administration, said during an appearance on “Fox and Friends” Friday morning.
“Not only was there was no obstruction there was cooperation.”
“Did the president want to cooperate? No. Did he like Bob Mueller in the whole thing? He hated it. Well, guess what? Bill Clinton hated me and hated the investigation,” he said, pointing out multiple presidents in the past fired the special counsel and the special prosecutor.
“There is a difference between having thoughts and this is another dimension that really did surprise me, how open and frank the conversations are with the president of the United States that then become disclosed and are now in the public domain,” he continued, noting that the president didn’t invoke executive privilege on the conversations “that are now, obviously, embarrassing to the president and being seized upon for political purposes.”
“There is a difference between having thoughts and this is another dimension that really did surprise me how open and frank the conversations are with the president of the United States that then become disclosed and are now in the public domain.”
“But, there was no obstruction here. The 10 obstructive acts don't add up to be an obstruction of justice in the criminal sense,” Starr said.
The Mueller report, which was released Thursday and found no collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign, revealed serious efforts to sideline Mueller from the investigation.
The move to fire the special counsel didn’t materialize after White House Counsel Don McGahn supposedly refused to carry out Trump’ suggestion to ask the acting attorney general to sideline Mueller. Trump didn’t follow up on the request.
Starr said the episode, although politically embarrassing to the White House, doesn’t rise to the obstruction charges.
“The law cares about what is done, not what is thought and what is said. And so the president's instincts were very aggressive. He knows how to fire people and he fires people. But, guess what? He may have come to the brink but he didn't walk across that as it were a red line,” he said.
“He showed wisdom at the end. I wish the president didn't foment so much. He is sometimes his worst enemy. Fomenting is not a crime and lashing out is not a crime. Totally understandable. Let's put ourselves in his situation. We might have said some naughty words as well.”