Ken Starr compares how the media his investigation to how they are treating the Mueller probe

This is a rush transcript from "Life, Liberty & Levin," February 24, 2019. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARK LEVIN, HOST: Hello, America. I'm Mark Levin. This is "Life, Liberty and Levin." We have a tremendous guest, Kenneth Starr. How are you, sir?


LEVIN: I must confess, we're good friends. You're a good man.

STARR: Thank you. So are you.

LEVIN: Well, thank you. Former Solicitor General, former Federal Judge, former independent counsel, and your appearance couldn't be more important right now. So let's jump in. We have independent counsel Robert Mueller. He's got his team. He is actually Special Counsel. You were Independent Counsel under a specific statute and you had obligations under that statute that you had to follow.

He has a different statute with fewer obligations and I wanted to ask you a question and I've thought about this a lot as I watch the coverage of Robert Mueller.

I find out he's the most noble man to ever walk the earth and so is his staff. I find members of Congress trying to pass laws to protect him from what I don't know, and I remember when you were an independent counsel. We had the paparazzi media on your front step. I saw you come out with a cup of coffee every now and then. We knew when you came up in the morning, when you went to bed at night, kind of different coverage.

You were criticized constantly by the media. He is defended by the media. What do you make of that?

STARR: Night and day, apples and oranges. The press knew where I lived and they camped out. Also, they camped outside frequently -- not always -- camped outside our offices in Washington D.C. Very different.

LEVIN: They don't do that for Mueller. Why is that, do you think?

STARR: It's very nice of them.


STARR: And honestly, I was curious. I asked someone in Washington, "Hey, does people not know where Bob Mueller lives?" I don't wish him that kind of invasion of privacy, but you know, we lived in a nice suburban area of McLean, Virginia and --

LEVIN: I remember your house. It was very nice.

STARR: Yes, it's a simple -- somewhere --

LEVIN: It's all over TV.

STARR: Our "Brady Bunch" house.


STARR: We had a carport, not a garage and so forth, so -- but the Madison Court -- isn't that a great name -- we lived in Madison Court and the press was pretty much ubiquitous.

LEVIN: But why do you think the distinction, the difference in coverage?

STARR: There's got to be a Treaty of Peace that with the networks, platforms and so forth, they said, "We're going to leave him alone."

LEVIN: They like him. They didn't like you. Do you think it's because of who you were investigating and who he is investigating? I mean, isn't that a logical conclusion?

STARR: It's a very logical conclusion. Someone who's investigating the President is likely to be very unpopular with a whole bunch of people, maybe 50% or 45% of the American people.

But the media as a whole, even though there were some great heroes in the media as far as my own investigation was concerned, but the media as a whole, I think is pretty sympathetic to those who are investigating a Republican -- Watergate, Richard Nixon -- and then maybe not so those investigating a Democrat and especially a very well-liked controversial, though it was, but Bill Clinton was likable, empathetic, charming and he also was very effective at using surrogates to attack the investigation. Whereas President Trump has chosen, I think unwisely, to do the attacks himself.

LEVIN: You and your investigation were attacked relentlessly. Were there any efforts by Members of Congress to protect your investigation? To protect your appointment? Were there any sympathetic voices in most of the media? I know there were a few reporters who were actually reporters, but as a whole, it is pretty desperately, wasn't it?

STARR: Yes, I would say no with respect to Members of Congress. There may been some speeches on the floor from time to time, then when the going really got rough during the Monica Lewinsky phase of the investigation and the press criticism became extremely intense.

I do remember vividly a call from Senator Orrin Hatch saying, "Ken, you need to get out there," and it wasn't that I was hiding for reasons we've already discussed, "You need to get out there you should do this and you should do that."

My friend, Ted Olson, said, "You need to go on "Larry King Live." Remember those days and he just gives you the microphone you can say what you want to say, but I felt at that time that it was wrong. I felt at that time that I needed to be much more discreet and careful. There were times when I would go before the media. There were times that we provided public information out of the investigation without running afoul. Here's the key, don't reveal grand jury information because that's a crime.

LEVIN: I have no idea what Robert Mueller's voice sounds like. He doesn't speak to the public. I don't mean leaking. I'm talking about something else. We don't get many press releases from the Special Counsel's office. I have my own views of leaks and so forth, but isn't there an obligation? The U.S. Attorney's Office -- your office -- you at least communicated some information to the American people given the power of the office and given the reach of the office and given the fact that it involves an elected President in the United States and people surrounding him.

STARR: I err on the side of providing public information. I think it is an issue of accountability and responsibility, it's nowhere in the statute, right, it's just a judgment call. Are you going to try to educate the public as appropriate without besmirching people's reputations? I think that's one of the key things that we're going to be seeing in the Mueller investigation.

One of the things prosecutors should not do is go hammer someone in the public domain, you either present an indictment to the grand jury or --

LEVIN: You who agrees with you the?


LEVIN: Tate Leon Jaworski.


LEVIN: He was involved in the Watergate matter because that was really a new area that when it came to writing a report, they were somewhat criticized. He said, "Look, I'm not going to write a report that starts trashing people or insinuating things that I couldn't bring to court or I couldn't prove. That would be a bigger abuse of power than some of these people that I'm investigating." You concur with that?

STARR: I completely concur. He wrote the so-called roadmap, but it didn't fill in a whole lot of details because by definition, it's going to be a one-sided report. It's not going to reflect -- on the other hand, there is another way of looking at this set of facts or this particular testimony.

So I think it is a matter of fundamental fairness that prosecutors who do have this great power should not prosecute by press release or by innuendo and public comments.

LEVIN: Why is that?

STARR: It's because of our sense of fairness and justice. Life and liberty, we have in this country the baseline of liberty and your liberty is to a certain extent being the liberty of your reputation.

You know, reputation and if you -- the late Vince Foster said -- who took his own life and that was part of our investigation and just two months before he took his own life, he said to the graduates the University of Oregon also in Fayetteville and I think this makes the point, "In our profession --" he is a lawyer -- "In our profession, if you lose your reputation, you lose everything."

Well reputation is just an important period that's why the law protects reputations from defamation, from libel and slander and the like. It's an important part of our decency as a human being that we don't go besmirching another human being or if we do, then we might have to face a civil action.

LEVIN: Particularly it would seem to me in the criminal context, you're a prosecutor. You have enormous power particularly, a special counsel, I would say has more power than your typical U.S. Attorney and we have a Bill of Rights for a reason -- due process, presumption of innocence, you have a right to cross-examine witnesses, you have a right to see the charges that are going to be brought against you and so forth.

In this case with Robert Mueller, the report that they say is going to be released relatively soon. The President's Lawyers haven't seen it. They haven't had an opportunity to respond anything to prepare a response to it. It's not vetted through your typical courtroom and you don't have a pre -- you don't have discovery, a pre-discovery where you know, depositions and questions -- none of that.

You have a prosecutor writing a report whatever that report says without any checks and balances whatsoever. He's not a judge and he's not a jury. What it -- and yet this statute tried to limit the power of a report unlike your statute that you worked under and the Independent Counsel statute. Explain.

STARR: Well the Independent Counsel statute which has gone away, it existed for twenty-one years was really putting a pretty heavy thumb on the scales toward impeachment. Remember, it was passed in the wake of Watergate, so the country had been through an impeachment process. The President resigned.

So what do we want this special prosecutor whatever we call them -- Independent Counsel, Special Counsel -- what do we want that person to do? Well, we want that person not just to make prosecutorial decisions, we want the person to write a report and we want the person to send that report to the House of Representatives.

It's one of the reasons, Mark, that Justice Antonin Scalia in his magnificent dissent of the case that upheld the constitutionality of the Independent Counsel statute said, "This statute is --" he used these great terms, "accurate with the smell of impeachment." That's been improved.

Under the regulations in which Bob Mueller was appointed, there is a reporting requirement, but it is a confidential report under these regulations to go to the Attorney General. Then the Attorney General is to give a report, not to say, "Oh, here's the Bob Mueller report." So the Attorney General of the United States, Bill Barr is going to have to make a judgment, "What am I as Attorney General going to report up to Congress?"

LEVIN: So it's really a completely different reporting requirement.

STARR: Completely.

LEVIN: And yet people talk about this as the impeachment report. Is it because of things that Nancy Pelosi and Jerrold Nadler have said that we want to see this report before we make decisions about impeachment, which they know they don't even have a right to see this report?

STARR: I think there's a failure to understand to drill into the regulations under which Mueller was appointed. Now, the regulations could be jettison, right, theirs is, "Okay, we're not going to use those regulations anymore," but those regulations have been in effect in both Republican and Democratic administrations. They came into being in the Clinton administration. So they sort of stood the test of time --

LEVIN: Twenty years you said they've been there.

STARR: They have been around for a while and so we -- I don't know how many special counsels have been appointed, but the point is, those regulations have been there on the books for Congress to look at and if Congress had come to the judgment that like the old system of a full report to the Congress of the United States, it should have stepped in long before now.

I think there's an assumption that made -- that isn't grounded in the text of the regulations.

LEVIN: When we come back, I want to discuss with you these recent revelations by Andrew McCabe and others. What's been going on in the FBI? You worked at the Justice Department. I worked at the Justice Department. You were Solicitor General at the Justice Department. I was Chief of Staff at the Justice Department. This FBI situation is very, very troubling and I want to pursue that with you in a moment.

Ladies and gentlemen, don't forget, you can join us on Levin TV -- that's Levin TV by going to to sign up. We'd love to have you; or give us a call at 844-LEVIN-TV, that's 844-LEVIN-TV. We'll be right back.


LEVIN: Ken Starr, the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Now, when you were at the Justice Department, there were different directors -- Bill Webster, who else was the Director there?

STARR: Louis Freeh when I was ...

LEVIN: Louis Freeh.

STARR: Independent Counsel.

LEVIN: A Federal Judge.

STARR: Bill Sessions.

LEVIN: Bill Sessions.

STARR: Yes, who was a Federal Judge.

LEVIN: All three. There was really no controversy, at least, with respect to the first two. Do you ever recall the Director of the FBI or the Deputy Director of the FBI, the General Counsel of the FBI leaking? Were you aware of when you were with the Justice Department that they would have been leaking?

STARR: No and it would have been really out of character for both Judge Bill Webster and Judge Louis Freeh. Those were straight shooters. They were honest as the day is long. They really embodied the goals and values of the FBI. The FBI -- fidelity, bravery, integrity -- and that "integrity" word is so terribly important because you've got to believe in the honesty of law enforcement.

The FBI has an enormous amount of power, so the person at the top sets the tone and they set a great tone, a high moral tone.

LEVIN: Well, we have the former Deputy Director of the FBI, Andrew McCabe. He's made a lot of news lately with the "60 Minutes" interview and he's on a celebrity tour basically, hawking his book on night time shows and -- which is a remarkable thing to me because on "60 Minutes," from my perspective, he confessed to a cabal over there at the Justice Department that was trying to trigger the 25th Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.

Clearly, they never read it because it's a complicated amendment and there's no role whatsoever for the FBI and he says, in part, that the reason that he was concerned about this is because the President fired Comey. The President fired Comey and among those recommending his firing was the Deputy Attorney General of the United States, Mr. Rosenstein.

He says, "Well, the President asked me." You're the Deputy Attorney General of the United States. You can do it or not to it and then they talk about the Deputy Attorney General of the United States talking about he disagrees with this, wiring himself, wiring himself to do what? To talk to the President the United States about firing Comey, which he recommended?

I must say, I see this as a cabal. I see this as an effort to overthrow a sitting President. I have never seen anything like this. I don't think anything like this has happened in modern American history. I'm curious to know what your take is on it.

STARR: I was deeply disappointed and frankly, I was both saddened and angered to read about and to hear about now with the recent reports from the former acting Director of the FBI.

I mean who do they think they are? They're part of the executive branch and the idea of the FBI with all of its authority, all of its power and it has an enormous amount of power, turning that power in a direction against a duly elected President of the United States is appalling unless there was some reasonable ground to believe that the President was engaged in criminal conduct or that the President had become an agent of a foreign government.

There is, to me, zero evidence that President Trump whether one who loves him or does not love him, was in any way an agent of any foreign power. He had relationships, obviously, but who doesn't who is coming into the presidency? But I just think it was an enormously poor judgment on the part of the leadership with the FBI and it's really a kind of who do you think you are?

You're part of the executive branch and this is really above your pay grade. At a minimum, that's the kind of decision, if there was something that's seriously wrong in the view of the FBI, they go knock on the Attorney General's office and the Attorney General goes and knocks on the Counsel of the President's office, and you do this through regular order as opposed to essentially runaway cops.

LEVIN: But I'm trying to figure out what exactly did he do that would merit this kind of rogue hysteria. He fires the FBI Director. It's the FBI Director. He is allowed to fire the FBI Director. He is allowed to fire pretty much whomever he wishes. It had no effect on the Russian investigation. The Russian investigation has expanded into all kinds of areas. The President hasn't interfered with their funding.

As a matter of fact, Mr. McCabe testified under oath before Congress that everything is going along swimmingly with the Russian investigation, that they've gotten all the funds that they need. There is no evidence of obstruction, per se, the President has the inherent power to hire and fire pretty much as he wishes. This seemed to me to be a pretext. What do you think?

STARR: I don't know if it is a pretext or just an abysmal misunderstanding of our constitutional order and the power of the President. We do not have an imperial presidency. There are many checks and there are many balances especially the United States Congress, especially the House of Representatives. If something has gone awry, the founding generation said we want that judgment as to whether to put the impeachment process in place in the people's House, not in the Senate, but in the people's House. The Senate will eventually have a job -- that is the role in our constitutional structure. Checking the President.

Now there is this 25th Amendment process in light of the assassination of John Kennedy and so forth but, that's at a level that involves the Cabinet. It does not involve the Federal Bureau of Investigation with folks and no one involved in the decision were appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. That's a huge check and a huge balance that we have in our system.

The idea of a PAS -- Presidential Appointment but Senate Approval -- that's a check, that's a balance, so we had essentially an unaccountable branch or the leadership, I should say, of an unaccountable part of the branch of the executive that I think was just taking very strange steps.

And you're right, I think, Mark, I think it was unprecedented and it sounds in the nature of a movement toward a coup d'etat.

LEVIN: Which is shocking. Ken Starr, when we come back, you've had a lot of experience with the Clintons and the FBI has had a lot of experience with the Clintons and I want to pursue that briefly with you. We'll be right back.


AISHAH HASNIE, CORRESPONDENT, FOX NEWS: Live from "America's News Headquarters," I am Aishah Hasni Shasnie. Iran reportedly test-fired a cruise missile from a submarine for the first time, this during annual military drills in the Strait of Hormuz, a vital passageway for oil tankers. Iranian state media says the country has three submarines with that capability. This comes amid heightened tensions with the U.S. over President Trump's withdrawal from the 2016 Iran Nuclear Deal.

Police in Texas say that two bodies were recovered from the site where a Boeing 767 cargo plane crashed into Trinity Bay near Houston. Crews are still searching for the body of a third person. According to the NTSB, the plane did not transmit a distress signal before the crash, but a nearby security camera captured video of the plane nose-diving. I'm Aishah Hasnie, now back to "Life, Liberty & Levin."

LEVIN: Ken Starr, you're like an expert on the Clintons. I don't know if that's a compliment or not, but you've written this outstanding book, "Contempt: A memoir of the Clinton Investigation." So I want to ask you about the Clintons. Where it is said that the comments the President makes about this investigation about the FBI are unprecedented, are they unprecedented?

STARR: No. I wish the President in the exercise of his discretion would leave the nasty job of attacking the prosecutor to others, but he does it himself. He is one follower of his own instinct.

LEVIN: He is transparent.

STARR: That he is. Bill and Hillary were more clever, if I may say so. I think it's more clever because they were --

LEVIN: Or more devious.

STARR: Definitely more devious because they would attack the investigation and the investigators, the prosecutor and the prosecutors indirectly through surrogates especially James Carville, Sidney Blumenthal and other members of the Clinton cast.

LEVIN: So Louis Freeh, the FBI Director during much of this, he would be attacked. Was he persona non grata at the White House?

STARR: As far as I understand it, yes, that Judge Freeh -- Louie Freeh was an absolute straight shooter, just rock-ribbed integrity and that didn't play well in the Clinton White House.

LEVIN: I recall even Janet Reno was frowned upon and they started taking shots at her through the media, too, through surrogates, is that correct?

STARR: Yes, throughout the first term, Mark, the first Clinton term, she was appointing a number of independent counsels. I had lots of company and just by way of example, Henry Cisneros and there really was some culpability there, a guilty plea by Linda Medlar and so forth, so these names from the past.

But the point is, she was calling him as she saw them. I think she was being honest and straightforward, but things didn't change when the calls came after the 1996 election for the appointment of the independent counsel looking in the campaign finance and for perhaps possibility foreign campaign --

LEVIN: Johnny Chung, I remember all of these.

STARR: All these --

LEVIN: The Riyadhi group, yes.

STARR: Yes, and Louis Freeh, as I recall, Mark, recommended the appointment of the Independent Counsel, she brought in a Special Counsel to assess the evidence and to make a recommendation and he recommended the appointment of an Independent Counsel. She refused to do that.

Now, throughout the investigation until the Monica Lewinsky phase, she was cooperative. She didn't get in the way. In fact, she gave us, as you may recall additional assignments to look into the travel office firings. That was an add-on.

LEVIN: She kept flopping them on top of you.


LEVIN: And I also remember a discussion about removing her and replacing her with a new Attorney General. That kind of discussion took place, too. So it's important that the American people understand context, understand precedent. We're told these things going on today have never happened before.

The things going on today that had never happened before as far as I'm concerned involves a lot of what's taking place at the FBI. John Solomon of "The Hill" just reported just a few days ago that testimony provided to Congress behind closed doors by the General Counsel of the FBI who is now under -- James Baker -- under investigation himself. He said, right up to the last moment, he believed Hillary Clinton should be charged with felony violations of the Espionage Act.

And that it wasn't until the last moment he was convinced that they didn't have enough proof to demonstrate she had intent -- specific intent. Now that's an interesting point because the statute doesn't talk about specific intent. This espionage statute has been around over a hundred years. It talks about gross negligence, which does not require specific intent.

What do you make of this that the -- I mean, it's really confounding in many ways. First Comey clears Hillary Clinton in a bizarre press conference. He doesn't even talk to the Attorney General. One of the things the Inspector General complained about was that he undermined her authority, that's the Attorney General's decision whether somebody is charged or prosecuted, not the Director the FBI.

Then a few days before the election, "Oh, we have more e-mails," and then quickly over the weekend they say, "But don't worry everything's fine," and then we have this General Counsel now saying or who said, "I thought she should have been charged all along but I was convinced at the end." What do you make of what took place at the FBI?

STARR: The FBI should have been in full consultation with the Justice Department. He used the term, Mark, "undermining" the authority of the Attorney General by the way Jim Comey conducted himself. I would say he usurped authority and that's what the Rod Rosenstein memo said in May leading up to the firing of James Comey by the President of the United States.

I wish the President had taken this action much earlier. I think we would have avoided an enormous amount of grief had he because Jim Comey and you and I are both alums of the Justice Department and we know the hierarchy and he knew the hierarchy. He had served in the Justice Department, so this was not inadvertent. He took the authority of the Attorney General and assumed that for himself.

And then there may have been a very weak legal analysis going into the usurpation of authority that is a misreading of the statute because Mr. Baker, the former General Counsel was after all the General Counsel. He is the lawyer to the FBI and so you would think that his view would carry a special weight in terms of the meaning of the statute and he thought, according to the testimony that we're now seeing that she had in fact committed crimes.

One of the reasons that I chose to write this book about the Clinton investigation is we felt that Hillary Clinton was guilty of crimes in the Arkansas phase of the investigation. We couldn't prove it. Prosecutors will frequently say there's a difference between what I know and what I can prove and because of missing witnesses -- Susan McDougal for example would not agree to testify, she went into contempt of court. The name of the book, "Contempt," the President was held in contempt.

But the point is, the Independent Counsel statute contemplates working with the FBI, but it wasn't the FBI that was making these decisions as to whether to prosecute Jim Guy Tucker or anyone else, it was the responsibility of the Justice Department or the Independent Counsel.

LEVIN: So in this FBI, you had at least some of them pushing for the 25th Amendment, yet they are making decisions they had no power to make. I would say to either Jim Comey or McCabe, we had a rogue FBI. We'll be right back.


LEVIN: Ken Starr, I want to ask you about Congressional oversight. The Democrats have multiple committees starting multiple investigations on anything you can think of, related to Trump and Trump world. Now, you know I look at the Constitution, I look at the history of hearings, the history of what Congress does and maybe when it shouldn't do. It has legitimate oversight function. There's no question about that, its job is to legislate. So it kind of needs to know what's going on, but that's not what's going on.

If you want ten years of the President's past tax returns, when you want access to the Deutsche Bank information from the past and they say, "We need to look at these things also because of potential impeachment." It talks about high crimes and misdemeanors among other things while he's President of the United States.

The American people elected this man despite the fact he wouldn't release his tax returns, and by the way, Members of Congress aren't required to release their tax returns either including Nancy Pelosi.

If I'm the President in the United States and I've got good lawyers and I say, "You know what, I'm not giving you that information. You have no legitimate legislative basis for it whatsoever other than to try and harass me, to try and ruin my businesses and my family, so I'll see you in court, ultimately I'll see in the Supreme Court." What's your take on this?

STARR: I think you're on to something. The legislative oversight power is in furtherance of the responsibilities given to Congress under Article 1, conducting a tax investigation is nowhere near the powers of Congress under Article 1 Section 8 and it's almost sounding in the nature of a bill of attainder, it's violating the idea of we don't pass laws or investigate individuals qua-individuals unless it's relating again to our legislative function. What is it that we're elected to do? We're here to oversee the executive branch and to pass laws and so forth.

So I think there is a serious question under separation of powers and I am so glad that you mention that because too many times, as we march on in our third century as a Constitutional Republic, we don't return to these fundamental constitutional principles of, "Wait a second, what's your job, Congress?" "Mr. President, are you exceeding your powers?" "Courts, are you exceeding your powers?" These are questions that we should continually ask and I think it's a very important question in terms of seeking the President's tax returns.

LEVIN: And you and I discuss these things, very few other people do. The debate over the report is when will it be released? What will it contain? Not a debate over the fact of a report. The debate over congressional investigations isn't a debate over, "Well, what are they allowed to investigate under our Constitution? What are the limits as opposed to, well they get 10 years of tax returns or what will be in the tax returns?

STARR: It needs to relate to the legislative authority and legislative power.

LEVIN: Exactly, and yet our media really do the drumbeat for this sort of thing. They're not particularly informed or literate in these areas and they don't particularly care to be. Your dealings with the media we're very difficult and yet from time to time, you found reporters, I think who were real reporters. Tell me about that.

STARR: There's no question. I've divided the media during the investigation resulting now in this book into truth seekers and everybody else, and the good news is, during that time, there were some serious truth seekers. Jeff Gerth of the "New York Times," Steve Labaton of the "New York Times," Sue Schmidt of the "Washington Post," Lisa Myers of NBC News who broke the Juanita Broderick story, a very inflammatory story that the then Attorney General of Arkansas and the future President perhaps committed actual forcible rape.

These were real truth-seeking people and then there were those who were in the other camp, non-truth seekers.

LEVIN: They were heavily outnumbered, weren't they?

STARR: I seem to see -- I wanted to see more truth seekers than we had and so, a lot of the material that went out into the public domain was essentially an echo chamber from what White House press spokespeople were saying, criticisms of the investigation, let's change the subject, let's attack the investigator and one of the things that Hillary, of course, was extremely effective at doing as a student of Saul Alinsky and rules for radicals is, "Go after and destroy the other side."

LEVIN: Personalize, target the person. They did it to you. Do you think that's being done to the President of the United States right now? Can you get hurt on a cable show without him being called a racist or a Nazi or Stalinist or a dictator or the person who's triggered this kind of action and that kind of action? I mean, I can't.

STARR: I wish there was a restoration of civility. Recently, the American Charter of Conscience was released and that American Charter, I wish were in every journalist must-read package because it's one of the other things that says, "Look, we have to disagree with one another and hopefully we don't have to, but we should choose to disagree with one another in a much more civil way and to be respectful of one another."

But this constant calling into question motives and the name-calling and so forth has just resulted, I think in the American people saying, "You know, I really don't like this. I don't like the tone, don't like the attitude and so forth," and I think everybody needs to just stop yelling at one another and have a more reasoned discourse.

LEVIN: Don't forget folks, almost every weeknight, you can watch me on Levin TV. We'd love you to join us over at Levin TV. Here's how you do it. Call 844-LEVIN-TV, 844-LEVIN-TV or go to, that's Join our big wonderful conservative organization right there. We'll be right back.


LEVIN: You know, Ken Starr, over two years now, we've been told the President of the United States has been colluding with the Russians. I've never understood what that means by the way. Does that mean you have a drink with a Russian? I mean, I have Russian heritage, if I talk to the President, is that a Russian thing? So it's this ambiguous term "colluding" with the Russians and it's ambiguous for a reason because you can pour whatever mental image you have into that and yet the Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Richard Burr, he's not a showboat. He's a pretty quiet guy.


LEVIN: He seems to be trying to do a studious job. I don't know him. He's cornered by CBS or NBC or both. He says, "We haven't found any direct evidence of any collusion." Now, other than a quick hit in the media, I don't see that being pounded as "Breaking News" you know, you're always, "Breaking News," "Alert, alert. Breaking News. No collusion found."

And then you have 14 shows talk about it. Where's the Russia collusion? You have thousands of journalists looking. You have hundreds of members of Congress looking, you have Federal prosecutors looking. There's leaks all over the place, people writing books all over the place. You would think if there's evidence of collusion, whatever that is, we'd see it by now. Am I wrong?

STARR: I don't think you're wrong at all. There apparently is no evidence of collusion, certainly not in the public domain and I think we have more than that, Mark. We have contraindications and those are the two indictments returned under Bob Mueller's aegis against the 13 Russian individuals and the two Russian organizations and when you read those two indictments, what you see is the Russians were up to no good and it's a speaking indictment. It tells a story and the story that's told is essentially a non-collusion story.

There didn't need to be any collusion because why? The Russian organizations were lavishly financing these operatives who were using false identification and so forth, committing crimes. It's not just skunk works in the political sense, they were doing all kinds of things, using false pretenses and so forth and here was one of the keys that I think shows no collusion.

On the very same day, these Russian operatives financed in New York City, a pro-Trump rally and an anti-Trump rally on the very same day. They're just trying to sow seeds of discord, so to my knowledge, you're exactly right. There's no evidence of collusion.

LEVIN: This indict -- these indictments of these Russians, and they'll never see the inside of a U.S. courtroom of course. They're indicted for activities that occurred when who was President the United States?

STARR: President Obama.

LEVIN: President Obama. These activities in the FBI took place when who was President the United States? The Department of Justice? Who was President of the United States? I am flabbergasted that there isn't the media paparazzi chasing Barack Obama and asking him wittingly or unwittingly, did he know about any of this and if he didn't, what kind of administration was he running?

This was his Department of Justice. Clapper worked for him. Brennan worked for him. Susan Rice worked for him. We saw the unmasking. A record number of unmasking of individuals, citizens in the last year of the Obama administration. We hear nothing about Barack Obama, the Obama administration.

Harry Truman used to say, "The buck stops here." But apparently, that's not the case in the Obama administration. What accounts for this?

STARR: Well, the book needs to be written and it hasn't been written yet, so there is something that needs to be done in terms of investigative reporting to find out, well, what was the Obama administration doing in light of what they knew was going on, which was this Russian interference with our campaigns?

But we have to note that the Obama administration itself had interfered in the Israeli campaign and chose their approved winner --

LEVIN: Trying to take out Netanyahu.

STARR: Tried to take out Netanyahu and so forth.

LEVIN: Anybody been indicted for that?

STARR: To my knowledge, no. I'm not even sure there was an investigation of that. It may not even be a violation of Federal law, but it clearly is a violation of Federal law for the Russians to be doing what they were doing, so I'm glad these indictments were returned, but there was strange silence out of the White House while this was underway and in a way that who knows what the eventual result would be. You have to predict.

But what you do know is you've got a foreign power trying to interfere with a Presidential election. The President should do something.

LEVIN: And he knew about it for months. They did. Nothing effective was done about it and nobody seems to care, except us. We'll be right back.


LEVIN: Judge Starr, let me ask you this question - do you think we have two systems of justice in this country? One for Republican Presidents and one for Democratic Presidents? Do you think the American people feel that we have two systems of justice in this country?

STARR: I fear that the American people are inclined in that especially those who are supporters of the President and they say, "Well, why wasn't Hillary called to justice with the server? What about the Clinton Foundation?" And so forth. What I say is, be patient because there are other cops on the beat who are truth seekers, who are honest.

Michael Horowitz, the Inspector General of the Justice Department is very respected. From everything I know, I don't know him, he calls them the way he sees them. It's just the facts and so forth. So there's still information and perhaps even actions yet to be taken, but there is right now the appearance, I think that there are two systems of justice and we cannot afford that. We've got to -- it has got to be a job for Bill Bar and then the new Deputy Attorney General and frankly it's a job for Christopher Wray, the head of the FBI right now who needs to, I think, be much more public in the restoration of public confidence.

LEVIN: We only have a few seconds. Do you think the senior leadership that's all resigned or have been fired now did a grave injustice to the men and women of the FBI who are honorable people?

STARR: I think so. I love the FBI and I love the men and women of the FBI and have the greatest respect for them. I've worked with so many of them in my two tours of duty in the Justice Department, as well as Independent Counsel. They deserve better leadership than they've had.

LEVIN: And do you think that day is coming?

STARR: I hope so. I think the jury is out, but I hope so. As I've said before, I've said it publicly, I want the new Director is a person of integrity for everything we know, to be a little bit more public in saying, "It's a new day at the FBI."

LEVIN: Great pleasure. Thank you.

STARR: Thank you, Mark.

LEVIN: Thank you very much, all right.

STARR: Thank you.

LEVIN: That's it, ladies and gentlemen, we'll see you next time on "Life, Liberty & Levin."

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