Tag Archives: Kenneth Starr

Is there an impeachable offense in this scandal?

President Bill Clinton was impeached because he answered falsely to a question — posed before a grand jury — about whether he had a sexual relationship with a young White House intern.

Congressional Republicans were waiting for a reason to impeach the Democratic president. The president handed it to them by perjuring himself before a grand jury assembled by special prosecutor Kenneth Starr. Let’s remember that Starr’s probe began with an examination of a real estate matter involving the president and the first lady. We called it “Whitewater.” It was centered in Arkansas.

Somehow, though, it weaved its way toward the relationship the president had with a much-younger woman who was working in the West Wing.

Two decades later, a new special counsel, Robert Mueller, is conducting an investigation into Russian collusion, obstruction of justice and assorted other dealings involving — allegedly — Donald J. Trump.

I now am wondering if this current sex controversy involving Trump and a porn star is somehow going to end up on Mueller’s list of issues to investigate.

Trump has denied having an affair with this woman. Her lawyer has said on the record that the future president and his client did have a sexual relationship.

Given the sometimes-unpredictable nature of these investigations, I am left to wonder what might happen if he is able to subpoena Trump to testify before a grand jury he has assembled.

Is it at all possible that Mueller could ask Trump — who would be compelled to swear to tell “the whole truth and nothing but the truth” — whether he had an affair with this porn queen.

If Trump says “no,” and if the porn queen produces proof that she and Trump took a tumble in 2006, is that grounds for an impeachment?

Holy moly, man! Might history be capable of repeating itself?

Let’s all wait for all of this to play out.

Mueller’s probe might find new paths to travel

Kenneth Starr’s investigation of President and Mrs. Clinton began with a look into the first couple’s real estate dealings.

Then it morphed into something quite different. A blue dress emerged with some DNA on it, linking it to a relationship between the president and a young White House intern.

Starr, a special prosecutor, summoned the president before a grand jury and asked him about the relationship. President Clinton didn’t tell the truth.

Boom! We had an impeachment!

Two decades later, special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe — which began as an investigation into possible collusion with Russians who hacked into our 2016 presidential election — might be heading down a similar path.

Donald Trump allegedly had an affair with a porn queen in 2006. He has denied it. The president’s personal lawyer, Michel Cohen, has acknowledged writing a $130,000 check to keep the porn queen quiet about an affair — again, that the president says didn’t happen.

So, here comes the latest Big Question: Where did the money come from to pay the porn actress? Cohen says he paid it out of his personal account.

Meanwhile, you and I know that Mueller’s antennae have been alerted. The special counsel/former FBI director is a meticulous lawyer. There just be be some dots connect between the Russian probe and this seedy, crappy, tawdry affair.

Looking back on the Starr investigation, I am perplexed at how the special prosecutor connected the dots between real estate and a tawdry relationship between the president and a much younger woman. But he did.

Might history be repeating itself?

Is lying an impeachable offense? Maybe

The discussion about the investigation into the “Russia thing” has taken a fascinating new turn, thanks to none other than an independent counsel whose probe into Bill Clinton resulted in the former president’s impeachment.

Kenneth Starr said this morning that special counsel Robert Mueller ought to consider the impact of Donald Trump’s apparent lie about firing Mueller.

Speaking on ABC News’s “This Week” talk show, Starr noted that Trump’s repeated statements that he has never considered firing Mueller are exactly counter to what the New York Times and other media are reporting: that Trump actually decided to fire Mueller but backed off when the White House counsel threatened to quit.

How does Starr’s credibility on this matter stack up? In 1998, he said that President Clinton’s public denials about an affair with Monica Lewinsky formed one of the bases for his eventual impeachment.

Do you get it? If Trump has lied to the public about whether he wanted to fire Mueller and the news accounts prove to be accurate, are there, um, grounds for impeachment?

Starr said the president has broad authority to fire anyone. “He can ask for Mueller to be fired for any reason,” Starr said on “This Week.” “The president’s power is extremely broad, as long as he’s not engaged in discrimination or accepting bribes.”

But would his decision to fire Mueller — if it’s true — be because of an intent to block an investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russians who hacked into our national electoral system? If so, does that constitute an obstruction of justice?

Let me think. Oh yeah! President Clinton was impeached, too, for obstruction of justice.

And the drama continues to mount.

Bill Clinton paid the price for his misbehavior

We’re talking these days about sexual predation, abuse, assault, harassment. Men do behave badly at times. A number of men in powerful positions have been accused of that bad behavior.

I feel the need to set the record straight on one powerful man who once was in the news because of his misdeeds.

Republicans keep harping on former President Bill Clinton’s misbehavior while he was in the White House. They use that historical context to “defend” the actions of one currently prominent GOP politician, U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore of Alabama, who’s been accused of sexual abuse involving underage girls.

These Republicans, some of whom are friends of mine — and even a family member — wonder why President Clinton got a pass when he was messing around with Monica Lewinsky, a young White House intern in the late 1990s.

I must remind them: President Clinton got impeached. The House of Representatives — led by its GOP majority — impeached the president because he lied under oath to a federal grand jury that was snooping around, looking for something to stick to the president. The special counsel, Kenneth Starr, uncovered the Clinton-Lewinsky relationship, summoned the president to testify to the grand jury, asked him whether he had an sexual relationship with Lewinsky.

Clinton said “no.” That was untrue. Thus, the House had its grounds for impeachment: perjury. The president was humiliated. His wife became, shall we say, quite angry with him.

Did the president get off scot-free? Hardly. He paid a huge political price in the moment.

The U.S. Senate put him on trial. Senators acquitted him. Thus, the president was allowed to serve out the remainder of his second term in office.

Yes, there were other allegations. Clinton did settle with one of the accusers. He was stripped of his law license in Arkansas.

There’s no doubt that the former president has reclaimed his political standing. Time does have a way of putting some matters into different contexts.

However, the notion that Bill Clinton did not pay a price for his misbehavior is a canard those who still despise him are using to divert attention from the issue of the moment, which involves the conduct of the current crop of high-powered men.

Kenneth Starr: The King of Irony

Leave it to Kenneth Starr to make one of the more ironic declarations about the unfolding investigation into Donald J. Trump’s alleged involvement with Russian election hackers.

Starr has cautioned special counsel Robert Mueller to avoid going onto a “fishing expedition” in his search for the truth behind whether Trump’s presidential campaign had any improper dealings with Russians seeking to meddle in our 2016 election.

Mueller needs to keep his mission focused, Starr said. He shouldn’t allow it to wander onto unplowed ground.

Well now. How does one respond to that?

Let’s try this.

Kenneth Starr became a master judicial fisherman in the 1990s when he was selected as special counsel to investigate a real estate deal called Whitewater involving President and Mrs. Clinton. He came up with nothing there. Then he sauntered off into a sexual harassment charge leveled against the president by Paula Jones. Then he found something else, which was a relationship the president was having with a White House intern.

Real estate deal leads to sexual harassment, which then leads to a sexual relationship. Impeachment followed all of that.

Is the current special counsel headed down the same path? I haven’t a clue.

Kenneth Starr, though, proved to us all that these investigations can hit pay dirt even as they wander hither and yon.

The comic aspect of this whole discussion is that someone such as Starr would issue a word of caution for one of his legal descendants about a “fishing expedition.”

Special counsel’s plate getting quite full

Robert Mueller keeps getting more information than he can digest at a single sitting.

Yep, the special counsel assigned to examine Russian government meddling into our electoral process and allegations that the Donald J. Trump campaign colluded with the Russians is getting a good bit more, um, complicated.

The Washington Post is reporting, for instance, that the president told Donald John Trump Jr. how he should describe a meeting Don Jr. had with a Russian lawyer who invited him to meet so he could receive some alleged dirt on Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The president’s lawyer denies the story outright. Other Trump defenders accuse the Post of conveying “fake news.”

But, oh, this is the stuff of serious political intrigue.

Don Jr. supposedly reported the meeting was to be about “Russian adoption policy.” That wasn’t the case, according to the Post, which reports that young Don got instructions from Dad the President on what to say.

I believe that might constitute a serious obstruction of justice matter … if it’s true. The Post, of course, stands by its story, while the White House denies all of it.

Don Jr. isn’t talking. Imagine that.

Recall that another special counsel, Kenneth Starr, started looking into a real estate deal involving President and Mrs. Clinton. Then more tidbits began flying over his transom. Eventually, Starr got wind of a relationship Bill Clinton was having with a young White House intern. Starr poked around a little more and, well, the rest is history.

Mueller has the same latitude as Starr as he pursues the Russia matter. Stories such as the one published by the Post give him even more grist to pore through as he continues his pursuit of the truth behind the Russia story.

Dear Mr. POTUS: Let Mueller do his job

Donald J. Trump requires a lesson in government. Yep, the president of the United States does not understand how many things work.

Take the special counsel hired by the U.S. Department of Justice to examine the president’s potential ties to the Russian government and whether there might be some collusion between that government and the president’s winning campaign in 2016.

He is rattling some sabers, threatening to fire special counsel Robert Mueller if he looks into the Trump family’s financial dealings.

Here’s where the lesson might kick in.

The special counsel has wide latitude to take the examination wherever it leads. Does the president recall what occurred when an earlier special prosecutor, Kenneth Starr, began examining a real estate matter involving President and Mrs. Clinton? He sniffed around and then learned about a young White House intern. Starr then learned about a relationship she was having with the president. He decided to ask the president some questions about it. He summoned him to a federal grand jury; the president violated the oath he took to tell the truth; he then was impeached.

That’s what happens, Mr. President. Special counsels are within their legal authority to look where they can find to determine the truth. Indeed, an examination of family business dealings well might help the public learn the whole truth about the relationship between the Trump empire and the Russian government. If it finds nothing there, then Mueller’s office can clear the president.

Technically, the president cannot summarily fire the special counsel. He has to ask the Justice Department to do it. Indeed, a leading congressional Republican, Rep. Mike McCaul of Texas, has warned the president about getting rid of Mueller. If he does it, the president faces a bipartisan backlash on Capitol Hill.

Let the process continue, Mr. President. You don’t seem to know the trouble you would purchase if you act foolishly.

No ‘fishing expeditions’? Sure thing, Sen. Cruz

Ted Cruz doesn’t want special counsel Robert Mueller to go on a “fishing expedition” in his search for answers relating to Donald J. Trump’s relationship with Russian government officials.

I now shall remind the junior U.S. Republican senator from Texas about another fishing expedition that once suited GOP members of Congress just fine. It involved Kenneth Starr’s probe into an Arkansas real estate matter; they called it Whitewater.

Starr, the special counsel appointed to look into that deal, then went on a fishing expedition of his own. He wandered far afield and then discovered that President Bill Clinton was involved in a tawdry relationship with a young White House intern.

A federal grand jury summoned the president to talk about that relationship. The president didn’t tell the panel the truth.

Boom! Congressional Republicans then had their grounds for impeaching the president. The House did it. The Senate then acquitted him.

So, you see? Fishing expeditions can turn into something consequential.

Mueller is a pro and deserves latitude in his search for the truth.

I just find it laughable that Cruz would issue a warning against Mueller, a former FBI director and a man fairly universally respected as a thorough and meticulous investigator. Indeed, Cruz called Mueller a “good and honorable man.”

One can imagine if a Democratic president faced the kind of scrutiny that is being leveled against Donald Trump. What do you suppose the Cruz Missile would say then?

I get how political consideration — and leanings — are driving the analyses of the Mueller investigation.

My own take on Robert Mueller’s probe is that if he uncovers something that is, um, illegal, he is bound by his oath to pursue it to the very end.

Turn the special counsel loose

If history is any guide, a special counsel investigation aimed at rooting out issues relating to the president of the United States and his alleged ties to Russia well could develop a life of its own.

Robert Mueller has been given the task of finding out whether Donald John Trump’s presidential campaign was complicit in Russian government efforts to swing the 2016 presidential election. He’s also going to examine possible links between a former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, to the Russians. Moreover, he has latitude to look into whether the president obstructed justice by “asking” former FBI Director James Comey to shut down a probe of Flynn’s ties to Russia.

Could there be even more to learn, beyond the official tasks given to Mueller — himself a former FBI director?

Mueller’s the man

We have some historical precedent to ponder.

Kenneth Starr once held the title of “independent prosecutor.” His duty in the 1990s was to look at a real estate venture involving President Bill Clinton and his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton. Republican critics in Congress thought there were some shady circumstances that needed to be examined. Starr began poking around and discovered some evidence of a relationship between President Clinton and a young 20-something White House intern.

A federal grand jury summoned the president to testify. The president took an oath to tell the whole truth to the grand jury — and then he lied about his relationship.

Ah-hah! GOP House members then cobbled together an impeachment proceeding that charged the president with perjury and obstruction of justice. The House impeached the president. The Senate held its trial and he was acquitted.

Will history repeat itself? I have no clue. My guess is that special counsel Mueller doesn’t yet know where his probe will lead.

These matters do have a way of growing legs. The statute gives Mueller considerable leeway in his pursuit of the truth. The president cannot fire him; he can, though, order the Justice Department to do so. Let’s hope that Donald Trump resists that impulse. I know that’s a tall order, given the self-proclaimed joy he gets when he fires people.

But the Justice Department’s deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, has picked a serious legal heavyweight to do some seriously heavy lifting.

It’s time now for Robert Mueller to get busy. Rapidly.

Football isn’t exactly ‘king’ at Baylor University


The hammer has dropped on two leading figures at Baylor University.

Kenneth Starr has been moved out of the president’s office and “demoted” to the role of Baylor chancellor. I guess within the Baylor system, the chancellor is more of a figurehead than an actual administrator.

Meanwhile, head football coach Art Briles has been “suspended.” Baylor regents, though, said they intend to fire the coach.

What’s more, Baylor Athletic Director Ian McCaw has been placed on probation.

This is a big deal. It centers on a sex scandal at the Waco school.

Two players were convicted of sexual assault. The trouble erupted, though, when allegations surfaced that the school didn’t take the charges seriously enough initially.

“We were horrified by the extent of these acts of sexual violence on our campus,” said Richard Willis, chair of the Baylor Board of Regents. “This investigation revealed the university’s mishandling of reports in what should have been a supportive, responsive and caring environment for students. The depth to which these acts occurred shocked and outraged us.”

And just why is this a big deal? Because, the football program had been rebuilt. Baylor was getting a lot of money because its football team was winning a lot of games. The school rebuilt its stadium. Coach Briles was seen a major celebrity at Baylor.

As for Starr, well, I’ve already commented on the rich irony of his dismissal. Recall that Starr served as special counsel to Congress, which charged him with looking into the Whitewater real estate deal involving President and Mrs. Clinton. The Whitewater probe then morphed into an investigation into a sexual relationship between President Clinton and a young White House intern.

That investigation culminated in the president’s impeachment on charges that he lied to a grand jury.

Sex consumed that investigation … just as it has consumed the university that Starr has led for the past couple of years.

Irony? You bet.


This isn’t the first time a big-name football has been taken down by a sex scandal. Penn State University fired the legendary Joe Paterno after one of his assistant coaches, Jerry Sandusky, was accused of sexual abuse of boys. Sandusky has been convicted of multiple felonies and is serving time in prison. The question became: What did JoePa know and when did he know it?

The same thing can be asked of Coach Briles and Kenneth Starr.

Someone has to be held responsible. Who better than two of the men at the top of the chain of command?