Ken Starr warns Trump against firing Mueller
Former independent counsel Ken Starr called the prospect of firing Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller an “insult to the Founding Fathers” in a Washington Post op-ed published Thursday night.
Starr, whose investigation into former President Bill Clinton began with a look into the Whitewater real estate deal but eventually grew to cover the Monica Lewinsky scandal, wrote of the importance of having an “outside investigation” that can skirt potential conflict of interest concerns when investigating matters on the executive branch — no matter whether suspicion of the President falls “rightly or wrongly.”
“Subject to the possibility of being fired for ‘good cause,’ Mueller should be allowed to do his work unhindered and unimpeded,” Starr writes. “Absent the most extreme circumstances, the President would be singularly ill-advised to threaten, much less order, Mueller’s firing.”
The op-ed comes just days after a friend claimed that President Donald Trump was considering firing the special counsel.
“I think it is a consideration the President has had because Mueller is illegitimate as special counsel,” Christopher Ruddy, the CEO of Newsmax Media, told CNN’s Chris Cuomo on “New Day” Tuesday.
However, White House press secretary Sean Spicer denied Ruddy has spoken to the President about the issue. And a person familiar with Trump’s thinking said Tuesday morning that it’s “unlikely” the President will fire Mueller, but conceded that it’s often difficult to predict Trump’s behavior.
Starr, however, warned that Mueller should be careful not to “wander outside the bounds of professionalism and basic integrity” — as those would be grounds to fire him.
“(Mueller) will be closely watched,” Starr writes.
Starr also touched on some people’s frustrations following Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ recent testimony — and his refusal to repeat conversations with Trump — in front of the Senate intelligence committee on Tuesday. Starr wrote that Sessions “was on entirely solid ground in safeguarding the President’s right to invoke executive privilege.”
Starr’s op-ed follows comments he made on CNN’s “New Day” Thursday morning in which he said there is currently no obstruction of justice case against Trump, based on the evidence that has been made public so far.
“Obstruction of justice is really a very hard crime to make out,” Starr said on “New Day.” “It’s not just you want the investigation to go away [or] you suggest that the investigation goes away — you’ve got to take really affirmative action.”