At some point during the investigation into Donald Trump’s possible collusion with Russia in the 2016 presidential election, Special Counsel Robert Mueller will question Donald Trump under oath, putting the president in the uncomfortable position of potentially committing perjury, or invoking his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination. At least, that is the prediction made by Ken Starr, the prosecutor who most recently questioned a sitting president under oath.
Starr, 71, made the prediction when he appeared Thursday night on the MSNBC program The 11th Hour hosted by veteran news anchor Brian Williams. Video of Starr’s interview with Williams on the program may be viewed below, in this article.
“Yes or no answer, if this is possible, do you see the president being placed under oath before this is over?” Williams asked Starr on the broadcast.
Starr’s reply was simple: “Yes.”
Starr also warned that Trump needs to be “worried” not only about the Mueller investigation into his Russia ties but also about the twin congressional investigations being carried out by the House and Senate Intelligence Committees.
“There is a tendency to ignore what Congress is doing when, famously, during the Watergate investigation so many years ago, the explosive fact of the White House tapes came not from Archibald Cox but from Congressional investigators during a deposition,” Starr told Williams.
View the 11th Hour interview with Ken Starr in the video below.
Cox was the Watergate special prosecutor who was fired by President Richard Nixon in 1973 when he demanded that Nixon turn over secretly-taped recordings of Nixon’s Oval Office conversations.
Starr was the special prosecutor in the Whitewater investigation during the administration of President Bill Clinton — an investigation that expanded to include other alleged Clinton scandals, ultimately leading to the sex scandal involving the president and a White House intern named Monica Lewinsky. That scandal led to Clinton’s impeachment, a process that Clinton survived, finishing the two full terms of his presidency.
On August 17, 1998, Starr took testimony from Clinton, questioning the president under oath in front of a grand jury. That testimony was prompted by earlier under-oath testimony given by Clinton to Starr in which the president denied that he had sexual relations with Lewinsky. Starr then accused Clinton of committing perjury and compelled him to testify to the grand jury.
In fact, Clinton had been questioned under oath as early as 1994, less than two years into his presidency, when Starr’s predecessor as Whitewater special prosecutor, Robert Fiske, took sworn testimony from both Bill Clinton and then-First Lady Hillary Clinton about their alleged involvement in the real estate deal. The Clintons were ultimately cleared of any possible wrongdoing in the Whitewater affair.
President Ronald Reagan also testified under oath — though by submitting written statements, not under direct questioning — in the Iran-Contra affair of the late 1980s. In that scandal, Reagan administration officials were accused of selling arms to Iran, a government that was listed as a sponsor of international terrorism, and using the proceeds to illegally fund a covert war by right-wing guerrillas against the government of Nicaragua.
In his interview with Williams, Starr also said that he expected “a number of indictments” to be handed down by Mueller in the Russia investigation, but whether one of those would be an indictment of Trump, he did not specify. According to some reports, Mueller is almost certain to indict former Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort and fired Trump National Security Advisor Michael Flynn on criminal charges stemming from their Russia ties.
[Featured Image by Carolyn Kaster/AP Images]