Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian election interference and possible coordination with the Trump campaign has been occupying the headlines of U.S. and world media for more than a year. Ever since the investigation’s inception, a single question has loomed over the Trump presidency: Can a sitting president be indicted?
According to Ken Starr, the independent counsel who investigated former President Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky in the 1990s, the answer is yes. In an MSNBC interview broadcast on Wednesday, Starr said that Mueller could indict Trump, provided he has the right evidence, Newsweek reports.
“Do you think that if there is the right evidence, Bob Mueller or another prosecutor could indict a sitting president, Donald Trump?” host Ari Melber asked the former prosecutor.
“Yes,” Starr replied. “But the Justice Department has a different view and, as you know, had a different view for almost half a century, going back to a brief file by then–Solicitor General Robert Bork, then Office of Legal Counsel formal opinions, including during the Clinton administration,” he said.
But Starr disagrees with that point of view because, “as important as civil litigation is to the individual litigant and to the rule of law, the vindication of the criminal laws is all the more important.”
Starr’s view may differ from the Justice Department’s recommendations, but some claim that President Trump will find a way to avoid being indicted as a civilian. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin recently suggested in an interview that Donald Trump will simply resign and let Mike Pence — who would become president in the event of Trump’s resignation — pardon him.
While legal scholars appear to disagree on whether a sitting president can be indicted or not, former assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia Glenn Kirschner suggested in an op-ed penned for NBC News that the Justice Department’s memo is not a Supreme Court precedent, arguing that the Office of Legal Counsel’s decision should be revisited and reevaluated.
According to Kirschner, Donald Trump’s “crimes” outpace those of Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton, and “criminal” presidents need to be held accountable in a court of law in an effort to prevent “corrupt” individuals from seeking presidency in the future.
As detailed by a previous Inquisitr report, despite the fact that Robert Mueller enjoys overwhelming public support — tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets following the firing of Jeff Sessions, urging Congress to protect the special counsel — legislation proposed by retiring Republican Senator Jeff Flake has been rejected for the third time in roughly a month.
Ken Starr praised Mueller in his MSNBC interview as well, calling him a “person of complete integrity.”