Ken Starr, the prosecutor whose investigation led to the impeachment of President Bill Clinton in 1998, has been a vocal critic of the current impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump. Appearing frequently on Fox News, Starr has stated that the Trump impeachment is “doomed to fail.”
However, even Starr criticized a Twitter post by Trump on Friday morning. As The Associated Press reported, Trump attacked former United States Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch at the same moment Yovanovitch testified in a televised impeachment hearing.
“Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad,” Trump wrote. “She started off in Somalia, how did that go? Then fast forward to Ukraine.”
Trump went on to say that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky “spoke unfavorably” about Yovanovitch in “my second phone call with him.”
Democrat Adam Schiff, chair of the House Intelligence Committee conducting the impeachment hearing, condemned Trump’s tweet as “witness intimidation,” as seen in the video below on this page.
In an appearance on Fox News on Friday morning, Starr also spoke disapprovingly of Trump’s real-time attack on Yovanovitch. However, Starr said that he did not believe the tweet “rises to the level” of witness intimidation.
“The President frequently says ‘I follow my instincts.’ Well, sometimes we have to control our instincts,” Starr said, as seen in the video below. “Extraordinarily poor judgment… Obviously this was quite injurious.”
KEN STARR on Trump’s tweet:
"I must say that the president was not advised by counsel in deciding to do this tweet. Extraordinarily poor judgment." pic.twitter.com/6OZI5B5een
— JM Rieger (@RiegerReport) November 15, 2019
In her testimony, according to the AP report, Yovanovitch said she felt threatened by Trump when she read the transcript of his July 25 phone call with Zelensky. In that call, according to the transcript posted online by The White House, Trump told Zelensky that Yovanovitch was “bad news,” and stated she was “going to go through some things.”
— The Hill (@thehill) November 15, 2019
In her testimony on Friday, Yovanovitch said that when she read Trump’s words about her in the transcript, she was “shocked and devastated,” and that “the color drained from my face…. Even now words fail me.”
Another Republican supporter of Trump and critic of the impeachment process, Liz Cheney of Wyoming — who is the third-ranking Republican in the House, and the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney — called Trump’s tweet attacking Yovanovitch “wrong.”
“I don’t think the president should have done that,” Cheney said, according to a PBS report while noting that Yovanovitch has devoted a decades-long career to public service.
As independent counsel, Starr conducted a five-year investigation of Clinton from 1993 to 1998. In December of 1998, the House voted to impeach Clinton on two charges related to an extramarital relationship he had as president with White House intern, Monica Lewinsky. In February of 1999, the Senate voted not to convict or remove Clinton, who went on to finish his second term ending on January 20, 2001.