President Donald Trump‘s impeachment defense team includes defense lawyer and Harvard Law School professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz and independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr, The New York Times reports. Starr’s appointment comes 21 years after his investigation into former President Bill Clinton‘s sexual relationships, which led to his impeachment and subsequent acquittal by the Senate.
Starr will be joined by Robert Ray, who succeeded Starr as independent counsel in the Whitewater investigation and wrote the final report on Clinton.
CNBC reports that the other members of the defense team are ex-Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, and Trump’s personal lawyer Jay Sekulow.
Starr spoke to The Guardian in 2018 about his investigative role in the Clinton trial that spotlighted the former president’s affair with Monica Lewinsky. Although Starr said he didn’t believe he owed Lewinsky an apology, he did express some degree of empathy.
“I regret the sorrow she went through, the travail she went through,” Starr said.
Lewinsky took to Twitter on Friday morning to respond to the news of Starr’s appointment to Trump’s impeachment defense team.
“[T]his is definitely an ‘are you f*cking kidding me?’ kinda day,” she wrote.
In the same interview, Starr spoke about Robert Mueller’s investigation — ongoing at the time — into Trump over alleged collusion between his 2016 campaign and Russia.
“There are eerie echoes of the past,” Starr said. “The years go by yet many of the characters are back on stage, and some of the issues – presidential accountability, rule of law – have re-emerged.”
Starr also represented accused sex trafficker and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein when he was under investigation in the mid-2000s for his misconduct with young women and girls. His work came before Epstein was arrested in 2008 for procuring and soliciting an underage girl for prostitution.
Starr was critical of Trump’s decision to attack former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch as she was testifying against him as part of the impeachment probe.
“I must say that the president was not advised by counsel in deciding to do this tweet. Extraordinarily poor judgment,” Starr said on Fox News.
Starr’s appointment comes just four days before the Senate trial is set to begin on Tuesday. The president is accused of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress in two articles of impeachment that passed the House of Representatives. The trial comes after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sat on the articles in an attempt to pressure the Senate to meet Democratic demands with regards to the procedures for the trial.