The announcement that Kenneth Starr and Robert Ray, two former independent counsels from the Whitewater investigation, would be joining President Donald Trump’s impeachment defense team appeared to elicit a disgusted reaction from one of Whitewater’s central figures — Monica Lewinsky.
Only minutes after the news broke that Starr and Ray — along with constitutional law professor Alan Dershowitz — had been recruited to join Trump’s legal team, Lewinsky sent out a short tweet that may have summed up her feelings about the news.
“This is definitely an ‘are you f*cking kidding me?’ kinda day,” said the former White House intern, whose relationship with former President Bill Clinton led to his impeachment.
The rest of Trump’s defense team is made up of ex-Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, and Trump’s personal lawyer Jay Sekulow.
In the late ’90s, the Whitewater investigation lead directly to Clinton’s impeachment after the then-president lied under oath about the nature of his affair with Lewinsky. Starr would release his final report to the public, published in the book The Starr Report: The Findings of Independent Counsel Kenneth W. Starr on President Clinton and the Lewinsky Affair in 1998.
Clinton would be impeached by the House for his attempt to hide his relationship with Lewinsky, but would be acquitted by the Senate in 1999 and allowed to finish his term as president.
In the years after the impeachment scandal, Lewinsky would often speak out about the public shaming she received due to her role in the incident.
“In 1998, I lost my reputation and my dignity,” Lewinsky said in a 2018 speech, according to a report by USA Today. “I lost almost everything, and I almost lost my life.”
Starr has spoken in the past about the investigation and the affect it had on Lewinsky, saying in an interview that he didn’t owe her an apology.
“I regret the sorrow she went through, the travail she went through,” he added.
Lewinsky has fought back from that dark period and has developed a successful career for herself. In 2014, she became a contributor to Vanity Fair. Lewinsky was also featured in the 2018 television documentary The Clinton Affair and is a producer on the third installment of the true-crime anthology American Crime Story, the affair-focused Impeachment.
President Trump is currently facing two articles of impeachment, as he has been charged with abuse of power in relation to his dealings with the Ukrainian government as well as obstruction of Congress. The Senate trial formally began on Thursday with a swearing-in ceremony.