The former special counsel in the investigation against then US President Bill Clinton has died, and prominent attorney Kenneth Starr died Tuesday in a Texas hospital at the age of 76 from complications from surgery, his family said.
Former federal judge Starr and the government’s lead Supreme Court plaintiff was particularly noted for his dogged Clinton investigations in the 1990s. In his investigative report, he detailed the Democratic president’s sexual relationship with intern Monica Lewinsky. Starr’s mission was to overthrow the president, and he carried out this mission with great zeal.
Ultimately, his controversial report was more of an examination of Clinton’s personality than a list of criminal offenses. Starr’s investigation led to a congressional indictment and impeachment trial against the president for alleged perjury. However, at the end of the trial in 1999, even some Republican senators voted against impeachment, Clinton was acquitted and remained president.
In 2020, Starr was once again at the center of an impeachment trial, but this time on the other side. Then-Republican President Donald Trump secured Starr’s support in a second congressional impeachment trial and included him on his defense team.
Trump: “He’s crazy”
Trump hasn’t held Starr in high regard in the past. “He’s crazy,” Trump said in 1999, during the Clinton impeachment trial, “a disaster.” This was widespread in the Democratic camp, who at the time were closer to Trump than Republicans. As a Republican president, Trump clearly took a liking to Starr when he repeatedly defended him against the allegations on Fox News. Like Clinton, Trump did not win the necessary majority to reach a guilty verdict at the end of the Senate impeachment hearing.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell deplored Starr’s death, stating, “He was a brilliant lawyer, a formidable leader, and a staunch patriot.”