Ken Starr bashes Mueller report: ‘Special counsel overkill’
Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report is “overly detailed” and amounts to “overkill,” former Whitewater Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr said Wednesday on Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom.”
“The point of this report is simply to say why I prosecuted or why I didn’t prosecute. This is not a term paper,” Starr said.
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Mueller submitted his report in March detailing the findings of a two-year investigation into whether President Trump’s 2016 campaign colluded with Russia and if Trump obstructed justice. Subsequently, Attorney General Bill Barr released a memo to the public with a summary of the report, followed by a redacted version of the report itself.
The 448-page report had “over 1,000 footnotes,” said Starr. “Why?”
“It is special counsel overkill. [The] special counsel is an independent counsel, go the extra, extra mile to be thorough. An occupational hazard. We tried to eliminate that through the regulations that said we don’t want these full, highly detailed reports such as the one that I authored a long time ago,” Starr said, making reference to his own lengthy report that drew criticism for its level of intimate detail about former President Bill Clinton’s sex life when it was released in 1998 as part of the investigation that started with Whitewater and expanded to other scandals.
“We don’t want that anymore. We simply want to restore the Justice Department traditions, provide a confidential report, Mr. Special counsel, or Ms. Special counsel, to the attorney general and then the attorney general will provide an explanation, not the report.”
The handling of the Mueller report and its findings have been the central focus of a Democratic-led congressional inquiry.
Mueller did not reach a conclusion on whether the president obstructed justice yet also did not exonerate him. One consideration was the Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel’s guidance not to indict a sitting president.
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Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, however, determined the evidence in the report did not support such an obstruction case. Mueller later lamented the memo lacked the context to explain the full scope of the investigation’s findings.
Starr also criticized Mueller’s memo, though, calling it a “whiny complaint” that was “leaked on the very eve of Bill Barr’s testimony.”