Ken Starr says Trump’s second impeachment ‘unconstitutional’ and sets ‘dangerous precedent’
Former independent counsel Ken Starr says the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump is an “unconstitutional process” and sets a “very dangerous precedent” because Trump has already left office.
“Every literate member of the audience can pull the Constitution, can read the key sentence: ‘Judgment in cases of impeachment shall not extend further than removal,’” Starr said on “America’s Newsroom” on Wednesday, quoting the U.S. Constitution. “The natural reading of that … is what impeachment was meant to be and historically has been.”
Starr referred to the case of Richard Nixon, who was not impeached after resigning from the presidency.
“In the most relevant historical precedent, that is the resignation of Richard Nixon, it was over,” Starr told Bill Hemmer and Dana Perino. “There was no suggestion that, well, we need to continue this process and try him and disqualify him in the future because he will remain a clear and present danger.”
“The Congress of that time, which was controlled by Democrats, knew full well that this was not the proper constitutional course,” he added.
Trump’s second impeachment trial formally began Jan. 25, when senators were sworn in as jurors, and resumed Tuesday. The former president is charged with incitement of insurrection related to the Jan. 6 riot on Capitol Hill.
Starr argued the House should have begun the impeachment process before Trump left office.
“They should have marched the article over and then the Chief Justice [John Roberts] would have presided,” Starr said. “We now have a non-impartial, a partial presiding officer [Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., the Senate’s president pro tempore], which is just another indication that this is an unconstitutional process.”
Starr was a member of Trump’s legal team for his first impeachment trial, during which he was acquitted by the Senate on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. At the time of Trump’s first impeachment, Starr called the proceedings an “ugly chapter” in American legal history.