Former Whitewater independent counsel Ken Starr is now a member of President Donald Trump’s impeachment defense team, suggesting that the president holds his legal acumen and/or rhetorical skill in high regard. That certainly wasn’t always the case, the record shows.
In comments to Matt Lauer on NBC News back on Oct. 8, 1999, CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski noted, Trump brutally put down Starr for his work on the Bill Clinton impeachment, calling Starr a “wacko,” “crazy,” a “lunatic,” a “disaster,” and more.
I think Ken Starr’s a lunatic. I really think that Ken Starr is a disaster. I hated the way the president handled it. He could have said, ‘Look, I don’t want to discuss it.’ I’ve seen politicians in New York that are scoundrels get away with that for years. ‘I don’t talk about my personal life.’ They’ve made a living off not talking about — he should have done that. Instead, he had to lie.
He was asked a second time if Clinton should been impeached, and answered:
He had to lie. I’m glad it worked out the way it did. But it was a long and terrible process. I — I really think that Ken Starr was terrible. But I think the president handled it terribly. And it’s a shame, because he could have gone down as a very good and even great president. It’s a shame.
During the Lauer interview, Trump also praised New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd as “great.” In Sept. 1999, Trump told Dowd the following about Starr: ”Starr’s a freak. I bet he’s got something in his closet.”
[Image via Win McNamee/Getty Images]