The impeachment of President Bill Clinton in the last years of the 1990s was a deeply divisive fight akin to a “domestic” war — that, in the end, produced no tangible result and put the country through too much.
That’s an interesting argument to consider when evaluating whether the ongoing Senate trial into the impeachment of President Donald Trump is worth what it is doing to the country.
It’s also the argument put forward on Monday by Ken Starr, the former independent counsel in the Clinton impeachment and now one of the lawyers arguing that Trump should be acquitted.
“Those of us who lived through the Clinton impeachment, including members of this body, full well understand that a presidential impeachment is tantamount to domestic war, but thankfully protected by our beloved First Amendment, a war of words and a war of ideas,” said Starr on Monday. “But it’s filled with acrimony and it divides the country like nothing else.”
Yes, you read that right. Ken Starr 2020 is arguing that the current President shouldn’t be impeached because of how divisive for the country the last impeachment fight turned out to be — an impeachment fight led by Ken Starr, in 1998.
If Starr’s chosen argument on Monday proved anything, it wasn’t that Trump shouldn’t be allowed to impeached for the good of the country, it was that truth really is stranger than fiction.
It also highlighted the fact that Trump handpicked his legal defense team — or at least part of it — based not on common-sense considerations but rather on who he thought would defend him well on Fox News.
Because even the most basic thinking on his team would have led to this thought: “Wait, we are going to have Ken Starr — KEN STARR — argue that impeachment is too divisive for the country?”
Like, out of all the lawyers in the country, the President decided to go with the one guy who is uniquely unsuited to make that case???
The Point: There is no strategy. There is no three-dimensional chess. There is just Trump. And his cable TV lens.