Skip to comments.Ken Starr Saved Bill Clinton from Himself
Posted on 06/25/2004 6:32:07 AM PDT by MadIvan
In advance of this week's release of his 957-page memoir, former President Bill Clinton is already rewriting history. Most notably he has excoriated Ken Starr; a remarkable delusion on Clinton's part given that the former Whitewater special prosecutor arguably saved him from committing perjury before a federal grand jury.
The spin began last week, with the former president telling USA Today that Starr was guilty of an "abuse of power" that "crushed innocents." Perhaps mixing journalism with advocacy, CBS anchor Dan Rather noted in the same USA Today piece that Clinton's most "interesting and riveting" comments from Sunday night's 60 Minutes interview concern Ken Starr, and his "'unethical and illegal' attempt to destroy his presidency." Rather went on to say that Clinton "described Starr as a 'proverbial hatchet man for very wealthy, radical-right Republicans.'"
That Bill Clinton would attempt to cast himself as the unwitting victim of a vast right-wing conspiracy is not surprising. What is fascinating is that he would do so in the face of so much contradictory evidence.
Consider his assertion that Starr was the "hatchet man for very wealthy, radical-right Republicans." The "radical right Republican" that he no doubt referred to is Richard Mellon Scaife, but according to the book Truth At Any Cost,
"Starr and Scaife had never met, and shared a mutual distrust. Scaife bankrolled journalistic ventures by far-right conspiracy theorists who believed Vince Foster had been murdered. He was contemptuous of Starr's conclusion that Foster died by his own hand. Starr believe Scaife was irresponsible, and the public suspicions he stirred up unnecessarily dragged out his probe. Starr even thought Scaife might try to scotch his job at Pepperdine."
Regarding the above-mentioned book's authors, Susan Schmidt and Michael Weisskopf: they, if anything, would qualify for the vast left-wing media conspiracy; Schmidt being the co-author of a book titled Tell Newt to Shut Up (guess which Newt), while Weisskopf worked for the Washington Post (as did Schmidt) before switching to Time Magazine. Despite their lefty credentials, their book was surprisingly evenhanded, and certainly came to different conclusions about Starr.
Contrary to Clinton's "unethical and illegal" characterization, Schmidt and Weisskopf wrote that,
"Starr flatly opposed an early subpoena of Clinton. He told his troops that as a matter of respect and comity they should 'exhaust all remedies' to get him to appear voluntarily. Clinton was in a unique bind, Starr thought, and prosecutors had to be careful about exploiting it."
Starr knew that Clinton could not invoke the Fifth Amendment as an ordinary American might because "it would be seen as an admission of guilt and fuel calls for his resignation or impeachment." That in mind, Starr's office invited Clinton to testify several times, but did not make those invitations public.
But what makes Bill Clinton's demonization of Ken Starr truly shocking is that had he been the vindictive sort, the latter could have trapped Clinton in a lie before the federal grand jury investigating Whitewater. Indeed, while in the process of the Janet Reno ordered probe into the president's ties with Monica Lewinsky, Starr's team eventually learned from the FBI lab that the stain on Lewinsky's dress was in fact semen.
This is important because, as Schmidt and Weisskopf wrote, "prosecutors could have waited until after the (Clinton's) testimony to ask for a blood sample, keeping him in the dark. Then, if he stuck to his denial of a sexual relationship with Lewinsky, Starr would have an open-and-shut case of perjury."
Rather than trap him in a lie, Starr chose to throw "Clinton a lifeline" and ordered a blood test of then President Clinton. In asking for the test, Starr team-member Bob Bittman "tacitly confirmed DNA had been found on the dress," a truthful admission that saved Clinton from making false ones.
As opposed to destroying Bill Clinton's presidency, it could be argued that Ken Starr did more than anyone to save it. While it's impossible to know for sure, it doesn't seem like much of a reach to say that Clinton would not have survived a perjury conviction.
Despite what Ken Starr did for him in the darkest moments of his presidency, Bill Clinton has resorted to cheap shots about him, and has once again taken the low road as he tries to rewrite history. Rather than join him, Ken Starr has once again taken the dignified route, saying on Tucker Carlson: Unfiltered that he "understand(s) the depth of his (Clinton's) feelings."
Anyway, I found this interesting. For your discussion and debate.
The same way Kerry saved all their butts during the Iran-Contra-Mena hearings...
Puts me in mind of Clinton's claiming credit for not having cast blame for Mogadishu on p41, who had sent the troops to Somalia.
'Course the fact that the troops were in no danger, and not trying to do regime change in Somalia when Clinton took office - and that Les Aspen took responsibility and resigned as SecDef over Mogadishu - had nothing to do with Clinton's not blaming p41 . . .
Hindsight's 20/20, right? I was calling for the Impeached One's conviction and removal as loudly as anyone in 1998 and 1999. I thank the Lord now that he wasn't run out of office for an imcumbant President Al Gore might easily be our president right now and only God knows what horrors we'd be dealing with.
Me thinks Mr. Tamny means to have said, "in the face of so much evidence to the contrary."
Especially about Starr and the tremendous character he has.
This is a lesson for all of us in acceptance of events that don't go the way we wish. We can't always know the outcome ahead of time, and sometimes we don't understand why evil people don't get immediate punishment. In the case of Clinton, I think it obvious that God knew what was best for us.
I always thought Starr was a Demo plant, meekly and slowly diverting national attention away from real White House crimes (China money, 1000 FBI files copied into Hillary's computers, murder, secret smear squads, etc.) so that intern sex gobbled up the media's complete attention.
Starr bent over backwards to save Clinton from himself. He is a disgrace, and I hope he sleeps fitfully.
The best thing about the Clinton Presidency is that it will be forgotten by history, a mere footnote. If it werent for an eccentric billionaire he wouldnt have had even that much. Absent Ross Perots help there is no chance that Clinton could have beaten President Bush (41) and it is questionable if he could have even beaten the inept candidacy of Senator Robert Dole.
Without any major accomplishments the only note worthy event will be impeachment. By his demonstrated lack of respect for the Truth, the Rule of Law and the Judicial Branch of our Government, Clinton may have inadvertently achieved a minor historical legacy. No wonder he claims in the recent 60 Minutes interview that he will always wear impeachment as a badge of honor.
bump and thanks!