Ken Starr, the independent counsel during the Bill Clinton impeachment scandal, played a key role in one of the most dramatic presidential controversies in history.
However, where is Ken Starr now? What is the special prosecutor doing today? ABC is resurrecting the saga on January 10, 2019 in a two-hour documentary called Truth and Lies. According to ABC, the documentary “takes an up-close look at hours of surreptitiously recorded conversations between White House intern Monica Lewinsky and her confidante, Linda Tripp; how the saga that ensued took an emotional toll on the desperate, young intern; and the lengths her colleague would go to uncover an American president’s deception.” It features a new interview with Kenneth Starr.
The Washington Post reported of him in 2018, “His jowls have matured. His hair has gone white. His vowels are pillowy. He is still professorial and preacherly, but gentler and cheerier.”
Here’s what you need to know:
Ken Starr Has Spoken Out About the Mueller Investigation Into Donald Trump & Defended Brett Kavanaugh
In November 2018, Kenneth Starr weighed in on the Robert Mueller investigation controversies into the presidential campaign of President Donald Trump. The interview aired on AM 970 in New York.
In that interview, according to The Hill, Starr said he had not seen anything “even close” to being impeachable against President Trump. “I know of no evidence … that would suggest that [Trump] has committed high crimes and misdemeanors,” Starr told the radio station. “You can hate the way he tweets … you can disagree with his policies … but be very careful before you move the country toward impeachment. It’s inherently divisive.”
In September 2018, Starr sat down with Politico for a podcast and said he believed Trump should be wary of sitting down with Mueller’s investigators. “If I’m on his criminal defense team, I would be very concerned,” he told Politico. “I don’t know what President Trump knows, but there have been a number of guilty pleas. Some of those guilty pleas go to false statements, so I would just be cautious” before answering questions from Mueller.” You can listen to the podcast here.
Starr also warned that “impeachment is hell” and he told MSNBC that he thought a sitting president could be indicted. According to Washington Examiner, he also said of Trump’s rhetoric, “Unwise, uncalled for, extraordinarily unseemly, not a crime.”
Starr has also defended Brett Kavanaugh, who worked for him during the days of the Clinton investigation. Kavanaugh served in George H.W. Bush’s administration in the solicitor general’s office, which is how he became acquainted with Ken Starr. “Kavanaugh was a protegé of Kenneth Starr,” reports Vox. “He was a principal author of the Starr Report.”
“I believe when Brett Kavanaugh says nothing [happened],” Starr said about Kavanaugh to Politico. “Now, there are these issues of inebriation and so forth, but Brett says it did not happen, and I believe Brett. … Character counts, and you kind of learn pretty quickly what a person’s character is when you’re in the trenches with him, right, day in and day out—and for me, year in and year out.”
Kenneth Starr Is the Author of a Memoir, a Grandfather & a Former Chancellor
Ken Starr lives in Waco, Texas. According to The Washington Post, in 2018, he was age “72, a grandfather to seven, still practicing law, active in the realms of religious liberty and immigration. He’s a mentor in the public schools of Waco, Tex., where he lives.” Kenneth Starr is married to wife Alice Mendell. In 2010, the Waco Tribune described Alice Mendell as “a tireless volunteer and philanthropic leader.”
His Brittanica entry says that Starr served as dean of Pepperdine University’s law school from 2004-2010 and president and chancellor of Baylor University after that.
“During his tenure at Baylor, the school drew criticism for its response to a series of alleged sexual assaults, a number of which were reportedly committed by football players. In May 2016 an independent investigation released a report that claimed the university had seriously mishandled the accusations,” Brittanica reported. “Shortly thereafter Starr was removed as president, and he later resigned as the school’s chancellor.”
Ken Starr reemerged in the public eye to promote his new 2018 memoir titled Contempt. In it, Starr expressed some regret. “I deeply regret that I took on the Lewinsky phase of the investigation. But at the same time, as I still see it twenty years later, there was no practical alternative to my doing so,” Starr wrote.
The book blurb on Amazon reads in part,
Starr — the man at the eye of the hurricane — has kept his unique perspective to himself for two full decades. In this long-awaited memoir, he finally sheds light on everything he couldn’t tell us during the Clinton years, even in his carefully detailed ‘Starr Report’ of September 1998. Contempt puts you, the reader, into the shoes of Starr and his team as they tackle the many scandals of that era, from Whitewater to Vince Foster’s death to Travelgate to Monica Lewinsky. Starr explains in vivid detail how all those scandals shared a common thread: the Clintons’ contempt for our system of justice. This book proves that Bill and Hillary Clinton weren’t victims of a so-called ‘vast right-wing conspiracy.
They played fast and loose with the law and abused their powers and privileges. With the perspective we’ve all gained over the past two decades, Starr’s story and insights are more relevant than ever.
He Ran Into Monica Lewinsky in a Restaurant in 2017
Monica Lewinsky has written about an awkward encounter she had with Starr in a Manhattan restaurant in 2017. She says he asked her if she was OK, writing, “A stranger might have surmised from his tone that he had actually worried about me over the years. His demeanor, almost pastoral, was somewhere between avuncular and creepy. He kept touching my arm and elbow, which made me uncomfortable.”
She wrote that she replied, “Though I wish I had made different choices back then, I wish that you and your office had made different choices, too” and says Starr responded, “I know. It was unfortunate.”