The journalists at ABC on Monday made little effort to hide their contempt for “surreal” “instigator” Ken Starr and his defense of Donald Trump during the impeachment trial. Stephanopoulos, who it must be reminded is a former Bill Clinton White House hack, sputtered, “I have to say it was breathtaking, maybe even a little surreal to see Ken Starr take on the age of impeachment comparing impeachment to war, calling it hell, when he was the chief instigator of President Clinton's impeachment.”
Terry Moran began his reporting with scorn, mocking Starr: “I thought the most impressive aspect of Ken Starr's presentation there was the fact that he could keep a straight face through it because he was the leader and instigator of the Clinton impeachment.”
Moran scoffed, “It was an achievement for him to get through that.” Dismissing the legal expertise of Starr, Moran derided, “I'm not sure that it would appeal to anyone on the Democratic side, but maybe he was there to remind Republicans of how much they hated Bill Clinton.”
What’s the reason Moran and Stephanopoulos are on ABC? To remind everyone of how much they hate Trump? For the ex-Clinton operative, let’s remind people that he endorsed a a scorched earth policy of exposing the secrets of others in order to save Bill Clinton from impeachment. Here’s the February 8, 1998 edition of This Week:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: White House allies are already starting to whisper about what I’ll call the Ellen Rometsch strategy. . . . She was a girlfriend of John F. Kennedy, who also happened to be an East German spy. And Robert Kennedy was charged with getting her out of the country and also getting John Edgar Hoover to go to the Congress and say, don’t you investigate this, because if you do, we’re going to open up everybody’s closets. And I think that in the long run, they have a deterrent strategy on getting a lot of . . . [FBI files].
SAM DONALDSON: Are you suggesting for a moment that what they’re beginning to say is that if you investigate this too much, we’ll put all your dirty linen right on the table? Every member of the Senate? Every member of the press corps?
STEPHANOPOULOS: Absolutely. The president said he would never resign, and I think some around him are willing to take everybody down with him.
A transcript is below. Click “expand” to read more.
ABC Live impeachment coverage
2:54 PM ET
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: The Trump team kicking off their presentations today with Ken Starr, of course, special counsel who investigated President Bill Clinton in the 1998 impeachment investigation, 1999 Senate trial, drafted the original articles of impeachment. I want to bring in Terry Moran. You and I covered that Senate trial in early 1999. I have to say it was breathtaking, maybe even a little surreal to see Ken Starr take on the age of impeachment comparing impeachment to war, calling it hell, when he was the chief instigator of President Clinton's impeachment.
TERRY MORAN: It sure was, George. I thought the most impressive aspect of Ken Starr's presentation there was the fact that he could keep a straight face through it because he was the leader and instigator of the Clinton impeachment, an impeachment he talked today about how impeachment needs a national consensus. Sixty percent of Americans opposed the impeachment of president Bill Clinton, which was over a sexual relationship with a young woman and his lying about it. Apparently Ken Starr thinks that is a legitimate reason to impeach a president of the United States, but what is alleged here, the use of presidential power, to muscle a foreign government to investigate an American citizen who happens to be the president's political rival, that that's illegitimate.
It was an achievement for him to get through that, and he talked about essentially that impeachment also, in his mind, should be a violation of established law. That was a slippery term, I thought. He didn't say crime because he's too good a constitutional scholar not to be able to read the history of the constitutional convention and subsequent events to know — to say that impeachment had to be for a crime. But he kept saying it had to be a violation of established law. That is a tricky term indeed. It was quite a performance, which he did at length. I'm not sure that it would appeal to anyone on the Democratic side, but maybe he was there to remind Republicans of how much they hated Bill Clinton.