Ken Starr: Trump Needs a Lesson From Nixon
'Profoundly misguided' attacks on Jeff Sessions threaten our rule of law, Starr writes
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 27, 2017 10:15 AM CDT
President Donald Trump in the Rose Garden of the White House on Wednesday.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

(Newser) – Kenneth Starr headed the investigation that ultimately led to President Bill Clinton's impeachment. That's an important fact to remember given that Starr says President Trump's recent attacks on Attorney General Jeff Sessions are "one of the most outrageous—and profoundly misguided—courses of presidential conduct I have witnessed in five decades." In a Washington Post editorial, Starr not only calls for Trump to "stop the wildly inappropriate attacks"—which began when Trump criticized Sessions' decision to recuse himself from the investigation into Trump's campaign as "very unfair to the president"—but also blasts his comments as "inimical to our foundational commitment as a free people to the rule of law."

An attorney general "needs to step aside on matters where his own independence of judgment has potentially been compromised," Starr writes. It's part of the job: to be loyal to the Constitution, not the president, and to ensure laws are enforced without political considerations. This requires "courage on the part of the attorney general and a willingness by the president to listen respectfully to what he may well not want to hear," Starr writes. He cites historical examples, including the time Ronald Reagan accepted his attorney general's judgment that a legislative veto was unconstitutional, even though Reagan saw it as a political blow. "It was a matter of trust," Starr writes, noting there appears to be none of that today. Read his piece in full.

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