On Friday, The New York Times broke the news that President Trump has added three high-profile names to his impeachment team — and two of them happen to have been involved in the investigation that resulted in the only other presidential impeachment in the last 150 years.
Monica Lewinsky, the former White House intern whose relationship with then-President Clinton, around which that investigation revolved, responded to the news with a brief but memorable tweet. “[T]his is definitely an ‘are you f***ing kidding me?’ kinda day,” she wrote.
this is definitely an “are you fucking kidding me?” kinda day.
— Monica Lewinsky (@MonicaLewinsky) January 17, 2020
Lewinsky — who was just 22 when Clinton, then 49, carried on a sexual relationship with her and has since gone on to become an anti-bullying activist — appears to have been responding to the news that former independent counsels Kenneth Starr and Robert Ray were joining Trump’s impeachment team, as reported by the Times’ Maggie Haberman Friday morning:
President Trump plans on adding former independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr and the defense lawyer Alan Dershowitz to his legal team for his trial by the Senate, a person briefed on the plan said Friday.
Mr. Starr, whose investigation into President Bill Clinton’s sexual relationships led to his impeachment, will be joined by Robert Ray, who succeeded Mr. Starr as independent counsel and wrote the final report on Mr. Clinton, the person said.
Rounding out the team will be Mr. Dershowitz, a Harvard Law School professor emeritus who became famous as a defense counsel for high-profile defendants like O.J. Simpson.
Starr, Ray, and Dershowitz will join White House Counsel Pat Cipollone and Trump’s personal lawyer Jay Sekulow to represent the president in the Senate trial. In a statement Friday, the team specifically addressed Dershowitz’s role in the process.
“Professor Dershowitz will present oral arguments at the Senate trial to address the constitutional arguments against impeachment and removal,” the team announced in a statement reported by the Times. “While Professor Dershowitz is nonpartisan when it comes to the constitution — he opposed the impeachment of President Bill Clinton and voted for Hillary Clinton — he believes the issues at stake go to the heart of our enduring Constitution. He is participating in this impeachment trial to defend the integrity of the Constitution and to prevent the creation of a dangerous constitutional precedent.”
A Republican-majority House passed two articles of impeachment against Clinton on Dec. 19, 1998, for perjury to a grand jury and obstruction of justice related to his affair with Lewinsky. The evidence brought against Clinton came largely from the report produced by Starr, then head of the Office of the Independent Counsel.
What would come to be known as the “Starr Report” presented “substantial and credible information that President Clinton criminally obstructed the judicial process, first in a sexual harassment lawsuit in which he was the defendant and then in a grand jury investigation.” The report detailed “the President’s efforts to get Ms. Lewinsky a job, Ms. Lewinsky’s subpoena in Jones v. Clinton, the role of Vernon Jordan, the President’s discussions with Ms. Lewinsky about her affidavit and deposition, the President’s deposition testimony in Jones, the President’s attempts to coach a potential witness in the harassment case, the President’s false and misleading statements to aides and to the American public after the Lewinsky story became public, and, finally, the President’s testimony before a federal grand jury.”
Ray, who succeeded Starr as head of the Independent Counsel in 1999, submitted the final report on the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal.