On Saturday, former independent counsel Ken Starr appeared on Fox News with Neil Cavuto to discuss the potential impeachment of President Trump.
During the segment, Starr first claimed that impeachment proceedings against the president wouldn’t be successful given what we know of history:
…impeachment is doomed to fail given what we know. Now, obviously the facts are flowing in. In the history of the country, obviously presidential efforts to impeach do not work. That we know, but guess what? Of the 62 impeachment proceedings … eight have resulted in convictions…
He also admonished those pushing for impeachment rather than oversight:
This is not going to result in a conviction, and so why are we on the impeachment train? We should be on the oversight train, and quit calling it impeachment – especially since there really is something quite profoundly wrong under our Constitution to call it impeachment – that we’re on a formal impeachment inquiry. No, with all due respect. Until the House of Representatives votes as a body to conduct an impeachment inquiry or investigation, there is simply action by committees that’s been sanctioned by the speaker. It sounds like a structural point, but guess what? We live by structure in our constitutional republic.
Cavuto then asked Starr “what would change … if they had a vote on whether they wanted to proceed to that next step,” adding, “what would change doing it the way you say?”
First of all, there would be a formal action by the House resulting in, if there’s any court fight, then a federal judge, or a court of appeals, or the Supreme Court knows this is the action of the peoples’ house, not of the speaker saying, “I hereby smile on what these different oversight committees are doing.” You would also have the practical effect of centralizing the inquiry, as opposed to this balkanized approach that seems to be getting underway, in the House Judiciary Committee as we saw in the Clinton inquiry years ago.
Cavuto proceeded, saying that Democrats are claiming that when the Nixon process started to roll, a lot of people scoffed and said it was “a waste of time,” but as it moved forward, new information came to light. It was at that point that the “tide turned, and that’s what Democrats seem to be counting on this time around.”
Well, that’s right, but the tide turned when it became clear that there were White House tapes, as you said – by the way, that was not revealed by the House Judiciary Committee, but by an oversight committee … we now know the basic facts, or at least we think we know the basic facts because the president, wisely or no, released the transcript. That’s what this is all about – the interpretation of that conversation that the president had with the president of Ukraine.
When Cavuto asked Starr if there is “anything in that transcript … that troubles [him],” regardless of whether or not it’s worthy of impeachment, the former special counsel said:
Yes. I think what the president said, he used a word that was very, very wrong – reciprocity, “we need reciprocity.” I’m embellishing even on that, but that’s not a crime. That’s not a crime. I think it’s poor judgment by the president. He should not have done that.
Starr added that “even if it is [a crime], guess what? The Clinton investigation and impeachment tells me you can be guilty of perjury – there’s no suggestion of perjury; you can be guilty of obstruction of justice – there’s no obstruction of justice; and we’re still not going to remove this individual from office. Once again, the president has taken action that reflects his instincts, and sometimes his instincts get him into trouble and that’s very unfortunate. So yes, I was troubled by that.”
As the cries for impeachment from Democratic Party politicians and the mainstream media grow ever louder, the American people appear to be turning to favor it.
A recent Politico/Morning Consult poll asked 1,640 registered voters: “As you may know, the first step toward removing a president from office is impeachment. Do you believe Congress should or should not begin impeachment proceedings to remove President Trump from office?”
The results were a dead heat, with 43% saying “yes” and 43% saying “no.” 13% were unsure.
An NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll asked 864 adults: “Do you approve or disapprove of the House of Representatives formally starting an impeachment inquiry into President Trump?”
49% said “yes,” and 46% said “no.” While the ideological breakdown was predictable, 50% of independent-identifying respondents said they don’t approve, while 44% said they do.
According to a CBS News poll conducted by YouGov, 55% of respondents say that a “Congressional impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump” is “necessary,” while 45% say it’s “unnecessary.”