Ken Starr: Impeachment Inquiry Is a ‘Coup D’etat’ by House Democrats, Not Like Watergate

November 18, 2019 Updated: November 18, 2019

Former independent counsel Ken Starr, who led the prosecution during former President Bill Clinton’s impeachment in the 1990s, blasted the House Democrats’ inquiry into President Donald Trump, describing it as a “coup d’etat.”

He added that the current inquiry is “far removed” from the Watergate scandal that ensnared former President Richard Nixon, ultimately leading to his resignation.

Starr told Fox News that the Democrats’ current investigation has revealed no star witness in the vein of John Dean, the former White House counsel for President Richard Nixon. Dean testified against Nixon in the early 1970s.

“Here’s John Dean testifying dramatically: ‘I’m in the Oval Office and I am participating in a criminal conspiracy with the president of the United States,'” said Starr, who headed the Whitewater probe into former President Clinton.

During the current inquiry into Trump, Democrats “have a witness who does not have a connection to the president … and knows of no crime. So it’s really night and day.”

In this June 10, 1983 frame grab of video made available by Raiford Communications, Inc., former president Richard Nixon talks about his 1974 resignation in a series of interviews conducted by former White House aide Frank Gannon in New York City. The Richard Nixon Presidential Library and the privately held Nixon Foundation are co-releasing a trove of videotaped interviews with the former president to mark the 40th anniversary of his resignation following the Watergate scandal. The 28 minutes of tape, detailing Nixon's personal turmoil in his final week in office, were culled from more than 30 hours of tape recorded in 1983. (AP Photo/Copyright Raiford Communications)
Former President Richard Nixon talks about his 1974 resignation in a series of interviews conducted by former White House aide Frank Gannon in New York City on June 10, 1983. (Copyright Raiford Communications/AP Photo)

On Friday, former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testified before the House Intelligence Committee during a televised hearing for about six hours. She told lawmakers that she didn’t have any firsthand information regarding any alleged criminal activity or bribes.

Democrats have alleged Trump withheld military aid and engaged a pressure campaign to force Ukraine to investigate a political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden. Trump has categorically denied the allegations.

“This goes back to the entire process point,” Starr said. “And, I must say, when you depart from tradition you may be doing the right thing, you may be reforming, or you may be really fouling up.”

schiff and nunes
House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) (L) and Ranking Member Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) during the first public hearings held by the House Intelligence Committee as part of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump on Capitol Hill in Washington on Nov. 13, 2019. (Saul Loeb/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) who heads the House Intelligence Committee, is the primary driving force behind the impeachment inquiry.

“And so, the Democrats decided to depart radically from tradition and to make Chairman Schiff the new head of the Judiciary Committee,” he told Fox.

As a result, “there has essentially been a coup d’etat in the House of Representatives. And so, when we look at each procedure, we see some departure from the past,” Starr remarked.