Ken Starr, the prosecutor who headed the investigation that led to the impeachment of former President Bill Clinton, told Fox News’ Ed Henry on Saturday that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is acting unconstitutionally by delaying sending the House’s articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the Senate for consideration.
Starr didn’t go as far as Democrat impeachment lawyer Noah Feldman, who said that Trump hasn’t actually been impeached unless the articles go to the Senate, but he did say that Feldman made a good point that the delay would delegitimize the House’s actions in passing the articles.
“It’s an impeachment with a footnote or with an asterisk,” Starr said on Fox & Friends: Weekend. “By the way, it never went over to the Senate, which I think means that it’s a bit of a phony impeachment.”
Quid pro Pelosi?
Pelosi said in her weekly press conference on Thursday that House Democrats are merely waiting to see what form the Senate trial will take, adding that Dems could not choose the right impeachment managers to send to the Senate without that knowledge.
It seems fairly clear to those on both sides, however, that Pelosi is implicitly threatening not to send the articles unless she thinks a Senate trial will allow Democrats to continue investigating Trump, including calling witnesses who didn’t appear in House committee hearings.
This comes from someone who accused President Donald Trump of holding back aid to Ukraine until that nation agreed to investigate his political rivals. Pelosi failed to prove that Trump was after personal gain with his actions or that the aid holdup had anything to do with any kind of investigation — but here she is, doing the same thing to Trump that she accused him of doing.
The entire trumped-up impeachment scheme has been nothing more than an attempt to get some political traction as the polls continue to slip in Trump’s direction, Gallup notes.
Abuse of power, Pelosi style
Now, in the wake of falling support for impeachment and a general recognition that the case for Trump’s conviction in the Senate is weak, Pelosi is playing her final card in the impeachment deck: not continuing the process unless it seems like it will go the way she wants.
“She appears to be intruding into the power of the Senate, which is ironic in the extreme, isn’t it?” Starr told Henry on Saturday. “So I think there is an abuse of House power in the way that this process unfolded in the House and riding rough-shod over minority rights and, ultimately, the rights of the president.”
He went on: “Now she’s trying to essentially tell the Senate how to do its business…and it’s just wrong constitutionally.”
Of course, there remains the possibility that Pelosi will come back from the congressional holiday recess realizing she really has no choice but to let the Senate do its part in the impeachment process.
But I wouldn’t hold my breath.