According to Ken Starr, who served as the independent counsel in the investigation into Bill Clinton, there is insufficient evidence to bring an obstruction of justice case against President Donald Trump. He told CNN on Thursday, “It’s too soon to tell. From what I’ve seen — and of course, we don’t know a whole lot — the answer is no.”
News outlets such as Huffington Post are calling for the “ultimate punishment” for the sitting president and that “Trump must be prosecuted.” Starr made his comments just one day after the Washington Post reported that Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the former FBI director who is investigating allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 general election, is investigating Trump for possible obstruction of justice. Starr told CNN host Alisyn Camerota "Crimes should be difficult to prove."
Starr said obstruction of justice is a "very hard crime to make out." He said, "You've got to take really affirmative action and Director [James] Comey said in his testimony that even though the expression was hope, he took it as a directive." Starr told Camerota, "But what we know is, he didn't do anything about it, right? That is that he did not dismiss the investigation or curtail the investigation. There's an expression of hope, so it becomes an interpretation."
James Comey was fired earlier this year from his position as director of the FBI, in which he succeeded Mueller. According to his recollection of a meeting with Trump in February, Comey said that the president said in reference to inquiries into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn: “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go.” Comey also said on several occasions that Trump was not the subject of any investigation.
As for Starr, Trump’s words are open to interpretation and do not show the “corrupt mindset” necessary for an obstruction charge. He said, however, that other individuals have been convicted of obstruction in past on the basis of expressing “hope.”