Ken Starr: No obstruction case against Trump so far

Story highlights

  • Ken Starr explained there is an extraordinarily high bar for proving obstruction of justice
  • Starr's investigation of President Bill Clinton led to his impeachment in 1998

(CNN)Ken Starr, the independent prosecutor who spent years investigating President Bill Clinton's White House, said Thursday there is no viable case for obstruction of justice charges against President Donald Trump based on the evidence publicly available so far.

"It's too soon too tell," Starr told CNN's Alisyn Camerota on "New Day." "From what I have seen, no."
"We don't know a whole lot, but the the answer is no," he added.
    Starr, whose own investigation lead to the impeachment of Clinton in 1998, explained there is an extraordinarily high bar for proving obstruction of justice. He added that even if former FBI Director James Comey's description of an encounter, in which, Trump allegedly said he hoped he would drop a probe into then-national security adviser Michael Flynn was true, it would likely not rise to the level of a crime.
    "Obstruction of justice is really a hard crime to make out," Starr said. "Comey said in his testimony that even though the expression (from Trump) was 'hope,' he took it as a directive, but what we know is he (Trump) didn't do anything about it. He did not dismiss the investigation or curtail the investigation."
    "His literal language was hope and I think that redounds to the benefit of the President," he added. "He was saying, 'Golly, I sure wish this would go away.'"
    Starr added that the fact that Comey did not act on Trump's alleged words, even though he may have interpreted them as a directive, would work in the President's favor.
    Starr also argued that it it remains within Trump's right to fire special counsel Robert Mueller, who was appointed by the Justice Department to oversee a criminal investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. On Wednesday, The Washington Post reported that Mueller's investigation included a query into whether the President had obstructed justice.