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Starr Probe of President Clinton Really Scary

Updated on December 7, 2017
William F. Torpey profile image

Graduated NYU in 1964. Worked in NYC for 2 years in public relations then as reporter and editor before retiring from The Hour newspaper.

Special Prosecutor Ken Starr

Kenneth Starr's five-year investigation of President Clinton in 1994 included probes of Whitewater, the suicide of Deputy White House Counsel Vince Foster and the Monica Lewinski affair.
Kenneth Starr's five-year investigation of President Clinton in 1994 included probes of Whitewater, the suicide of Deputy White House Counsel Vince Foster and the Monica Lewinski affair.

President Bill Clinton

On Dec. 19, 1998, President Clinton was impeached on charges of perjury and abuse of power. He was acquitted in the Senate on Feb. 12, 1999.
On Dec. 19, 1998, President Clinton was impeached on charges of perjury and abuse of power. He was acquitted in the Senate on Feb. 12, 1999.

The ongoing ever-expanding investigation of the president by Special Prosecutor Kenneth Starr has reached downright scary proportions.

The American people have seldom, if ever, witnessed such a sweeping abuse of power at the highest levels of the federal government.

Abuse of power is always cause for great concern, but it is especially so when virtually unrestrained authority is put in the hands of one person -- and especially one who, as a practical matter, has a single target, unlimited funds and all the time in the world.

Untrue and Illegal Leaks

Apologists for Mr. Starr try to excuse the often untrue and illegal leaks of grand jury information by saying he's investigating them (Is there anything he isn't investigating?)

Worse, his apologists say his unfair and un-American tactics are OK because he's only doing what all prosecutors do: exploring every avenue that might lead to evidence against his target.

Aye, there's the rub; for what does this tell us about prosecutors in general and the way they work?

Prosecutorial Fishing Expedition

If a U.S. president can be the subject of a prosecutorial fishing expedition, what kind of chance do you or I have if we become the target of a state or federal prosecutor?

Prosecutors hold all the cards when they present their findings (read that opinions) to grand juries -- and most of the cards when they go before a judge or panel of judges. That's why we're left with the disaster of plea bargaining (in which prosecutors have found a way of convicting people when they haven't enough evidence to convict on the appropriate charge.)

Right-wing Conspiracy

The First Lady's characterization of Starr's investigation as a right-wing conspiracy, however, missed the mark. It's not a conspiracy. It's just an anti-administration witch hunt and a fishing expedition that began with an investigation (part of a failed Republican effort to put money into the hands of wealthy Savings and Loan executives) of Whitewater and expanded into a probe of the mythical sex life of the president.

The president has been accused of everything from murder and lying and suborning perjury to a whole list of unsubstantiated sexual dalliances.

Unsubstantiated Allegations

But, despite the fact that not one of the allegations has ever held any water -- and none should have been taken seriously to begin with -- right wingers looking for political advantages and radio/TV personalities looking for better ratings keep saying the president should "just tell the truth."

And it has nothing to do with guilt or innocence. It is just as unwise for an innocent person to try to explain why he's innocent as it is for a guilty person to speak out.

Wild Accusations

When it's a president that's accused, it's wise, both legally and politically, to allow such wild and political accusations to run their course.

There's no way the president can, or should, say, as President Nixon did in 1973: "People have got to know whether or not their president is a crook: Well, I'm not a crook."

I wrote this column as a "My View" for The Hour newspaper of Norwalk, Conn., on Feb. 28, 1998. I now write my views on a wide variety of topics on HubPages.

Was the Impeachment of President Clinton by the House of Representatives Justified?

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President Clinton Discusses Whitewater on 'Face the Nation'

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    • William F. Torpey profile imageAUTHOR

      William F Torpey 

      3 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      Whenever we turn a "blind eye" toward politics, Kathleen, we open the door to skulduggery (and there's lots of it going on today!)

    • profile image

      Kathleen 

      3 years ago

      Insightful article..I heard rumors he (Pres. Clinton) was "going to be" impeached but never knew he indeed was til my son educated me abiut it yrs later...I admit I turned a blind eye to politics intermittently in my life...that was one of those "blindeye" peeiods

    • William F. Torpey profile imageAUTHOR

      William F Torpey 

      10 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      Thank you, Hoodala. If you have the power of the state behind you, you can "get" anyone you want. Neverthless, Starr had money, time and legal power but failed to achieve his goals.

      It was all politics, as usual, Bob. George H.W. Bush is one of Bill Clinton's good pals. Apparently he wouldn't mind having Bill as a neighbor.

      That baby in the video looks just like Ken Starr to me, Ralph. Thanks for the compliment.

    • Ralph Deeds profile image

      Ralph Deeds 

      10 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Very true. Great column. For some reason Starr reminded me of this

      http://chaoskids.com/BABY/graphics/dance.gif

    • profile image

      Bob 

      10 years ago

      Bill.......Wasn't a witch hunt.. He found out that the President lied under oath. Good enough for his own state to disbar him . Were you as concerned when Clinton had the some bouncer he hired get records from the FBI on the Republicans. Facts are facts. I really don't think I'd want the Clintons living next to me. I'd have to make sure my doors were locked all the time.

    • Hoodala profile image

      Hoodala 

      10 years ago from Mesa

      The best point of this article, which is great as usual William, is "what kind of chance do you or I have if we become the target of a state or federal prosecutor?"

      Unfortunately not much of a chance........

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