Former special prosecutor speaks in Marietta

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MARIETTA, Oh.-(WTAP) It was a little more than 20 years ago when Ken Starr was practically a daily subject of news coverage: all about a sitting president and an investigation.

Baylor President and Chancellor Ken Starr. (Baylor University photo)

He spoke Tuesday night about probes of presidents dating back to just after the Civil War. And he says they all served a purpose.

"Through some mechanism or other, special counsels, independent counsels, special prosecutors, we call them different names, but it all amounts to the same thing: let's keep our system honest," Starr said in appearing at the Washington County Republican Party Lincoln Day dinner.

Starr praises Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller on his findings in the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election, saying Mueller "performed a great public service".

While the report's findings on whether President Trump obstructed justice are not as clear, Starr has no doubts about the issue.

"Nowhere close."

The view of Trump opponents is different, citing the president's remarks about the progress of the investigation, as quoted in the Mueller report.

Starr says those are not supported by the traditional view of obstruction of justice.

"It may not be Bob Mueller's view; it may not be the view of people on his staff," Starr says. "But I think it's the traditional view of the justice department, which I think (Attorney General) Bill Barr has articulated."

And as to whether the president should be impeached or removed from office-

"Unless there's national consensus, and that means very significant Republican support for removing the president from office, then I think it's unfortunate and deeply divisive."

The dinner at the Marietta Shrine Club was attended by more than 300 people.