Tags: Russia Probe | Trump Administration | ken starr | mueller | russia | probe | trump

Ken Starr to Mueller: Don't Make Russia Probe a 'Fishing Expedition'

(CNN)

By    |   Friday, 04 Aug 2017 01:46 PM

Ken Starr, the special counsel who investigated President Bill Clinton back in the 1990s, had some advice Friday for his counterpart, Robert Mueller, the man in charge of investigating Russian interference in last year's election: Don't make it a "fishing expedition."

"The mandate Bob Mueller received has some broad language, including related to the type of language, which tends to open the door," Starr told CNN, and it will be up to the former FBI director to tell his team he's gone too far.

"There may be litigation in the courts with respect to the scope of the grand jury subpoena, and then, the defense team can go to Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, and say this is far beyond the mandate that you gave him."

Starr said he does not believe the "checks and balances" in the system have been triggered yet, however.

The original complaint was to examine whether there was collusion with Russian operatives or interests, said Starr, and if the probe moves past that and into areas that don't have a direct tie with Russia, the questions will be asked.

"I don't think it's clear one way or the other, but I do think it is certainly a serious matter, when a special counsel is accused of, and I was accused of that, of exceeding his or her authority," said Starr.

"That's a serious matter because we do not want investigators and prosecutors out on a fishing expedition."

That means the questions could concern whether Trump had any involvement with Russian businesses before his election, Starr said, but if the questions dig into Trump's finances without a Russian connection, they would go too far.

Starr was accused of going too far, after it started out being an investigation about the Clinton Whitewater land deal, but ended up in impeachment hearings over the president's lies over his relationship with Monica Lewinsky.

"There was a check and balance there," said Starr. "The Lewinsky phase of the investigation was specifically authorized by the attorney general of the United States. That's the key. The Lewinsky phase was not simply something that we thought we should look into."

Trump has a "terrific team" of defense attorneys, said Starr, who have said they will cooperate.

"Part of the cooperative mode will be to go to Mueller and then Rosenstein and say 'you're going too far,'" said Starr. "The special counsel has gone too far. It became a political issue in the Lewinsky issue, but never a legal issue that we'd gone too far."

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Ken Starr, the special counsel who investigated President Bill Clinton back in the 1990s, had some advice Friday for his counterpart, Robert Mueller, the man in charge of investigating Russian interference in last year's election: Don't make it a "fishing expedition."
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2017-46-04
Friday, 04 Aug 2017 01:46 PM
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