Donald Trump said that former US President Bill Clinton should never had been impeached, as he gave an impromptu press conference before departing from Davos, Switzerland.
Asked about Kenneth Starr, best known for heading an investigation into members of the Bill Clinton administration, as independent counsel, known as the Whitewater controversy, Trump responded by saying:
"Ken Starr is a terrific man, but, frankly, I didn't think that Bill Clinton should have been impeached, and I thought it was terrible. ... I was pretty vocal about that… I didn’t know Ken, but what I did know he was smart and tough… But, in a certain way I was sticking up for Clinton, Bill Clinton, and I still feel that way. What he did was nothing good… There was a lot of lying going on.”
Trump addresses his past attacks on Ken Starr: "I didn't think that Bill Clinton should have been impeached, and I thought it was terrible. ... In a certain way I was sticking up for Clinton, Bill Clinton, and I still feel that way." pic.twitter.com/80APl6Rju2— Bobby Lewis (@revrrlewis) January 22, 2020
In 1998, Independent Counsel Ken Starr wrote an extensive report revealing the secret sexual relationship between then-President Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky, while the latter was an intern at the White House.
The sex scandal was one of the main reasons Clinton became the second US president in history to be impeached, although he was not removed from office by the Senate in 1999.
At the Wednesday press conference, Donald Trump then veered towards the ongoing impeachment trial against him, saying:
“There’s no lying, they have nothing. They don’t even have a crime”.
Trump renewed his criticism of the ongoing impeachment trial in Washington as a "hoax," a “con-job by (Representative Adam) Schiff" and "the greatest witch hunt."
Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, is one of the seven Democrats serving as impeachment managers.
"I'm gonna head back and I'll be watching it, but it will really be up to the Senate," Trump said.
Later in the news conference the President once again defending his "perfect" July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that was at the heart of allegations of abuse of power against Trump, who was accused of pressured Ukraine to investigate his potential political rival Joe Biden.
As President Trump was attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, his impeachment trial got underway in earnest on Tuesday, with the opening day focusing predominantly on the rules that would govern the trial.
In a partisan vote in the early hours of Wednesday, senators backed the trial plan offered earlier by Republican majority leader Mitch McConnell, allowing the House 'managers', who are acting as prosecutors, to present opening arguments later on Wednesday and delays a debate over whether to call witnesses until the middle of the trial.
Wednesday will see opening arguments begin, and after both sides have presented their arguments, senators will have a 16-hour question-and-answer session, followed by a four-hour debate.
All votes on future motions in the trial will require a simple majority; the final vote on whether to convict the president requires a two-thirds majority of 67.
The House Democrats impeached President Donald Trump in December 2019 on two counts: abuse of power, relating to his decision to hold back military aid to Ukraine after he requested an investigation into his potential 2020 rival Joe Biden, and obstruction of Congress, relating to the White House's refusal to cooperate with the Democrat-led investigation.