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Ken Starr: Justice Department should evaluate claims by Stormy Daniels

Ken Starr: Justice Department should evaluate claims by Stormy Daniels

Former Whitewater independent counsel Kenneth Starr, who famously investigated Bill Clinton’s relationship with Monica Lewinsky, said he believes that Stormy Daniels’s allegations that she was paid $130,000 during the 2016 election to keep silent about an alleged affair with President Trump raise “difficult and serious” issues that need to be evaluated by the Justice Department to determine if another special counsel should be appointed.

Starr made his comments — his first on the Stormy Daniels controversy since the porn star went public with her latest claims last Sunday on “60 Minutes” — during an exclusive interview on the Yahoo News’ podcast “Skullduggery.”

“That’s a serious question,” Starr replied when asked if Daniels’s claims about a payoff should be investigated by special counsel Robert Mueller to determine if the money she received from Trump’s longtime lawyer, Michael Cohen, constituted an illegal campaign contribution. “What did the president know? Did he authorize it? All those things have to be sorted out.”

But Starr said he believes that the issues at play are sufficiently far afield from the matters at the core of Mueller’s investigation that they should be handled by others in the Justice Department.

“This becomes an issue for Rod Rosenstein,” Starr said, referring to the deputy attorney general who is in charge of the Mueller probe and who served on Starr’s staff during the Whitewater probe. “But Rod may very well say [to Mueller], ‘You need to stick to the issue. Let’s  get through with this issue of collusion. You  stick to that and lets now appoint [somebody else] as special counsel.’”

Starr emphasized that he is not recommending a conclusion — only that the issues raised by Daniels’s allegations be reviewed. “As in law school, I’m issue-spotting and discussing the kind of things that Rod Rosenstein would probably sit down with the attorney general” and raise. “He’d take that elevator from the fourth floor [of the Justice Department] to the fifth floor and say, ‘Gen. Sessions, we need to talk and this is the issue of the day.’’

Daniels’s allegations have “to be considered and assessed,” he added. It would be “the equivalent of a preliminary investigation. That’s the way these things are done.”

Download or subscribe on iTunes: “Skullduggery” by Yahoo News

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