(WASHINGTON) -- The former independent counsel who investigated President Bill Clinton said President Donald Trump can fire special counsel Robert Mueller “for any reason.”
“He can ask for Mueller to be fired for any reason," Ken Starr told ABC News' This Week Co-Anchor Martha Raddatz on Sunday. "The president's power is extremely broad, as long as he's not engaged in discrimination or accepting bribes.”
Still, Starr said it would have been "extremely unwise” for Trump to have fired Mueller, as the president reportedly considered doing last June.
Mueller is leading the federal investigation of Russia's alleged interference in the 2016 U.S. election and possible collusion with Trump associates.
Raddatz pressed Starr on whether the president's firing the special counsel would show "corrupt intent."
Starr said the president is "very open" about his feelings about Mueller and his attitude of "I don't like this guy.'"
On those feelings of Trump's about Mueller, Starr said, "I don’t see that as corrupt. I just don’t."
The former independent counsel added, "We just have a Trump Tower set of ethics here, and that is what we’re seeing in the president. I hope that he will control that more in the remaining years of his term. But I think we’re seeing ... business tactics. I just don’t see the corruption. He’s so transparent. He tells everyone, 'Look, I want to get rid of this guy.' "
At the same time, Starr said he takes very seriously any possibility that the president may have misled the public when he said publicly last August that he had not even thought of firing Mueller.
As The Washington Post noted, Starr’s investigative report on President Bill Clinton cited Clinton’s public denial of having sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky as the basis for one of the 11 grounds for impeachment.
On This Week Sunday, Raddatz asked Starr, "If the reports are correct that President Trump sought to have Mueller fired, then his public denial would be false. So, would that be grounds for impeachment?"
Starr said, "I think lying to the American people is a serious issue that has to be explored. I take lying to the American people very, very seriously. ... I think that is something that Bob Mueller should look at."
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