Former independent counsel Ken Starr says that he has faith in Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE, the special counsel investigating the Trump campaign and Russian interference in the 2016 election, but not necessarily in the officials at the Justice Department that are surrounding the probe.
Starr, who led the investigation into former President Clinton's sexual misconduct with Monica Lewinsky, on Monday told Fox News's Tucker Carlson that he was not comfortable with claims that Mueller is “surrounded” by partisan Democrats in the agency.
"No, I'm not," Starr tells Carlson when asked if he was comfortable with the career agents surrounding Mueller. “I have great confidence in Bob Mueller as a person, so I'm in the school that Mueller is a good and decent man.”
"But I must say ... when there are these kinds of charges or concerns about partisanship, the special counsel needs to respond to those," Starr continues. "I do have concerns about the people around him."
Despite his faith in Mueller, the attorney argues that President TrumpDonald TrumpGraham says he hopes that Trump runs again Trump says Stacey Abrams 'might be better than existing governor' Kemp Executive privilege fight poses hurdles for Trump MORE could still hinder the investigation by simply ordering the Justice Department to not subpoena him.
Starr added during a Tuesday interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt that in his view, Trump has the legal authority to direct Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinWashington still needs more transparency House Judiciary to probe DOJ's seizure of data from lawmakers, journalists The Hill's Morning Report - Biden-Putin meeting to dominate the week MORE to stop Mueller from issuing a subpoena targeting Trump himself.
"Yes. The president does have that power," Starr said. "He has plenary authority, full authority, over the operations of the executive branch. And so yes, he can do that under the Constitution. Is it wise? No."
Trump's attacks on the special counsel investigation have increased in recent weeks following the guilty verdict in the case of Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortDOJ investigating one-time Trump campaign adviser over alleged ties to Qatar: report Foreign lobbyists donated over M during 2020 election: report Former Mueller prosecutor representing Donoghue in congressional probes: report MORE, his former campaign chairman, on tax and bank fraud charges and the guilty plea of Michael Cohen, his former attorney, to similar charges.
The president called Mueller's investigation a "national disgrace" last month and told reporters that Mueller is "highly conflicted" due to a friendship with fired FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyGiuliani told investigators it was OK to 'throw a fake' during campaign DOJ watchdog unable to determine if FBI fed Giuliani information ahead of 2016 election Biden sister has book deal, set to publish in April MORE.
Trump has also attacked the credibility of agents working for Mueller, referring to them as "angry Democrats" in numerous tweets.