Ken Starr: Mueller 'cannot indict,' should remain 'quiet'

Former Clinton independent counsel Ken Starr wrote Friday that special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE is barred from producing a public report detailing his findings from the investigation into Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

In an op-ed for The Atlantic, the former U.S. solicitor general cited current Justice Department regulations to write that Mueller must "remain quiet" and not violate what he called one of the fundamental principles of public prosecution: "Thou shalt not drag a subject or target of the investigation through the mud via public criticism."


"This former FBI director—now a special counsel—has a specific reporting obligation. That solemn obligation is not to produce a public report. He cannot seek an indictment. And he must remain quiet," Starr wrote.

Starr argued that Attorney General William Barr was under no obligation to produce a public version of Mueller's confidential report, which could contain unflattering information about President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden adds to vote margin over Trump after Milwaukee County recount Krebs says allegations of foreign interference in 2020 election 'farcical'  Republicans ready to become deficit hawks again under a President Biden MORE, even if it was not part of any further indictments.

"In short, there may be no Mueller report at all, save for the confidential document that lands on Barr’s desk," Starr wrote. "And these same regulations do not require the attorney general to simply pass along a 'confidential' report that may very well contain unflattering information about one or more individuals. Including the president."

The comments from Starr, who led an investigation into President Clinton's sexual misconduct, came hours after Mueller submitted his confidential report to Barr after finishing the nearly two-year investigation into Russian election interference.

Starr has previously said that he believes a sitting president may be indicted under the Constitution, but has clarified those remarks to note that Justice Department policy prohibits the prosecution of the commander-in-chief while in office.

“I think the president can be indicted, but that is not the position of the Justice Department traditionally, going back to the Nixon-Ford era and continuing through President Clinton’s tenure,” he told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe" in September.

In an interview earlier this month, Starr reiterated those restrictions affecting Mueller while noting that he disagreed with them.

"I think that, plus first principles, no person is above the law, means that a president can be indicted," Starr said on CNN.

"But that's not the Justice Department policy, and Bob Mueller, as you know, is an officer of the Justice Department and is therefore required to follow that policy," he added at the time. "He cannot indict."

Starr reiterated those comments in his op-ed Friday, adding of Mueller: "This prosecutor, unlike other prosecutors, cannot indict if he finds an indictable offense."