News National Clinton prosecutor Kenneth Starr to defend Trump
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Clinton prosecutor Kenneth Starr to defend Trump

Former Independent Counsel Ken Starr undertook the Bill Clinton impeachment investigation. Photo: Getty
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US President Donald Trump will be defended at his impeachment trial by legal heavyweights including Kenneth Starr, who paved the way for former president Bill Clinton’s 1998 impeachment.

Starr is a former federal judge who held a senior Justice Department post under Republican President George HW Bush.

Starr’s voluminous investigative report on Clinton’s sexual affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky served as the basis for his impeachment in the House on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice.

The Senate in 1999 acquitted Clinton, a Democrat. Starr had recommended impeachment on 11 grounds.

Both Starr and prominent lawyer Alan Dershowitz, also on Mr Trump’s team, served as lawyers for financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

Mr Trump’s Senate trial formally got under way on Thursday, though it will start in earnest on Tuesday with opening statements.

The trial in the Republican-led Senate will determine whether Mr Trump is removed from office.

The Democratic-led House of Representatives voted to impeach Mr Trump on two charges arising from his dealings with Ukraine – abuse of power and obstruction of Congress – on December 18.

The investigation centred on his request that Ukraine investigate political rival Joe Biden, the president’s possible Democratic opponent in the November 3 election.

The Senate is expected to acquit Mr Trump, as none of its 53 Republicans has voiced support for removing him, a step that requires a two-thirds majority.

Mr Trump has denied wrongdoing and has called the impeachment process a sham.