Twenty years after former President Bill Clinton was acquitted on articles of impeachment, two key players on separate sides of the drama agreed on one thing: “Impeachment is hell for the country.”
“What I want to get off my chest is simply impeachment is hell for the country. There should be some other kind of resolution,” former independent counsel Ken Starr, who was in charge of the investigation into Clinton that led to his impeachment, said Tuesday to CNN’s John Berman on “New Day.”
Joe Lockhart, who was serving as White House press secretary when Clinton was acquitted in the Senate, agreed. “Yeah, you know, I think impeachment was hell.”
The two Washington power players — who appeared on the show from separate cities and had never interacted before Tuesday — also told Berman that although the events of that day in 1999 were important, their focuses were largely elsewhere.
“I was watching with interest but not directly engaged,” said Starr, adding that “we were actually focusing on another — just winding up the investigation, working to make sure that we had done all that needed to be done.”
Lockhart said that while he was watching the Senate’s vote that day, he mostly wanted to focus his attention back on other matters.
“We had a real bittersweet sense there. There was relief that it was over. There was some measure of vindication, but there was no one in the White House that celebrated that day because we had all been through, you know, a year of political hell,” he told Berman. “There were no champagne corks popping, there was a sense that now we can, you know, fully focus, you know, on the people’s business and get back to why we were all in the White House in the first place.”