Trump Lawyer Ken Starr Says There Is 'No Such Thing' as Obstruction of Congress: 'It's Made Up'

President Donald Trump's impeachment lawyer, Ken Starr, has said on a podcast there is "no such thing as obstruction of Congress," a cornerstone of the Democratic case currently being presented in the Senate trial.

The former judge and independent counsel, whose investigation led to the Clinton impeachment, joined Trump's legal team last week as the Senate trial got underway. The House impeached Trump with two articles before Christmas: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

"It's really unwise of the House. It's made up. There's really no such thing as obstruction of Congress," Starr said in an interview on The Charlie Kirk Show podcast released on Wednesday.

"If there is, hey, go to court. You've got subpoenas for documents, you've got subpoenas for witnesses, you go to court...In effect, they're saying: 'We don't care what the defenses are.'

"Pat Cipollone, as counsel to the president, has said, very harshly-worded to be sure, he's been strong, but he's also set forth his legal arguments as to why the president is not participating, is not cooperating, with this impeachment inquiry.

"So they hold him essentially in contempt or obstructing Congress. This has never been tried before and it is, I think, a willful betrayal of the traditions of separation of powers. Go to court, get these things ironed out...Let the judge decide."

The House accuses Trump of soliciting Ukraine's interference in the 2020 election to benefit his re-election campaign.

In the alleged scheme, the White House conditioned $391 million of military aid and a White House visit on Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy announcing an unfounded corruption investigation into former vice president Joe Biden, the leading candidate in the Democratic Party's 2020 race.

Moreover, the House accuses Trump of obstructing congressional efforts to investigate the alleged scheme by refusing to comply with subpoenas and abusing the power of executive privilege to prevent key witnesses testifying.

Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, a House manager, spoke in the Senate on Wednesday of "the president's determination to bury the evidence of his high crimes and misdemeanors."

"As we've explained in detail today, despite considerable efforts by the House to obtain relevant documents and testimony, President Trump has directed the entire executive branch to execute a cover-up," the New York Democrat said.

"He has ordered the entire administration to ignore the powers of Congress, a separate and co-equal branch of government, to investigate his offenses in a manner that is unprecedented in American history.

"There were 71 requests by the House for relevant evidence. In response, the White House produced zero documents in this impeachment inquiry; 71 requests, zero documents. President Trump is personally responsible for depriving the Senate of information important to consider in this trial."

But the president says he has done nothing wrong and is the victim of a politically motivated "hoax." Trump claims he wanted nothing from Ukraine and was legitimately pursuing legitimate concerns about alleged corruption.

Democrats pressed ahead with impeachment rather than await the outcomes of lengthy legal battles over the alleged obstructive conduct. They argued that the issue was urgent because of the seriousness of the president's alleged wrongdoing over Ukraine.

"The notion that invoking your constitutional rights to protect the executive branch, that's been done by just about every president since George Washington, that that is obstruction," Pat Cipollone, White House counsel, said at the Senate trial on Tuesday.

"That is our patriotic duty, particularly when confronted with a wholesale trampling of constitutional rights that I'm unfamiliar with in this country. Frankly, it's the kind of thing the State Department would criticize if we see it in foreign countries. We've never seen anything like it."

Ken Starr Trump trial Senate impeachment obstruction
Former Independent Counsel Ken Starr answers questions during a discussion held at the American Enterprise Institute September 18, 2018 in Washington, DC. Starr is part of President Donald Trump's impeachment legal team. Win McNamee/Getty Images