A conservative lawyer whose work paved the way for the impeachment of former President Bill Clinton has written a lengthy essay for The Atlantic in which he admits that even Clinton had more respect for the law than President Donald Trump.
In his essay, former Whitewater senior counsel Paul Rosenzweig notes that his former boss, special prosecutor Ken Starr, accused Clinton of abusing his power by claiming executive privilege in a way that is designed solely to benefit himself rather than the public good.
"[Starr] argued that there was 'substantial and credible information' that Clinton’s repeated and unlawful invocation of executive privilege was inconsistent with his duty to faithfully execute the laws of the United States and constituted potential grounds for impeachment," he writes.
Rosenzweig then goes on to argue that what Trump has done so far with regards to executive privilege is far more egregious than what Clinton did.
"Clinton... never went to the same extremes as Trump," he writes. "Clinton never sued private citizens to try to stop them from responding to congressional subpoenas. Clinton never refused to release his tax returns. Unlike Trump, Clinton eventually testified to Starr (albeit very reluctantly) because he knew he had to."
Rosenzweig further says that the context of Clinton's use of executive privilege is less egregious than Trump's, as Clinton employed it to cover up an affair with an intern, whereas Trump is trying to block the public from learning more about Russia's efforts to help him win the presidency in 2016.
"Clinton’s invocation was related to his own personal conduct with an intern," he writes. "Those were events that, while significant, were of little systematic import to the nation, and thus, arguably, of less importance to Congress. By contrast, the investigation of Russian interference into our elections that is at the bottom of the special counsel’s investigation is a crucial matter for the nation."