Kenneth Starr, who President Donald Trump enlisted as a defense counsel for the Senate impeachment proceedings, warned the senators at the president’s trial on Monday that the impeachment process had become a “wanton partisan exercise.” It was a strange argument coming from Starr who vigorously pursued the impeachment of President Bill Clinton in the late 90s.

Starr offered a detailed historical and political account, with relevant examples, describing the Constitutional tasks and responsibilities that were supposed to be upheld in the Senate trial.

Starr cited Peggy Noonan‘s recent Wall Street Journal op-ed, which warned, “impeachment has now been normalized. It won’t be a once in a generation act, but an every administration act. Democrats will regret it when Republicans are handing out the pens.”

Trump was impeached after a whistleblower made a complaint to the House Select Committee on Intelligence in August 2019 about Trump’s blocking of around $400 million in funding to Ukraine to pressure the Ukrainian president into launching an investigation on the Bidens’ political and financial activities.

He also shared an account of how society ended up deeming impeachment as a mundane activity. “Briefly told, the story begins 42 years ago, in the wake of the long national nightmare of Watergate, Congress and President Jimmy Carter collaboratively ushered in a new chapter in America’s Constitutional history. Together, in full agreement, they enacted the independent counsel provisions of the Ethics and Government Act of 1978. But the new chapter was not simply the age of independent counsels. It became unbeknownst to the American people, the age of impeachment.”

Starr then shared that, however well-intentioned this era and intended provisions were, it was unconstitutional, “in the view of the [Justice] Department, those provisions intruded into the rightful domain and prerogative of the executive branch of the presidency.”