“That’s a serious question,” Starr replied when asked if Daniels’s claims about a payoff should be investigated by special counsel Robert Mueller to determine if the money she received from Trump’s longtime lawyer, Michael Cohen, constituted an illegal campaign contribution. “What did the president know? Did he authorize it? All those things have to be sorted out.”

But Starr said he believes that the issues at play are sufficiently far afield from the matters at the core of Mueller’s investigation that they should be handled by others in the Justice Department.

“This becomes an issue for Rod Rosenstein,” Starr said, referring to the deputy attorney general who is in charge of the Mueller probe and who served on Starr’s staff during the Whitewater probe. “But Rod may very well say [to Mueller], ‘You need to stick to the issue. Let’s get through with this issue of collusion. You stick to that and lets now appoint [somebody else] as special counsel.’”