First and foremost, Clinton was a popular president while Trump is not. In January 1998, Gallup had Clinton’s approval rating at 58%; by the fall, it was 66%. Trump, in contrast, has never had an approval rating over 50% and currently stands at 42% with Gallup.

Relatedly, the men who investigated these two presidents were seen in starkly different terms. Independent counsel Kenneth Starr, a former Republican investigating a Democrat, was widely perceived as a partisan. According to an April 1998 poll, 56% of Americans thought Starr’s goal was “hurting Clinton politically” while just 32% thought he wanted “to find the truth.” By late 1998, polls showed that almost 60% of the public disapproved of his work…

Second, as those poll numbers suggest, the charges levied against the two presidents were not comparable. Starr was appointed to investigate the Clintons’ failed Whitewater real estate deal from the late 1970s. After several years, Starr found no wrongdoing on Clinton’s part and shifted attention to the president’s perjury about a consensual sexual affair with a former White House intern.