Trump defense lawyer Alan Dershowitz said on Wednesday that a “quid pro quo” involving a U.S. president isn’t inherently unlawful and that one of the goods or services exchanged has to be illegal in some way. Mr. Dershowitz posited a case where a Democratic president told Congress he was withholding financial assistance to Israel or Palestine unless the countries met certain requirements on settlements or terrorism. “And the president said, ‘quid pro quo — if you don’t do it, you don’t get the money. If you do it, you get the money,’ ” Mr. Dershowitz said. “There’s no one in this chamber that would regard that as in any way unlawful. The only thing that would make a quid pro quo unlawful is if the quo were, in some way, illegal.” He said politicians can have several motives for taking action: a motive in the public interest, a motive in their own political interest and a motive in their personal financial interest. “Every public official that I know believes that his election is in the public interest. And mostly you’re right — your election is in the public interest,” Mr. Dershowitz said. “And if a president does something which he believes will help him get elected in the public interest, that cannot be the kind of quid pro quo that results in impeachment.” He said it would be a different story if a president told a foreign leader to build a hotel with his name on it “and unless you give me a million-dollar kickback, I will withhold the funds.” “That’s an easy case — that’s purely corrupt and in the purely private interest,” he said. Mr. Dershowitz was speaking at President Trump’s Senate impeachment trial on the first day senators were allowed to pose questions to the House impeachment managers and to Mr. Trump’s team.
I had the pleasure of seeing Professor Dershowitz’s fiery defense earlier today on tv, and his whole explanation of “maladministration” was awesome. He looked directly at the Democrat House Managers and basically said, “you’re wrong.”…and here’s why…and preceded to destroy their argument. It was like Mastercard; “priceless.” We need to see more of his animated history lessons. 🙂