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. 🙂
Alan Dershowitz, who is part of President Trump’s impeachment legal defense team, said Sunday that even if the House managers successfully laid out the facts in their case they would still fall short of the standard needed to impeach and remove Mr. Trump from office. He said abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, which are the charges Mr. Trump stands accused of, are “vague, open-ended” criteria. “Even if the factual allegations are true – which are highly disputed and which the defense team will show contrary evidence – but even if true, they did not allege impeachable offenses,” Mr. Dershowitz said on “Fox News Sunday.” “So there can’t be a constitutionally authorized impeachment.” “The conduct has to be criminal in nature – it can’t be abuse of power; it can’t be obstruction of Congress,” he said. “Those are precisely the arguments that the framers rejected.” Mr. Dershowitz also addressed an old clip from around the time of President Clinton’s impeachment where he said “you don’t need a technical crime” for an impeachment. He said that in 1998, Mr. Clinton was charged with perjury. “I did say that then, and then I’ve done all the extensive research. I’ve been immersing myself in dusty old books, and I’ve concluded that no, it has to be crime,” he said on Sunday. Mr. Trump’s team opened their defense of the president on Saturday, and they’re expected to go into more detail starting on Monday. House impeachment managers had completed about 24 hours of presenting their case on Friday, arguing that Mr. Trump abused his power by improperly withholding military aid to Ukraine and then obstructed Congress by impeding the subsequent House investigation into his conduct. Mr. Trump’s defense team has suggested they won’t take the entire 24 hours they’re allotted over three days to refute the arguments from House Democrats.
Keep in mind, Professor Alan Dershowitz from Harvard is a very liberal, Jewish, registered Democrat who “proudly voted for Hillary” in the last election. So, not exactly a career Republican hack…and he is a well-respected constitutional attorney, and Harvard professor. So, the tools over at CNN and MSNBC are having the toughest time taking personal pot shots at him and trying to dismiss his comments. He was a very smart choice by the Trump team.
The mantra invoked by those Democrats who are seeking to impeach President Trump is that “no one is above the law.” That, of course, is true, but it is as applicable to Congress as it is to the president. Those members of Congress who are seeking to impeach the president, even though he has not committed any of the specified impeachable offenses set out in the Constitution, are themselves seeking to go above the law. All branches of government are bound by the law. Members of Congress, presidents, justices and judges must all operate within the law. All take an oath to support the Constitution, not to rewrite it for partisan advantage. It is the law that exempts presidents from being prosecuted or impeached for carrying out their constitutional authority under Article 2. The same Constitution precludes members of Congress from being prosecuted for most actions taken while on the floor of the House and Senate or on the way to performing their functions. The same Constitution, as interpreted by the courts, bestows immunity on judges for actions that would be criminal or tortious if engaged in by non-judicial individuals. None of this means that these government officials are above the law. It means that their immunized actions are within the law. The Constitution, which is the governing law, precludes Congress from impeaching a president for mere “dereliction” of duty or even alleged “corruption.” Under the text of the Constitution, a president’s actions to be impeachable must consist of treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors. The framers of the Constitution considered broadening the criteria for impeachment to include maladministration in office. But this proposal was soundly rejected, on the ground that it would give Congress too much power to control the president. Yet Democrats who are now seeking to impeach the president, despite the absence of impeachable offenses, are trying to do precisely what the framers of the Constitution forbade them from doing: exercising control over a president that is not authorized in the Constitution itself. Consider, for example, Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., who has said the following: “Impeachment is about whatever the Congress says it is. There is no law that dictates impeachment.” It is she, and other like-minded members of Congress, who are claiming the right to be above the law. That is a dangerous claim whether made by a president or by a member of Congress. The framers of the Constitution did not want a weak president subject to the political control of Congress. Members of the Constitutional Convention explicitly expressed that view in rejecting criteria for impeachment short of criminal conduct. In the absence of the specified criminal conduct, the remedy for a non-impeachable president lies with the voters, not Congress. There are other constitutionally authorized remedies as well. These include reasonable congressional hearings conducted under the oversight powers of Congress. These hearings, too, must not be conducted for partisan purposes, but rather for legitimate legislative purposes, such as enacting new laws that evidence of the hearings show are necessary. The current hearings do not meet these standards. They are obviously calculated to obtain partisan advantage in the run-up to the 2020 election. Another option would be for Congress to appoint a nonpartisan expert commission, such as the one appointed following the 9/11 attacks. This commission could look deeply and objectively at all the issues growing out of the 2016 election, particularly Russian efforts to interfere in the American political process. The commission’s goal would not be criminal prosecutions, but rather preventive measures to assure no repetition in the 2020 and subsequent elections. Unfortunately, we live in a time of extreme partisanship, and no one seems interested in nonpartisan truth or in measures that help all Americans rather than only one party. The time has come to stop weaponizing the Constitution and our legal system for partisan advantage. Impeachment would be a lawless response to undertake, as is the use of partisan committees to obtain an electoral advantage. No one is above the law, but no one is beneath the legal protection of the law as well. Both parties should operate within the law for the benefit of the American people.
Agreed!! And well said, Sir. Dr. Alan M. Dershowitz, the author of that outstanding legal op/ed, is Felix Frankfurter professor of law, emeritus, at Harvard Law School. What you may find surprising is that Dr. Dershowitz is a proud liberal who makes a point to let folks know he proudly voted for Hillary. He is one of the few intellectually honest liberals out there, who was recently DISinvited from appearing on CNN. So, we’re happy to post his article here. His latest book is “The Case Against Impeaching Trump.” Follow him on Twitter: @AlanDersh Facebook: @AlanMDershowitz. Please consider this your Read of the Day. If you read only one thing today here at The Daily Buzz, then READ THIS!!…and then forward it to all of your friends and family members, especially those who are Democrats or who watch MSNBC or CNN…and watch their heads explode. 🙂
Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz said evidence wasn’t there showing that President Donald Trump “committed crimes and impeachable offenses.” Dershowitz said, “I fully understand why so many people want, hope that President Trump has committed crimes and impeachable offenses, but the evidence isn’t there. The president or a candidate is entitled to contribute anything he wants to his own campaign. The only issue here is whether or not there was a failure to report the contribution. That was to the treasurer of the campaign and not to the president and conspiracy is a very big stretch.” He added, “It’s a stretch. It’s a stretch. Look the reporting — if it occurred, would have occurred after the election considering the chronology of everything, and so to stretch and make a reporting violation which so many campaigns have. President Obama’s campaign had to pay $300,000 for reporting violations. To make a conspiracy out of that when the law itself says the treasurer is responsible, not the candidate, is an example of precisely what we’re seeing, trying to stretch the law to fit somebody, who many Americans hope and want to see commit a crime or commit an impeachable offense.”
Professor Dershowitz is exactly right! And, to be clear.. This is man is a very liberal, Jewish, Harvard professor who voted for Hillary…and proudly so. He’s hardly on the “Trump Train.” He’s just a fair and honest liberal (if only there were more of them!)..and we’re glad he’s out on the different news networks setting the record straight from a legal perspective.
Harvard Law School professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz said Wednesday that President Trump did nothing wrong if he gave Michael Cohen money out of his pocket to pay women to keep them quiet about claims they had sexual relationships with him more than a decade ago. “If the president had paid $280,000 to these two women, even if he had done so in order to help his campaign, that would be no problem,” Dershowitz told Fox News’ “Special Report.” “The candidate is entitled to contribute a million dollars to his own campaign, as long as he reports it.” Cohen pleaded guilty tuesday to two counts of violating federal campaign-finance law and claimed that he arranged the payments to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal “at the direction” of then-candidate Trump. In an interview set to air on “Fox & Friends” Thursday morning, Trump told Fox News’ Ainsley Earhardt he did not know that Cohen had made the payments to Daniels and McDougal until “later on” and claimed the funds “didn’t come out of the campaign, they came from me.” On Wednesday, Dershowitz told Fox News’ Bret Baier that he believed Trump to be “more correct than his critics are” and claimed that federal prosecutors were “in a little bit of a Catch-22.” “If [the prosecution] believes Cohen, that the president directed him to do it, then it’s not a crime at all,” Dershowitz said. “If he doesn’t believe Cohen, then Cohen has committed a crime, but not the president.” Dershowitz also took issue with the idea that Trump was an unindicted co-conspirator with Cohen, saying, “You don’t become an unindicted co-conspirator if your action is lawful, even though the action of the other person is unlawful.” Dershowitz also expressed skepticism that Cohen’s plea opened the door to an impeachment case against Trump. “It might be a misdemeanor for the campaign to fail to report that payment, but it would be on the campaign, not on the candidate,” he said. “So, that’s not even a close question and to talk about it as a high crime and misdemeanor is absurd. That’s not the kind of thing the Framers had in mind.”
Agreed!! And well said, professor. To be clear, Professor Alan Dershowitz is a VERY liberal, Jewish, Harvard Constitutional Law Professor who is well-respected in the legal community. He is also very open and proud of the fact that he voted for Hillary. So, he is by no means a big Trump fan or on the “Trump Train” by any means. That said, he is also the author of a new book entitled, “The Case Against Impeaching Trump.” Of course that has the heads at MSNBC and CNN exploding, and he’s probably persona nongrata at Martha’s Vineyard. But, ya gotta respect the man’s integrity. He is exactly right, of course. So far, there is NOTHING to remotely suggest any wrongdoing by President Trump…again, thus far. Of course we could learn something tomorrow. But, from what has come out so far…nothing. Thanks to Mr. Dershowitz for setting the record straight!