Alan Dershowitz Sure Is A Funny Liberal!
When the Trump administration announced who would be part of Trump's legal "Dream Team," a few things stood out. The six-person team was made up of a pair of lawyers who have already failed him (Sekulow and Cipollone), a pair of Clinton impeachment "independent counsels" (Starr and Ray) and the former attorney general from Florida (Pam Bondi) who dropped a case against Trump for fraud while taking cash money in another fraud. But one named stood out the most: Alan Dershowitz.
Appearing on both CNN's "State of the Union" and ABC's "This Week," the most vocal legal defender in all Fox News decided to preview his best argument yet! But first he had to clarify he's with Trump's legal team but not "with with" them on CNN with Brianna Kieler:
DERSHOWITZ: I was asked by the president's defense team to become of counsel on the specific issue of the criteria, the constitutional criteria for impeachment.
Seems Dershowitz is already setting up his "I was technically not part of the defense team" in case this goes to shit, as Jeffrey Toobin also points out to Dershowitz ... and he reluctantly agrees with.
TOOBIN: I mean, isn't -- are what you're really doing, Alan, is trying to sort of elevate yourself beyond being a lawyer, as sort of a neutral expert? But you're just a lawyer.
DERSHOWITZ: No, I'm a lawyer.
TOOBIN: And there's nothing wrong with that, but you're just a lawyer ...
DERSHOWITZ: I'm just ...
TOOBIN: ... representing a client.
DERSHOWITZ: I'm just a lawyer. I have done this a dozen times. I have been of counsel in many cases solely on the constitutional issue. That is, I present the constitutional issue ...
So what brilliant new insight are we gonna be treated to? Well, it seems Dershowitz had to dig deeper into the legal archives to find ANY for Trump.
DERSHOWITZ: […] I'm making what could be the most important argument on the floor of the Senate, namely, that, even if everything that is alleged by the House managers is proven or taken as true, they would not rise to the level of an impeachable offense. I will be paraphrasing the successful argument made by Justice Benjamin Curtis in the trial of Andrew Johnson back in the 1860s, where he argued that the framers intended for impeachable conduct only to be criminal-like conduct or conduct that is prohibited by the criminal law.
First let's marvel at the fact we've gone from "the president did nothing wrong" to "It's inappropriate for the president to be talking with foreign governments about investigating his political opponents, but not impeachable." If the bar is set any lower, we'll need an archeological team to dig it out. But Toobin rightfully pointed out how stupid this argument is and how irrelevant after more recent history has proved otherwise.
TOOBIN: The idea that the argument made by one lawyer in 1868 is somehow binding on senators 200 years, almost 150 years later ... I didn't say binding -- persuasive, not binding, but persuasive. [...] Every scholar, except you [...] that has looked at this issue about whether it has to be a crime in order to be an impeachable offense has said no, whether it's looking at Alexander Hamilton in 186 -- in Federalist 65 ...
But Toobin really got to the heart of Dershowitz's argument and the REAL reason he's making it:
TOOBIN: Well, I mean, I think we're playing semantic games, to a certain extent, but I think we should be very clear ...
DERSHOWITZ: You are.
TOOBIN: ... what Alan is doing is making an argument against witnesses, because what Alan is saying -- and you correct me if I'm wrong -- is that, even if everything that the defense -- the Democrats allege is true, there's still no impeachable offense here. So that means ...
DERSHOWITZ: Well, that's right.
TOOBIN: ... there's no need for witnesses. Isn't that right?
After first trying to deny it, Dershowitz does then finally admit the truth.
DERSHOWITZ: If my argument succeeds, if my argument prevails that there is no impeachable offense charge, Mr. Toobin is right, then there is no need for witnesses. If my argument fails ...
DERSHOWITZ: ... then perhaps witnesses would have to be called.
TOOBIN: And I think that's the -- that's the key point ...
TOOBIN: ... is that Alan's argument is not just against impeachment. It's against witnesses. And you can be sure that's how it will be used by his fellow Republican -- by the Republican ...
DERSHOWITZ: I agree with that.
And there it is! The argument all Republicans will be taking to try to deny more witnesses. Despite saying they want to "get to the truth" or that they would follow the "Clinton model for impeachment," it's clear that impartial justice was never on the menu for this Senate trial. Here is the full debate between Dershowitz and Toobin:
Even when confronted by the brief arguing the opposite of his position, made by the legal team that he's part of, Dershowitz just won't definitively answer. In fact, his answer as to why is even more baffling:
But surely Dershowitz, like his character in Reversal of Fortune, might disagree morally with a president committing crimes, but aver nonetheless that everyone is entitled to a defense.
There go the blacks and liberals, trying to undo the will of the 47 million Americans who voted for Richard Nixon! "Everyone is entitled to a defense" means Republican presidents and their henchmen can't be tried for crimes. But for Democrats? It "doesn't have to be a crime to impeach."
Have a week.
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Pop Culture observer & Comics fan. Amateur Movie Reviewer. Political Freelance Writer @wonkette. Marine, Husband & Dad. Opinions are mine only.