Pres. Trump’s counsel Alan Dershowitz: “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.” https://t.co/8eDXJbxaT6 pic.twitter.com/SXR2Ms69Mi
— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) January 29, 2020
Courtesy of WaPo:
President Trump’s legal team offered a startling defense Wednesday as senators debated his fate in the impeachment trial, arguing that presidents could do nearly anything so long as they believe their reelection is in the public interest.
The assertion from Alan Dershowitz, one of the attorneys representing the president, seemed to take GOP senators by surprise, and few were willing to embrace his argument. At the same time, Republican lawmakers were sounding increasingly confident about defeating a vote expected Friday over calling new witnesses in the trial, an issue that has consumed the Senate for the past several days.
Dershowitz made his comments as the Senate launched into a question-and-answer session in the second week of the third presidential impeachment trial in U.S. history. Following a model established during President Bill Clinton’s impeachment, senators wrote their questions on slips of paper that Senate pages passed to Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., who is presiding over the trial. Roberts then read the questions out loud from the dais, glancing over his glasses as he addressed the queries either to the White House defense team or the seven House Democratic impeachment managers.
Dershowitz’s remarks came in response to a question from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) about quid pro quos, one of the offenses Trump is alleged to have committed. Democrats impeached Trump last month on a charge of abuse of power, alleging he withheld military aid and a White House visit from Ukraine until Kyiv announced investigations into his political opponents, and also charged him with obstruction of Congress.
“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,” asserted Dershowitz.
I was literally struck silent by Dershowitz trotting out the Richard Nixon defense for his client yesterday.
I had to wait for reporters to pick it up on Twitter before I was sure I heard it correctly.
That is an amazing, and also terrifying, defense.
However in some ways it should also have been expected because it kind of hearkens back to Trump’s comment about shooting somebody on 5th avenue and not losing any support because of it.
Keep in mind that Alan Dershowitz is representing Trump’s thinking on the Senate floor, so this is most definitely how he views this entire proceeding.
He believes that whatever is in his best interestes is also in the best interests of the country, and therefore cannot be impeachable.
If Senate Republicans vote to allow him to remain in office they are essentially endorsing that point of view.