Alan Dershowitz Walks Back Notion President Can’t Be Impeached Unless He’s Committed Crime
President Donald Trump’s recent impeachment defense team hire Alan Dershowitz responded to a 1998 video of him saying that a president doesn’t have to commit a crime to be impeached, Monday, after he revealed that he was planning to argue “abuse of power” is “not an impeachable offense.”
Following his declaration last week that “Abuse of power, even if proved, is not an impeachable offense,” a 1998 video of Dershowitz during the impeachment of former President Bill Clinton was aired by CNN.
“It certainly doesn’t have to be a crime if you have somebody who completely corrupts the office of president and who abuses trust and who poses great danger to our liberty,” Dershowitz proclaimed in the video. “You don’t need a technical crime.”
Accused of hypocrisy, Dershowitz responded to the video on Monday in a post on Twitter.
“There is no inconsistency between what I said during the Clinton impeachment and what I am saying now,” he declared. “I said then that there doesn’t have to be a ‘technical’ crime. I have said now there must be ‘criminal-like’ conduct, or conduct ‘akin to treason and bribery.'”
There is no inconsistency between what I said during the Clinton impeachment and what I am saying now. I said then that there doesn’t have to be a “technical“ crime. I have said now there must be “criminal-like” conduct, or conduct “akin to treason and bribery.”
— Alan Dershowitz (@AlanDersh) January 20, 2020
Dershowitz’s response was also criticized, however, with CNN legal analyst Renato Mariotti commenting, “This argument is silly and ahistorical, but even if it were true, there is obviously conduct ‘akin to’ bribery in this case.”
This argument is silly and ahistorical, but even if it were true, there is obviously conduct “akin to” bribery in this case. https://t.co/3p3FMBnv03
— Renato Mariotti (@renato_mariotti) January 20, 2020
Dershowitz walks it back. Now says it doesn’t have to be a crime but must be “crime-like” or “akin” to a crime like bribery and treason. https://t.co/YlULSBZYEn
— Ross Garber (@rossgarber) January 20, 2020
After being listed on the White House’s “Senate trial counsel” press release last week, Dershowitz attempted to downplay his role on President Trump’s legal team in an interview with Mediaite founder Dan Abrams.
“I think it overstates it to say I’m a member of the Trump team. I was asked to present the constitutional argument that I would have presented had Hillary Clinton been elected and had she been impeached,” Dershowitz declared. “I was asked to present my constitutional argument against impeachment… I will be there for one hour, basically, presenting my argument. But I’m not a full-fledged member of the defense team in any realistic sense of that term.”
Dershowitz has also claimed he will not pocket any money for his role.
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