Alan Dershowitz Claims Media ‘Willfully Distorted’ His Argument Trump’s Quid Pro Quo Served the National Interest


President Donald Trump’s attorney Alan Dershowitz claimed that the media “willfully distorted” his defense of the president when he said Trump’s quid pro quo with Ukraine is not impeachable.

Ever since Dershowitz argued that Trump’s conduct wasn’t impeachable — because even if the president sought to aid his own re-election through his dealings with Ukraine, he did so believing that his re-election would be in the national interest — impeachment followers accused the Harvard Law emeritus of arguing in favor of massively expanding the president’s power.

The consensus among several pockets of the political media is that, essentially, Dershowitz made the case Trump could do virtually anything to enhance the possibility of his re-election, then justify those actions by claiming it best serves the public interest.

On Thursday, Dershowitz got on Twitter and objected to that characterization from the press.

“Taking advantage of the fact most of their viewers didn’t actually hear the senate Q and A, CNN, MSNBC and some other media willfully distorted my answers,” said Dershowitz. “They characterized my argument as if I had said that if a president believes that his re-election was in the national interest, he can do anything. I said nothing like that, as anyone who actually heard what I said can attest.”

Dershowitz followed up with a stream of tweets reiterating his arguments from yesterday.

So what do you think? Is Dershowitz right or wrong about how the media portrayed him as arguing that Trump’s quid pro quo to win an election is non-impeachable if he believes it serves America’s national interest?

Here’s a transcript of his remarks to help you decide:

“The only thing that would make a quid pro quo unlawful is if the quo were in some way illegal. Now, we talked about motive. There are three possible motives that a political figure can have. One: a motive in the public interest, and the Israel argument would be in the public interest. The second is in his own political interest, and the third, which hasn’t been mentioned, would be in his own financial interest, his own pure financial interest. Just putting money in the bank. I want to focus on the second one for just one moment. Every public official that I know believe that his election is in the public interest. And, mostly you’re right, your election is in the public interest. 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. I quoted President Lincoln. When President Lincoln told General Sherman to let the troops go to Indiana so that they can vote for the Republican Party, let’s assume the president was running at that point and it was in his electoral interest to have these soldiers put at risk the lives of many, many other soldiers who would be left without their company, would that be an unlawful quid pro quo? No, because the president, A) believed it was in the national interest, but B) he believed that his own election was central to victory in the Civil War. Every president believes that. That’s why it’s so dangerous to try to psychoanalyze a president, to try to get into the intricacies of the human mind. Everybody has mixed motives, and for there to be a constitutional impeachment based on mixed motives would permit almost any president to be impeached. How many presidents have made foreign policy decisions after checking with their political advisers and their pollsters? If you’re just acting in the national interest, why do you need pollsters? Why do you need political advisers? Just do what’s best for the country.”

Watch above, via CNN.

Have a tip we should know?

Filed Under: