Alan Dershowitz Spars With Jeffrey Toobin After Comparing ‘Spygate’ to the FBI’s Spying on MLK Jr.
On Friday night, Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz and CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin had a heated exchange on the latest “Spygate” developments.
Toobin dismissed the “fake controversy” as a way to discredit the Mueller investigation and has “nothing to do” with civil liberties or fairness.
Dershowitz connected the tactics made by the Trump team to what the Clinton team did to discredit Ken Starr, but Toobin pushed back by saying the “one important difference” is that the Clinton team didn’t “invent lies.”
“Let’s start with the ‘spy,'” Dershowitz said. “Now, ‘spy’ is a characterization, but all civil libertarians should be concerns anytime the FBI puts an informer into a political event, a campaign, an anti-war movement, the Martin Luther King campaign. We all complained as civil libertarians when the government put informers in.”
CNN anchor Jim Sciutto clarified that the FBI didn’t send anyone in the Trump campaign but had an informer interact with multiple members of the campaign. Toobin refuted Dershowitz’s comparison to the abuses of power towards MLK Jr. and the anti-war movement, insisting they have “absolutely nothing to do with what happened here.”
“They tried to get Martin Luther King to kill himself,” Toobin said. “And here, there were a couple of conversations between George Papadopoulos and this confidential informer and Carter Page and that’s it. I appreciate your effort to try and change the subject, but to call this, as the president has, ‘worst than Watergate’ is preposterous and it is our job to call it out.”
“No, I agree with you. This isn’t anywhere close to Watergate,” Dershowitz responded. “But it is also not nothing. But I have no problem with at least inquiring. I agree with you. I think Trump overstates it when he says this is ‘worst than Watergate’ and that is what presidents and presidential campaigns and people who are being investigated do.”
“No that’s not, Alan!” Toobin exclaimed. “You’re normalizing Trump’s behavior and it’s not the same as to what other presidents do!”
Dershowitz told Toobin he has “every right” as a civil libertarian to “be concerned” whenever an informer gets near a presidential campaign. And when asked by Sciutto if it’s fair to “ask the questions” about the FBI informant, Toobin said, “absolutely not.”
“There is a tradition and a rule within the Justice Department that they do not disclose the witnesses or investigative techniques about pending investigations,” Toobin elaborated. “This is an active case and what the Justice Department- what Rod Rosenstein has done to try to protect his job in a way to try to protect Mueller‘s job is to bend the rules and give the House Republicans and give the president access to information that they absolutely have no right to.”
Watch the clip above, via CNN.
[image via screengrab]
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