comScore Chris Wallace Confronts Alan Dershowitz on Trial Argument

Chris Wallace Clashes With Alan Dershowitz: Your Impeachment Argument Implies ‘Extra Level of Immunity’ for POTUS

Fox News’ Chris Wallace got into it with Alan Dershowitz this morning, facing off with a key figure on the Trump defense team over the broad argument he made about presidential motives and impeachment last week.

To recap, Dershowitz argued during the Senate trial, “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… The only thing that would make a quid pro quo unlawful is if the quo were in some way illegal.”

He said all presidents have ?mixed motives” that complicate such cases.

Wallace today confronted him on this argument and said, “Why get into this question of whether or not the president thinks his reelection is in the public interest? Because you seem to be implying that somehow that gives him an extra level of immunity.”

Dershowitz said it doesn’t and again insisted, “If the president did something completely lawful, the fact that part of his motivation may have been to help his election cannot be the quid pro quo. That’s what I said.”

He told Wallace his comments have been distorted “deliberately because they saw that I was having an impact on some of the senators,” emphasizing he didn’t say the president could get away with criminal actions in his argument.

“Again, I don’t even know why intent is an issue and why you got into it,” Wallace said.

“Because I was asked,” Dershowitz said.

“My point is the activity is what you say is the key. If it’s criminal or criminal-like activity, then it can be impeachable. If it’s not criminal activity, it doesn’t matter what the motive is,” Wallace responded.

As they went back and forth on the motive question, Wallace put the question of impeachability aside to ask Dershowitz if just as a citizen, he finds it “troubling, problematic that a president would link in any way — forget his motive, and I’m not saying it’s criminal — his support for an ally and even military aid for an ally to investigating political opponent>”

Dershowitz again said it’s not an impeachable offense. Wallace again asked him whether he would find it troubling. “Of course any citizen would find that troubling if it were proved. Yes, that would be troubling. Troubling is now the criteria for impeachment,” Dershowitz said.

You can watch the full back-and-forth above, via Fox News Sunday.

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Josh Feldman is a Senior Editor at Mediaite. Email him here: [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @feldmaniac