Schiff Responds to Dershowitz’s ‘Very Odd Argument’: Gives Trump ‘Carte Blanche’ to Cheat in the Election


House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) pushed back on Alan Dershowitz’s argument against Donald Trump’s impeachment, saying it gives “carte blanche” to all quid pro quos that are politically advantageous to the president.

On the first day of the Trump impeachment trial’s question and answer phase, Dershowitz argued that all presidents act upon “mixed motives” with their politics, and that if Trump thinks his re-election serves the public interest, then his conduct with Ukraine was not an impeachable quid pro quo. When Schiff was given a chance to respond, he called it a “very odd argument” for a criminal defense lawyer like Dershowitz to make because of the relevancy of Trump’s “corrupt” intent.

“In every corner of America for every criminal case except for a very small sliver…the question of the defendant’s intent and state of mind is always an issue,” Schiff said. “In every criminal case – and I would assume every impeachment case – yes, you have to show the president was operating from a corrupt motive. And we have.”

Schiff went on to slam Trump’s defense team for the “poor analogy” they invoked from Barack Obama’s infamous hot mic moment when he told former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that he would have “more flexibility” after he got re-elected. This led to Schiff proposing a number of hypotheticals about the kinds of quid pro quo conduct for which a president can be impeached.

“That is the parallel here. And to say, ‘well yes, we can condition aid all the time,’ for legitimate reasons yes. For legitimate reasons, you might say to a governor of the state, ‘hey, governor of the state, you should chip in and more towards your own disaster relief.’ But if the president’s real motive in depriving the state of disaster relief is because that governor won’t to get his attorney general to investigate the president’s political rival, are we ready to say that the president can sacrifice the interests of the people of that state…because all quid pro quos are fine? It’s carte blanche, is that really what we are prepared to say with respect to this president’s conduct or the next? Because if we are, then the next president of the United States can ask for an investigation of you. They can ask for help in their next election from any foreign power.”

Schiff concluded by saying it sets a major precedent if such conduct is deemed unimpeachable and Trump is acquitted.

“If you say you can’t hold a president accountable in an election year where they are trying to cheat in that election, then you are giving them carte blanche,” Schiff said. “So all quid pro quos are not the same. Some are legitimate, and some are corrupt and you don’t need to be a mind reader to figure out which is which.”

Watch above, via Fox News.

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