January 17, 2020

If abuse of power does not qualify as a "high crime and misdemenor" worthy of removal from office, is there any crime that Donald Trump could do that would warrant removal? Or is Trump a king?

Alan Dershowitz genuinely believes that Donald Trump abusing power is not a big enough deal to get him kicked out of office. He declared numerous times over the years that he is a liberal Democrat who voted for Hillary Clinton, as if this is some sort of excuse for his ridiculous understanding of the constitutional law. He went on The Beat with Ari Melber to talk about his decision to join Donald Trump's impeachment legal team, which includes TV lawyer, Jay Sekulow, former Florida AG who took a bribe, Pam Bondi, a few White House lawyers, and maybe Rudy Giuliani, if he has his way. Oh, and Special Counsel from the Bill Clinton impeachment, Ken Starr. So a group of brilliant legal minds (snort) that will definitely do everything by the book, and won't at all abuse the impeachment trial to try to raise their personal brands at all.

MELBER: How do you make argument without dealing with some of these facts? Certainly one could imagine an abuse of power that would meet the standard. I'm sure you and I would agree in that in theory.

DERSH: No, no, we don't agree on that.

MELBER: Let me play for and you then get your response, let me play for you the President admitting the investigation. And then I'll get your response on whether that's an abuse. Here's Donald Trump on the White House lawn.


REPORTER: Mr. President, what exactly did you hope Zelensky would do about the Bidens after the phone call?
TRUMP: Well, I would think if they were honest about it, they would start a major investigation into the Bidens.

(end clip)

MELBER: The abuse of power allegation is that that request conditioned on money that was federally mandated under the law for a different purpose is the abuse.

DERSH: But abuse of power, even if proved, is not an impeachable offense. That's exactly what the framers rejected. They didn't want to give Congress the authority to remove a President because he abused his power. They have to prove treason, bribery, or they have to prove other crimes and misdemeanors. "Other" refers to crimes of the kind such as treason and bribery.

MELBER: So let me make sure I understand for viewers. You're making news, here, about what you will argue on the President's behalf in the Senate trial. The news you're making, as I understand it, that "abuse of power, in your argument, does not constitute as a high crime under the constitution?"

DERSH: That's exactly right, and that's exactly what framers said, when they rejected...remember, the initial the criteria for removing a President was maladministration, malpractice, and a range of other vague open ended criteria. What Hamilton said was "the greatest danger would be to empower Congress to impeach based on how many votes you have on one side or the other." That's why after they finished debating whether there should be an impeachment, they went to the criteria. And Madison, who was very much in favor of impeachment, wanted very limited criteria. If they wanted to put abuse of power in, they could have. Let me give you another example. Madison talked a lot about what if a President becomes incapacitated, but they didn't put incapacitation in as grounds for impeachment. We had to amend the Constitution to do that. If you want to amend the Constitution to have abuse of power as a criteria, you can do that. Nobody will vote for it though. Presidents have been accused of abuse of power from the beginning of time.

MELBER: Very interesting, getting your expertise in what you plan to argue on the president's behalf.

So Dershowitz is saying that everyone does it and it isn't a crime so big whoop. Let's all go home.

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