January 18, 2020

Alan Dershowitz appeared on Ari Melber's show, The Beat, last night, to outline his strategy for defending Donald Jenius Trump against impeachment charges in the Senate trial. Immediately after Dersh's appearance, Melber turned to former federal prosecutor, Maya Wiley for her impressions. They were...unfavorable.

MELBER: Maya, what did you think of the professor's remarks?

WILEY: I thought they were incredible. And what I mean by that is that there are a large number of Constitutional scholars. We heard three of them testify before the House Judiciary Committee, who said, abuse of power is absolutely something that a president can be impeached for. And by the way, the fourth Constitutional scholar, who was called by the Republicans, John Turley, also conceded that had a president could be impeached for abuse of power. His argument was that there was insufficient evidence, which is a different argument from Alan Dershowitz's.

MELBER: And yet, Professor Dershowitz is surfacing something that we know for a fact that it will come up at this high stakes trial, which is there was a debate over whether to include bribery, viewers of this show know we discussed that, reported on it, and they went with abuse of power. He says that there is absolutely no way to support abuse of power. As you mentioned, there is, and there is a text on that. But, is it interesting to you, given his real experience in court rooms, that he is seizing on that and he wants to make this a high sort of constitutional, textual debate about, maybe you picked the wrong thing. Maybe it's not even a high crime.

WILEY: As a strategy I think it can help serve the argument that these aren't impeachable offenses that's the it turns to being an evidentiary standard. Which I would find ironic because we have an obstruction. I found that argument implausible. That a president can assert executive privilege over every single shred of everything in government. And then somehow not be obstructing Congress, when that's not even the way the privilege functions.

MELBER: And then briefly, before I turn to drew, I'm curious, because we've been through so many stories together, Maya, what did you think Professor Dershowitz who I know does things for a reason and has a strategy. What is his interest and emphasis on trying distinguish his role? We got into, finally concede, he'll be going out on that floor as Trump lawyer. There are no people allowed, there's no guests, no plus ones at the Senate trial. What is he getting out there, and trying to say he's different than other lawyers, somehow.

WILEY: I think it is two things. One, there is some liability to having an Alan Dershowitz as your defense attorney. because he's been implicated, not in the sense of being charged. just want to be clear I'm not saying there's sufficient facts. But Alan Dershowitz is implicated in some relationship with Jeffrey Epstein.

MELBER: Which is a big controversy for the administration.

WILEY: Not a good look of but it's also, one last point quickly, it is also that it enables him to be seen as an independent analyzer of the Constitution.

MELBER: Which is an argument he will be making, when in fact he'll be a zealous advocate.

Basically, there is not one Constitutional scholar or legal mind worth their salt willing to assert that abuse of power is not impeachable. Here we have Alan Dershowitz, though, pledging to pursue that very strategy. And Maya Wiley finds that, well, incredible.

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