Alan Dershowitz, infamous lawyer and erstwhile friend and defender of the late arch-pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, was chosen to defend Donald Trump in his impeachment trial and so far his arguments have been nothing short of jaw-dropping.
Without a hint of shame or irony, Dershowitz argued yesterday that Trump cannot be impeached for abusing the powers of the Oval Office to help get himself reelected because Trump thinks that ensuring a second term for himself is acting in the “public interest.” That is to say, he wants us to believe that since Trump wants to be president anything he does to achieve that goal is justified.
“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,” Dershowitz claimed. If his rationale sounds like absolute madness to you, it’s because it is.
If our country were to function under Dershowitz’s framework there would be no limit to what a president could do to get reelected. Taken to its logical terminus it implies a president can use the FBI to spy on political opponents, have the Justice Department bring them up on sham charges, coerce foreign agents to inflict physical harm on them or even order a drone strike on their house. Clearly, such a precedent cannot be allowed lest our Republic transmogrify into an unabashed dictatorship.
Trump attorney Alan Dershowitz: "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." https://t.co/fGLWCMjIXu pic.twitter.com/sx8H2Pzs1O
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) January 29, 2020
Today, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA)—who has been doing an incredible job defending the interests of the American people as an impeachment manager—responded to Dershowitz’s absurdity with all the seriousness it deserves.
Schiff called it “astonishing” that someone would make such an insane argument on the floor of the Senate. Mustering the eloquence he’s displayed time and again throughout Schiff decried the “descent into constitutional madness” displayed by Trump’s surrogates in recent days. The entire speech served as a perfect rebuttal to Dershowitz and it’s worth watching in full. It’s the kind of moment that ends up in history books.
Schiff responds to Dershowitz: "It's astonishing that on the floor of this body someone would make this argument. Now, it didn't begin that way … but what we have seen over the last couple days is a descent into constitutional madness, because that way madness lies."
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) January 30, 2020
.@RepAdamSchiff on Trump’s lawyers’ argument that a president can do whatever he wants as long as he thinks it helps his re-election: “The only reason you make that argument is if you know your client is guilty and dead to rights. That is an argument of desperation.” pic.twitter.com/k8HUTYd8ie
— House Intelligence Committee (@HouseIntel) January 30, 2020