CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin lambasted Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz on Wednesday for "carrying water" for President TrumpDonald TrumpWendy Sherman takes leading role as Biden's 'hard-nosed' Russia negotiator Senate needs to confirm Deborah Lipstadt as antisemitism envoy — Now Former acting Defense secretary under Trump met with Jan. 6 committee: report MORE.
Toobin's comments come after Trump cited comments by Dershowitz to defend his critical stance on the special counsel investigating his campaign for possible involvement with a Russian influence operation.
Dershowitz had remarked on Fox News that Trump was "100 percent right" to oppose the special counsel and his right to investigate the Trump campaign, saying that Mueller had "no probable cause" of collusion to open the probe.
“How has this come about that in every situation over the past year you have been carrying water for Donald Trump?” Toobin asked his former law professor on CNN Wednesday. “This is not who you used to be. And you are doing this over and over again in situations that are just obviously ripe with conflict of interest. And it’s just, like, what’s happened with you?”
“I have attacked President Trump for many, many things. I’m not carrying his water. I’m saying exactly the same thing I’ve said for 50 years," Dershowitz replied.
"And, Jeffrey, you ought to know that. You were my student," he added, and noted he had no control over the president quoting him.
Toobin defended Mueller's probe, calling it a "mandatory" investigation to solve conflicts of interest, and cited the indictments issued against former Trump associates by the special counsel.
"I still take the position that it was a mistake to appoint a special counsel," Dershowitz said, citing the investigative team's broad mandate to "find crimes" that may or may not exist. Instead, he advocated having a nonpartisan commission looking into Russian election interference.
But Dershowitz noted that it would be a "terrible mistake" for Trump to fire Mueller, one that would bring about serious consequences.
Trump reportedly considered firing the special counsel in the past. Speculations that he may again try to oust Mueller rose last week when Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsPress: For Trump endorsement: The more sordid, the better Those predicting Facebook's demise are blowing smoke If bitcoin is 'digital gold,' it should be taxed like gold MORE fired the deputy FBI director at Trump's urging, which Trump called a victory in eliminating partisan bias at the bureau.