Dershowitz: If President does something to win election, it's OK unless it's illegal

Harvard Law professor Alan DershowitzAlan Morton DershowitzThe Hill's 12:30 Report: War over the Supreme Court Dershowitz suing CNN for 0 million in defamation suit Bannon and Maxwell cases display DOJ press strategy chutzpah MORE gave an extraordinarily broad view of executive power during Wednesday's impeachment proceeding, stating that virtually anything a president does to get reelected is not impeachable if the president thinks his or her election is in the public interest.

Dershowitz, who is working on President TrumpDonald John TrumpNew Biden campaign ad jabs at Trump's reported 0 income tax payments Ocasio-Cortez: Trump contributed less in taxes 'than waitresses and undocumented immigrants' Third judge orders Postal Service to halt delivery cuts MORE's legal team, was asked by Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSenate GOP set to vote on Trump's Supreme Court pick before election Supreme Court fight pushes Senate toward brink Crenshaw looms large as Democrats look to flip Texas House seat MORE (R-Texas) if it matters whether there was a quid pro quo in Trump's dealings with Ukraine at the heart of his impeachment trial.

"The only thing that would make a quid pro quo unlawful is if the quo were in some way illegal," said Dershowitz, who is an opinion contributor for The Hill.


"For it to be impeachable you would have to discern that he or she made a decision solely ... on the corrupt motives," he added. "And it cannot be a corrupt motive if you have a mixed motive."

Dershowitz went on to assert that if a president believed he or she were acting in the public interest, the motive could not be corrupt. He noted that "every public official I know" believes their election is in the public interest.

"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 said.

The response reiterated Dershowitz's broader argument that the articles of impeachment against Trump do not allege a crime, and therefore don't meet the threshold for removal from office. Dershowitz's position on the issue is widely disputed by the broader legal community.


Democrats have alleged Trump abused his office by withholding security aid from Ukraine in an effort to pressure the country to help investigate his political rivals.

Former national security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonJudge appears skeptical of Bolton's defense of publishing book without White House approval Maximum pressure is keeping US troops in Iraq and Syria Woodward book trails Bolton, Mary Trump in first-week sales MORE reportedly wrote in his forthcoming memoir that Trump said last August he did not want to release aid for Ukraine unless the country agreed to help with the investigations he wanted.

Dershowitz, in another noteworthy moment from the trial, argued Monday that, even if true, Bolton's allegations did not amount to an impeachable offense.