Administration

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

Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz 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 Trump’s legal team, was asked by Sen. Ted Cruz (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 Bolton 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.

Tags Alan Dershowitz Donald Trump Impeachment John Bolton Ted Cruz
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