Fox's Wallace confronts Dershowitz with clip arguing crime not necessary for impeachment

Alan DershowitzAlan Morton DershowitzDershowitz files defamation suit against Boies, alleging extortion Sunday shows - 2020 Democrats make closing arguments in New Hampshire Dershowitz: 'Schumer and Pelosi have to go' MORE, a member of President TrumpDonald John TrumpRussian sanctions will boomerang States, cities rethink tax incentives after Amazon HQ2 backlash A Presidents Day perspective on the nature of a free press MORE's legal team for his impeachment trial, on Sunday fielded questions about whether his defense of the president is at odds with his position during the impeachment trial of former President Clinton.

Fox News's Chris WallaceChristopher (Chris) WallaceConway: Reported sexist Bloomberg remarks 'far worse' than what Trump said on 'Access Hollywood' tape Candidates make electability arguments, talk Bloomberg as focus turns to more diverse states Buttigieg: Electability argument will sway voters of color because 'we dare not get this wrong' MORE asked Dershowitz, who has frequently argued that Trump cannot be removed because he did not commit a crime, about his comments in 1998 that impeachment does not require a crime be committed.

"It certainly doesn't have to be a crime. If you have somebody who completely corrupts the office of president and who abuses trust and who poses great danger to our liberty, you don't need a technical crime," Dershowitz told Larry King in the 1998 clip played by Wallace on "Fox News Sunday."


Dershowitz argued his legal understanding of impeachment had evolved since 1998, telling Wallace, "I've been immersing myself in dusty old books, and I’ve concluded that, no, it has to be a crime."

Wallace countered that Dershowitz has frequently defended Trump by invoking an argument written by former Supreme Court Justice Benjamin Curtis in defense of former President Andrew Johnson that evidence of criminal conduct is necessary to impeach and remove a president.

"I find it very hard to believe you hadn't studied the only other impeachment in history" during the Clinton impeachment, Wallace said.

Dershowitz responded that he had invoked Curtis’s argument long before he took his role in Trump's defense.

Wallace also asked Dershowitz about a recently released recording by Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiFederal prosecutors weighing new charges that would bring Parnas investigation closer to Giuliani: report Juan Williams: Don't count Biden out Sunday shows - Spotlight shines on Bloomberg, stop and frisk MORE associate Lev Parnas in which Trump, who has claimed not to know Parnas, tells Parnas to "take her out" in reference to former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie YovanovitchMarie YovanovitchTrump unleashed: President moves with a free hand post-impeachment Donald Trump: Unrepentant, on the attack and still playing the victim Federal prosecutors advanced Giuliani-linked probe as impeachment concluded: report MORE.

Dershowitz responded that the tape does not contain any impeachable offenses because the president has the power to fire ambassadors, but Wallace noted Trump’s repeated denials of knowing Parnas in the first place.

“I only want to speak to what’s an impeachable offense,” Dershowitz responded, saying that whether the conversation is otherwise “damaging” is “exactly what voters ought to be deciding on.”