Dershowitz: “Nothing in the Bolton revelations … would rise to the level of … an impeachable offense”
“That is clear from the history. That is clear from the language of the Constitution.”
President Donald Trump’s lawyer Alan Dershowitz tore apart the allegations in former National Security Advisor John Bolton’s new book that Trump told him to withhold aid to Ukraine in exchange for political favors.
Dershowitz listed actions by other presidents that one would consider actual abuse of power.
Alan Dershowitz: “Nothing in the Bolton revelations, even if true, would rise to the level of an abuse of power or an impeachable offense. That is clear from the history. That is clear from the language of the Constitution.” pic.twitter.com/clD3nsCaeb
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From Fox News:
“I’m sorry, House managers, you just picked the wrong criteria. You picked the most dangerous possible criteria to serve as a precedent for how we supervise and oversee future presidents,” Dershowitz told the House Democrats, including head House impeachment manager Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif.
He said that “all future presidents who serve with opposing legislative majorities” now face the “realistic threat” of enduring “vague charges of abuse or obstruction,” and added that a “long list of presidents” have previously been accused of “abuse of power” in various contexts without being formally impeached.
The list included George Washington, who refused to turn over documents related to the Jay Treaty; John Adams, who signed and enforced the so-called “Alien and Sedition” law; Thomas Jefferson, who flat-out purchased Louisiana without any kind of congressional authorization whatosever; John Tyler, who notoriously used and abused the veto power; James Polk, who allegedly disregarded the Constitution and usurped the role of Congress; and Abraham Lincoln, who suspended habeas corpus during the Civil War. Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and others would also probably face impeachment using the Democrats’ rules, Dershowitz said.
“Abuse of power,” he continued, has proved a “promiscuously deployed” term throughout history — and should remain a “political weapon,” not a legal instrument to take out a president.
He further suggested that the “rule of lenity,” or the legal doctrine that ambiguities should be resolved in favor of defendants, also counseled toward acquitting the president. The Constitution permits impeachment and removal of presidents for “treason,” “bribery,” and “high crimes and misdemeanors,” but does not clearly define the terms.
“Nothing in the Bolton revelations, even if true, would rise to the level of an abuse of power, or an impeachable offense,” Dershowitz said. “That is clear from the history. That is clear from the language of the Constitution. You cannot turn conduct that is not impeachable into impeachable conduct simply by using terms like ‘quid pro quo’ and ‘personal benefit.'”
“It is inconceivable,” Dershowitz said, that the framers would have intended such “politically loaded terms” and “subjective'” words without clear definitions to serve as the basis for impeachment.
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