Attempts to impeach the 45th president will “undermine the Democrats” and aid President Donald Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign, determined Harvard Law School Professor Emeritus Alan Dershowitz on Wednesday’s edition of SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Tonight.
“Do you think it’s going to go any further with impeachment?” asked Pollak.
Dershowitz replied, “It will, and it’s going to undermine the Democrats. It will hurt them. Look, the whole movement of the Democratic Party to the left — to the extreme left — is hurting them, and it pains me because I’m a liberal Democrat.”
Dershowitz added, “I don’t think we’re going to see an impeachment because I think the Democrats have learned the lesson of the Republicans impeaching Bill Clinton. It just didn’t work. It backfired, and I think it would backfire and help President Trump get reelected in 2020.”
Dershowitz addressed Wednesday’s congressional testimony from former special counsel Robert Mueller.
“I don’t think we should ever call it the ‘Mueller Report’ again,” said Dershowitz. “I don’t think Mueller even read it. I think we call it the ‘Staff Report’ or the ‘Report Written by the People Who Are Out to Get President Trump’ because when Mueller was asked about it — I read the report thoroughly. … I knew more about what was in the report than he did — he got it wrong much of the time.”
Dershowitz continued, “It was just a fiasco, and he just got so many things wrong. … It was really — God — a bad show.”
Trump could have lawfully fired Mueller given presidential powers granted by Article 2 of the Constitution, explained Dershowitz.
“How about asking the question, ‘Would it have been wrong for [Donald Trump] to fire Mueller?’ and legally, the answer to that question is clear,” Dershowitz noted. “Of course, he had the right to fire Mueller, just like President Nixon had the right to fire Archie Cox. It wasn’t the right thing to do, but he had the right to do it. Every president has the right to fire any official of the United States government, consistent with Article 2 of the Constitution and law.”
Dershowitz went on, “When a president acts under the authority of Article 2, that can’t be an obstruction of justice. Perfect example: President George H. W. Bush pardons Casper Weinberger for the explicit purpose — according to the special prosecutor in that case, Lawrence Walsh — of ending the Iran-Contra investigation, and it ended the Iran-Contra investigation. They can’t do anything further once all these guys have been pardoned. Nobody suggested that’s an obstruction of justice. The presidential act of pardoning or firing can’t be the actus reus of a crime.”
Lawful acts do not become illegal because of corrupt intentions, Dershowitz stated.
“For there to be a crime, you have to have an illegal act, and then, an unlawful intent,” Dershowitz remarked. “What a lot of people have done is jump right to the intent and said, ‘He had a corrupt intent.’ Assuming, hypothetically, he had a corrupt intent, it’s still not a crime unless there’s an illegal act, and it can’t be an illegal act if it’s authorized by Article 2 of the Constitution.”
Mueller seemed baffled, observed Dershowitz, echoing Matt Drudge’s assessment.
“[Robert Mueller] constantly seemed confused, and there was no pattern to the questions he answered and the questions he didn’t,” Dershowitz said. “It wasn’t as if he consistently refused to answer questions that involved grand jury minutes, ongoing investigations. Sometimes he just didn’t feel like answering the questions.”
Dershowitz touched on Mueller’s inversion of the presumption of innocence. “For example, he was asked about exoneration. He used that word, and he refused to answer. How do you refuse to answer about a word you used yourself — twice — in the report? There’s no such word — ‘exoneration’ — in the legal lexicon when it comes to a prosecutor’s decision whether to prosecute or not.”
Dershowitz continued, “You either say ‘prosecute’ or ‘non-prosecute.’ If you say ‘prosecute,’ you go to indictment. If you say ‘non-prosecute,’ you shut up. You don’t say anything further. That’s been the tradition among prosecutors since Thomas Jefferson.”
Congress was deferential before Mueller’s arbitrary selection of which questions to answer while under subpoeana before congressional committees. “I’m amazed that they were deferential,” said Dershowitz. “I’m surprised that members of Congress didn’t say, ‘We direct you to answer the question.’”
Dershowitz added, “Congressmen should’ve said, ‘Too bad, whatever you think. You’re under subpoena. You have no right to tell us what the right thing is. We have the right to ask you the questions. You have to answer them. That’s what a subpoena is. You don’t get to pick and choose which questions you answer, except if you have a legal privilege.’ But they didn’t do that. They never pressed him, at all, neither the Democrats nor the Republicans. “
Mueller may have been used as a figurehead while staffers directed the ostensible investigation of allegations of “the Russian government’s attempts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.”
“Look, he’s seven years younger than I am, but, boy, he seemed old,” Dershowitz claimed. “He just seemed old. I hate to be an ageist because I’m almost 81 years old, but he just seemed like he wasn’t up to the task, and I wonder whether we should keep calling it the ‘Mueller Report’ or [if] we should just call it the ‘Staff Report’ because he didn’t seem to be the guy in charge of writing it and supervising it, doing the hirings. It seemed almost like he was a figurehead whose name was being used — because he had so much credibility as former head of the FBI, former Marine, former U.S. attorney, all those good things — but did he really write this report? Did he really work on it and approve it all, or was it other staff members?”
Dershowitz added, “And if it was really other staff members, then the Republican claim that we really want to know who these people are — why did so many of them contribute to the Hillary Clinton campaign? Why did so many of them seem to have an animus against President Trump?”
Dershowitz went on, “When you’re enforcing the law against the President of the United States, it seems to me you need a little bit of sensitivity toward not having everybody [be] people who said they wanted to stop him from being president, people who went to the Hillary Clinton victory party, people who represented Hillary Clinton, [and] according to one congressman, somebody who had something to do with destroying [Hillary Clinton’s] cell phones.”
Dershowitz concluded, “Another thing: don’t have somebody sitting next to you when you testify. You come in alone. If you need to say, ‘Look, I don’t know the answer to that, you should subpoena so-and-so,’ that’s one thing, but coming in with someone else, I mean, can you imagine a witness in a criminal case saying, ‘Wait, yeah, I’ll testify, but I really have to have somebody sitting next to me to help me answer my questions’? That’s just not the way it’s done.”
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