This Sunday Alan Dershowitz joined The Cats Roundtable in the wake of a week of meetings at the House Judiciary Committee, and Thursday’s announcement from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that she would inform the committees to draft articles of impeachment against President Trump. Dershowitz spoke about the impeachment process, as well as the impetus behind his new book, Guilt By Accusation.
Three constitutional scholars were chosen by Democrats to speak before the judiciary committee this week. The scholars argued strongly for impeachment, while a Republican witness Jonathan Turley argued for Democrats to take time and interview more witnesses. Dershowitz criticized the Democratic counsels for “selectively quoting” in their arguments but called the “big failing” of the hearings a lack of cross-examination. While he said Turley did a good job, Dershowitz disagreed with the professor on the point that a president could be impeached for “gross abuse of office.”
“That’s just not in the constitution,” Dershowitz said, noting that there are only four constitutional criteria for impeachment: treason, bribery, high crimes, and misdemeanors.
“Abuse of office is not one of them,” Dershowitz explained, adding that academics can’t amend the constitution because they disagree with the President.
In wake of the hearings, he labeled Speaker Pelosi’s announcement a sign that Democrats are putting “Congress above the law.”
Recalling the provisions in the Constitution that immunize members of Congress from being criminally or civilly held responsible, as opposed to representatives, and a similar provision for judges while on the bench, Dershowitz argued that the President is given similar immunization. But if the die is cast, Dershowitz believes Senate Republicans have a number of options.
One in the Senate could say that because the accusations against the President don’t meet the criteria of impeachment, they could refuse to go forward because the vote in the House is void. But Dershowitz admits the most likely option is that a trial will happen, calling the chance “fairly overwhelming,” but will lead to an acquittal. “On the basis of the current record, it would be an abuse of congressional power to impeach on the basis of this record alone,” he told Catsimatidis.
However the Senate chooses to address the impeachment, Dershowitz hopes when it’s in their ballpark, Senate Republicans won’t take the partisan beat.
“I don’t think the Republicans should retaliate and also use the impeachment process for partisan purposes,” he told The Cats Roundtable, but added when the chance to address key witnesses arrives that “the result will be an acquittal.” As to the big question of whether Representative Adam Schiff will speak before the Senate, Dershowitz is assured Schiff has to be interviewed. While there is not a lot of precedent for impeachment, Dershowitz recalls his own testimony in the impeachment into former President Bill Clinton before the House Judiciary Committee, and reflected “the public will take account of inconsistencies” and the Senate will determine the truth from fiction.
Dershowitz explained to The Cats Roundtable he was initially asked to speak at the judiciary committee hearings this past week. However, after Republicans were constrained to one witness, and following allegations against him that he outlines in his new book, they ultimately decided not to use him.
“If I can be falsely accused, anybody can be falsely accused,” he told listeners. Dershowitz has categorically denied allegations against him related to the Jeff Epstein scandal, telling Catsimatidis that even with evidence to prove one’s innocence, we are living in a dangerous time when false accusations stick.
“Innocence is not even a defense,” he told Catsimatidis, comparing this failure to uphold innocent-until-proven-guilty to “McCarthyism,” a “red scare” hysteria that led to the blacklisting of many innocent people as communists in the 1950’s.
“I have nothing to hide,” he told listeners. “That’s why I’m fighting back.”