I am just kidding, but this was certainly strange:
Let’s summarize and breakdown this argument:
- Dershowitz says that a president can engage in three types of quid pro quos: for the public good, for the political interest of the president, or for the financial interest of the president. It is often hard to distinguish which motive is at work at any given time.
- Trump, like any president, believes that his election is in the “public interest.” As a result, his call to investigate the Bidens was perfectly fine. It is worth noting here that Dershowitz’s entire argument is built on the idea that Trump did ask the Ukrainians to investigate his political rival. Not everyone on the Trump defense team seems to agree with this.
- If Trump does something that he believes will get him get elected, “in the public interest,” then it cannot be “the kind of quid pro quo that results in impeachment.” In other words, Trump can do whatever he wants because he believes his presidency to be in the national interest. As several commentators have been pointing out in the last couple of hours, this is the equivalent of Richard Nixon telling David Frost “when the president does it that means that it is not illegal.”
- When Abraham Lincoln told William Tecumseh Sherman to “let the troops go to Indiana so that they can vote for the Republican Party” it was not an impeachable offense because Lincoln believed his own election was necessary for victory in the Civil War. I am still trying to figure out how Dershowitz thinks this example has anything to do with the current impeachment case. Lincoln was not soliciting foreign interference in an American election and withholding aid until he got it.
- It is dangerous to “psychoanalyze a president” or “get into the intricacies of the human mind.” I will let Adam Schiff handle this one in the video posted below.
- Presidents always balance national interest with motives rooted in party loyalties and personal interests when they make foreign policy decisions. It is thus impossible to understand which motives are corrupt and which ones are not. Again, I will let Schiff take this one.
Here is Schiff’s response:
This was one of the top moments of the entire trial. Schiff completely dismantled Dershowitz’s argument using the Harvard professor’s own method of argumentation.
As I see it, the House case is getting stronger by the day. This is happening for three reasons. First, Adam Schiff has been amazing. Second, the president has a weak defense. Third, John Bolton has a book manuscript.