Alan Dershowitz is one of those high-powered attorneys who likes nothing more than to be at the center of media attention. One reason he’s a great lawyer is that he can argue both sides of any case. He’s doing that right now.
Back in 1998, during the Clinton impeachment hearings, Dershowitz argued that no crime needed to be committed to convict Bill Clinton. He only needed to have abused his trust of office. This week, he argued the exact opposite, saying that a crime is necessary for impeachment and that abuse of power is not a reason for removal from office.
Dershowitz is really like the Republicans in general. Lindsey Graham, in particular, has contradicted himself repeatedly. He insisted witnesses were necessary in the Clinton impeachment but insists they aren’t now. Mitch McConnell has made similar flip-flops, demanding witnesses twenty years ago, but denying them today.
All impeachments may be political, but the Trump administration is different than any we’ve seen in modern times. Trump is clearly using the presidency to promote his business. His hotel near the White House is a necessary stay for people wanting access to the administration. Fat cats spend lavishly at Mar-a-lago, his Florida resort that he refers to as his Southern White House. Who knows what deals he’s making with foreign governments?
Trump quite clearly pressured the president of Ukraine to announce an investigation into the Biden and threatened to withhold Congressionally sanctioned aid if he didn’t. That’s an abuse of power and corroborated by numerous people despite repeated denials to the American people. That satisfies the breach of trust Dershowitz described in 1998.
Republicans claim that the impeachment sets a terrible precedent that will lead to frequent impeachments in the future. If that precedent was set, then Republicans set it when they impeached a president for lying about an affair. Back then, they argued relentlessly that it wasn’t about the affair; it was about the breach of trust and abuse of power. Today, they say neither of those matter.
Even though Dershowitz likes to point out that he voted for Hillary Clinton, he epitomizes the modern Republican Party. He’ll say whatever furthers his goals. His aim is to stay in the spotlight. Republicans will say whatever furthers their agenda and their goal is to stay in power.
Thomas Mills is the founder and publisher of PoliticsNC.com. Before beginning PoliticsNC, Thomas spent twenty years as a political and public affairs consultant. Learn more >