Donald Trump added defense attorney Alan Dershowitz to the legal team last week to argue that the crimes for which Trump is accused (obstruction of Congress and abuse of power) do not meet the constitutional requirement for impeachment.
But back in 1998, before President Bill Clinton was impeached, Dershowitz had a different take. Here is a quote from an interview with CNN’s Larry King.
“It certainly doesn’t have to be a crime if you have somebody who completely corrupts the office of president and who abuses trust and who poses great danger to our liberty, you don’t need a technical crime. We look at their acts of state. We look at how they conduct the foreign policy. We look at whether they try to subvert the Constitution.” -Alan Dershowitz, 1998
Harvard law professor Lawrece Tribe writes today in The Washington Post:
“The argument that only criminal offenses are impeachable has died a thousand deaths in the writings of all the experts on the subject, but it staggers on like a vengeful zombie. In fact, there is no evidence that the phrase “high Crimes and Misdemeanors” was understood in the 1780s to mean indictable crimes.
“On the contrary, with virtually no federal criminal law in place when the Constitution was written in 1787, any such understanding would have been inconceivable.“