Dershowitz Blasts Media, Says Outlets 'Willfully Distorted' His Impeachment Defense


Harvard Law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz accused media outlets, like CNN and MSNBC, of “willfully” distorting his arguments in defense of President Donald Trump’s use of his authority in a way that could benefit the chief executive politically.

“Every public official I know believes his election is in the public interest,” Dershowitz argued from the floor of the Senate Wednesday night during Trump’s impeachment trial.

“And if a president does something which he believes will help him get elected in the public interest, that cannot be the kind of quid pro quo that results in impeachment.”

Dershowitz offered the example of President Abraham Lincoln ordering Gen. William Sherman to let the troops from Indiana leave the front lines to go vote in the presidential election, and doing so to help his 1864 re-election chances.

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“Everybody has mixed motives and for there to be a constitutional impeachment based on mixed motives would permit almost any president to be impeached,” Dershowitz said.

CNN described Dershowitz’s argument as a “breathtaking new defense,” which the news outlet summarized as: “The President’s personal interest is the national interest when he’s up for reelection.”

CNN contributor Paul Begala wrote an Op-Ed titled, “Presenting the ludicrous ‘Dershowitz Doctrine,'” while sarcastically tweeting “L’etat c’est Trump” (The state is Trump).

Do you think Dershowitz's argument was persuasive?

Similarly, MSNBC titled a video clip, “Dershowitz: Anything Trump did to win re-election is in the public interest,” adding in another article that the renowned attorney, “shocks with argument.”

In a series of Thursday tweets, Dershowitz took on the news media for falsely representing his views.

“Taking advantage of the fact most of their viewers didn’t actually hear the senate Q and A, CNN, MSNBC and some other media willfully distorted my answers,” the legal scholar tweeted.

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“They characterized my argument as if I had said that if a president believes that his re-election was in the national interest, he can do anything,” Dershowitz continued. “I said nothing like that, as anyone who actually heard what I said can attest.”

The lawyer went on to explain that there are three categories of relevant potential motives at issue for a president.

There are those in the “pure national interest,” those based in corrupt motives, and those with mixed motives.

“I did not say or imply that a candidate could do anything to reassure his reelection, only that seeking help in an election is not necessarily corrupt, citing the Lincoln and Obama examples,” Dershowitz tweeted. “Critics have an obligation to respond to what I said, not to create straw men to attack.”

He offered the hypothetical of former President Barack Obama‘s decision not to enforce his own redline, established in 2012, regarding Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons.

“What it if turned out that a reason he broke his promise was that his political advisors warned him that bombing Syria would lose him votes among the hard left?” the former law professor asked.

“[T]he reality of politics and that helping one’s own re-election efforts cannot — by itself — necessarily be deemed corrupt,” Dershowitz concluded.

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Randy DeSoto has written more than 2,000 articles for The Western Journal since he joined the company in 2015. He is a graduate of West Point and Regent University School of Law. He is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths" and screenwriter of the political documentary "I Want Your Money."
Randy DeSoto is the senior staff writer for The Western Journal. He wrote and was the assistant producer of the documentary film "I Want Your Money" about the perils of Big Government, comparing the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. Randy is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths," which addresses how leaders have appealed to beliefs found in the Declaration of Independence at defining moments in our nation's history. He has been published in several political sites and newspapers.

Randy graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point with a BS in political science and Regent University School of Law with a juris doctorate.
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Graduated dean's list from West Point
United States Military Academy at West Point, Regent University School of Law
Books Written
We Hold These Truths
Professional Memberships
Virginia and Pennsylvania state bars
Phoenix, Arizona
Languages Spoken
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Entertainment, Faith