Harvard law professor and famed attorney Alan Dershowitz, a lifelong Democrat, dropped a nuclear bomb on the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.
According to the House Democrats’ argument, the president engaged in an abuse of power by requesting that Ukraine open an investigation into the dealings of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter, who was paid handsomely to serve on the board of the Ukraine energy company Burisma Holdings while his father was vice president.
This argument is patently ridiculous. By that logic, all anyone would have to do in order to avoid being investigated for a crime is to announce a campaign for president. Heck, maybe if Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen simply announced runs for the White House, they would be free men today.
Dershowitz made the case powerfully during his address Monday.
“In our long history, many presidents have been accused of abusing their power,” he told the Senate. “I will now give you a list of presidents who in our history have been accused of abusing their power, who would be subject to impeachment under the House manager’s view of the Constitution.
“George Washington, refusal to turn over documents related to the Jay Treaty.
“John Adams, signing and enforcing the alien and sedition laws. Thomas Jefferson, purchasing Louisiana without congressional authorization.
“I’ll go on. John Quincy Adams, Martin Van Buren, John Tyler, arbitrary despotic and corrupt use of the veto power. James Polk, here I quote Abraham Lincoln — Abraham Lincoln accused Polk of abusing his power of his office, contemptuously disregarding the Constitution, usurping the role of Congress and assuming the role of dictator. He didn’t seek to impeach him. He just sought to defeat him.
“Abraham Lincoln. Abraham Lincoln was accused of abusing his power for suspending the writ of habeas corpus during the Civil War.
He continued: “President Grant, Grover Cleveland, William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, William Taft, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Jimmy Carter.
“Ronald Reagan, concerning Iran-contra — and now I say professor Laurence Tribe said the following, ‘Therein lies what appears to be the most serious breach of duty by the president, a breach that may well entail an impeachable abuse of power.’
“George H.W. Bush. ‘The following was released today by the Clinton Gore campaign. In the past weeks, Americans had begun to learn the extent to which George Bush and his administration have abused their governmental power for political purposes.’
“That’s how abuse of power should be used, as campaign rhetoric. It should be in statements issued by one political party against the other. That’s the nature of the term. Abuse of power is a political weapon, and it should be leveled against political opponents. Let the public decide.”
Dershowitz then went on to one of the Democratic Party’s favorites, Barack Obama, pointing out that the House Judiciary Committee had an entire hearing under the title of “Obama Administration’s abuse of power.”
The professor, a noted constitutional scholar, is 100 percent correct. The term “abuse of power” could be used by any opposing party against any sitting president.
It is a catch-all term that is almost entirely subjective and, if used in this manner, could result in the impeachment of every president going forward who has a House majority of the opposing party.
Forget witnesses, forget documents, forget this entire sham. It is time for the Senate to vote and for this president to be acquitted and allowed to do his job.
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