President Donald Trump impeachment lawyer Alan Dershowitz argued on Wednesday that Trump has free reign to cheat in an election if he believes his victory would be in the best interest of the American people.
“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 said on the Senate floor, during the question-and-answer period of the impeachment trial against Trump.
Dershowitz’s argument got immediate pushback by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), a House impeachment manager, who has been arguing that Trump has to be removed from office because his cheating cuts at the very heart of the Constitutional right to free and fair elections.
“Bear in mind that efforts to cheat in an election are always going to be in proximity to an election,” Schiff said. “So if you say you can’t hold a president accountable in an election year, where they’re trying to cheat in an election, then you are giving them carte blanche.”
Others pointed out that Dershowitz’s argument means that former President Richard Nixon could’ve made the same argument against his impeachment and removal from office for covering up the break-in of the Democratic National Committee office.
“Using Dershowitz’s logic, couldn’t Nixon have justified that both the break-in and the cover-up of Watergate (which were both purely for his political interest) as ‘in the national interest,’ and therefore not impeachable?” Mo Elleithee, a former DNC official who now teaches at Georgetown University, tweeted.
Trump attorney Alan Dershowitz: "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." https://t.co/jKErQcS1Iy pic.twitter.com/zo4rL6Zbla
— ABC News (@ABC) January 29, 2020