Now that impeachment is experiencing a just death knell, we can focus on other relevant matters more important to our lives. Before we move on, we need to clarify a topic that came to light during the Trump defense which has been grossly misunderstood.
Alan Dershowitz created quite a stir by making a slightly unclear statement. It was then greatly distorted by those who want to use any opportunity to attack Trump even if it involves throwing a life-long liberal Democrat who voted for Hillary Clinton under the bus.
In the course of answering a question, Dershowitz stated that a president cannot be impeached because of doing something that is inherently in their political interest; thus, it is not illegal. Some interpreted that Dershowitz was saying a president can commit an illegal act and not be impeached. An argument ensued and Dershowitz made clear what he was saying but that did not stop the opposition from casting his thoughts as out of the mainstream of legal thought.
The principal reasons they went after Dershowitz is, he is arguably the most famous attorney in the country, he is a liberal Democrat and he is arguing for Trump. He gives the Trump defense team extra credibility. You really don’t see any of the other members of the team being chastised for their statements in the impeachment hearing.
The problem is that the entire argument missed the point. It might be because of Trump hatred or the idea that this somehow is some scholarly argument being made by people who do not have their feet on the ground.
The reality is this: everything an elected official does is political. If the elected official acts on matters that appear to be something that cuts across their normal constituency, they may get plaudits from their opponents for doing it, but the elected official made a political decision that was calculated to further their career. That is why the single most annoying statement of this election was by the unctuous senator from New Jersey. He stated over and over “Politics be damned” while he announced his blatantly political positions. Politics is never damned when you are a politician.
Thus, when an elected official is deciding on any action, they better be thinking about the political ramifications of that decision. It should radiate from their gut. And it is going to piss off the opposition because that elected official hopefully did something that pleases the people who put them into office. If not, you know what? Next election we will fire your ass and put in someone who is going to do what we want. That is exactly what makes America great. Politicians are accountable to us and better be making decisions in the best interest of their constituents. The problem is too often people get elected and reelected and forget that. And we are guilty of not giving them the hook when they forget to whom they are responsible.
And what was the issue at hand (where Mr. Trump was supposedly doing something illegal but what was actually overtly political)? Asking the Ukrainian president to look into the Bidens’ actions in Ukraine where Papa Biden threatened to withhold a billion dollars if a prosecutor was not fired and junior Biden made a million dollars a year for questionable activities. The Trump haters used this as the linchpin to go after Trump. What he was doing was absolutely correct. These activities stunk to high heavens and they should be thoroughly investigated. As previously stated, we don’t know if there was anything illegal. If anything, ever begged for review, it was this situation. Trump did exactly what he should have done whether the person was named Jones, Schwartz or Biden. The Bidens don’t get absolution because Papa Biden declared to run for president.
As an aside, I read Jonah Goldberg’s piece, https://www.nationalreview.com/2020/01/trump-impeachment-trial-alan-dershowitz-defense-dangerous/. He writes of how Trump can be guilty of abuse of power without breaking a law and that Dershowitz is wrong on this point.
There are two major flaws in his column. The first one is more egregious. He writes of how other legal scholars contradict Dershowitz. We don’t need legal scholars to tell us how to adjudicate this issue. When a conservative starts quoting members of the elite establishment to defend his point he has a serious problem.
The more important point is under Goldberg’s argument (which many are making) a president does not have to break a law to abuse power. The problem is the opposition of any president believes they are abusing power three times a week if not more. The powers are purposely not overly defined and thus open to interpretation. If the opposition hates the sitting president (akin to the current situation) they can impeach him three times a week. Pick your favorite abuse. That is what made this impeachment a non-starter. The idea that the opposition can just call a presidential act an abuse of power is not only silly, it is dangerous.
Aren’t you glad impeachment will be over in a few hours?