Alan Dershowitz, who is part of President Trump’s impeachment legal defense team, said Sunday that even if the House managers successfully laid out the facts in their case they would still fall short of the standard needed to impeach and remove Mr. Trump from office.
He said abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, which are the charges Mr. Trump stands accused of, are “vague, open-ended” criteria.
“Even if the factual allegations are true - which are highly disputed and which the defense team will show contrary evidence - but even if true, they did not allege impeachable offenses,” Mr. Dershowitz said on “Fox News Sunday.” “So there can’t be a constitutionally authorized impeachment.”
“The conduct has to be criminal in nature - it can’t be abuse of power; it can’t be obstruction of Congress,” he said. “Those are precisely the arguments that the framers rejected.”
Mr. Dershowitz also addressed an old clip from around the time of President Clinton’s impeachment where he said “you don’t need a technical crime” for an impeachment.
He said that in 1998, Mr. Clinton was charged with perjury.
“I did say that then, and then I’ve done all the extensive research. I’ve been immersing myself in dusty old books, and I’ve concluded that no, it has to be crime,” he said on Sunday.
Mr. Trump’s team opened their defense of the president on Saturday, and they’re expected to go into more detail starting on Monday.
House impeachment managers had completed about 24 hours of presenting their case on Friday, arguing that Mr. Trump abused his power by improperly withholding military aid to Ukraine and then obstructed Congress by impeding the subsequent House investigation into his conduct.
Mr. Trump’s defense team has suggested they won’t take the entire 24 hours they’re allotted over three days to refute the arguments from House Democrats.