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Dershowitz Fires Back After Criticism of His Impeachment Defense: The Media 'Willfully Distorted' It

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While answering questions from senators in the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, former Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz argued that presidents could not be impeached for having a mixed-motive.

“Every public official that I know believes that his election is in the public interest,” Dershowitz said. “And mostly you’re right. Your election is in the public interest.”

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

That answer did not sit well with politicians and pundits who argued Dershowitz’s view would “unleash a monarch.”

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On Thursday, Dershowitz responded with a flurry of tweets and claimed that the media “willfully distorted my answers.”

“I said nothing like that, as anyone who actually heard what I said can attest,” Dershowitz countered.

In a series of tweets, Dershowitz laid out an example of a president doing something that they genuinely believe would be good for the country, and would help their re-election.

Ultimately, he argued that if a president receives an electoral boon as a result of their actions, that does not — in itself — make the action impeachable.

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Finally, he accused pundits of deploying straw man fallacies against his argument.

“Critics have an obligation to respond to what I said, not to create straw men to attack.”

While critics slammed Dershowitz, George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley wrote in an op-ed that he agrees with Dershowitz’s conclusion — even if he found some of Dershowitz’s arguments dubious.

“The fact is that there is a host of non-criminal acts that could not just put lives but the nation at risk. If those acts are committed for purely personal reasons, they can be impeachable. It is the most difficult type of impeachment to prove, particularly if you are not alleging collateral criminal acts.”

“This is not just the narrowest presidential impeachment in history but the first to allege only non-criminal conduct. If there are other reasons for a president to have acted (even unwisely or catastrophically), a case for removal cannot be made,” Turley added.

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