Political News

Alan Dershowitz argues presidential quid pro quos aimed at reelection are not impeachable

Posted January 29, 2020 2:59 p.m. EST

— A member of President Donald Trump's legal team argued on the Senate floor Wednesday that a politician trying to win reelection is acting in the national interest, and therefore a quid pro quo aimed at boosting reelection chances cannot be impeachable.

Alan Dershowitz, a Harvard Law School professor and high-profile defense attorney, argued that Trump cannot be impeached for pressuring Ukraine for investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden because doing so would be aimed at helping his reelection chances. Dershowitz said Trump's motivations would ultimately be fueled by the public interest because he believes his reelection is what's best for the country.

"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."

The comments came in response to a question about the legality of quid pro quos.

Dershowitz added that all elected officials consider things in political terms, asking, "If you're just acting in the national interest, why do you need pollsters?"

"We may argue that it's not in the national interest for a particular president to get elected," he said, "and maybe we're right," but in order for it to be impeachable, he argued, one would have to prove that the decision was based solely on "corrupt motives."

"A complex middle case is 'I want to be elected. I think I'm a great president. I think I'm the greatest president there ever was and if I'm not elected, the national interest will suffer greatly.' That cannot be an impeachable offense," Dershowitz concluded.

This is a breaking story and will be updated.

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