Impeachment

Dershowitz Defends Trump's Quid Pro Quo Logic: 'If I'm Not Elected the National Interest Will Suffer Greatly'

"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 an impeachment."

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One of President Trump's lawyers said Wednesday that any potential quid pro quo put forward by Trump to secure his reelection could not have been improper, because, in Trump's mind, his own reelection would be in the "national interest."

"Every public official that I know believes that his election is in the public interest," said Alan Dershowitz. "And mostly, you're right, your election is in the public interest. And 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 an impeachment." 

The retired Harvard lawyer drew a parallel to former President Abraham Lincoln, who, during the Civil War, relieved troops from the battlefield so they could go to Indiana and vote for the Republican party. "He believed that his own election was essential to victory in the Civil War. Every president believes that," Dershowitz said, arguing that Trump's push to have his political foes investigated by a foreign country was copacetic because it pertained to the 2020 race. 

"That's why it's so dangerous to try to psychoanalyze a president, to try to get into the intricacies of the human mind," Dershowitz continued, arguing that any efforts by Trump to bolster his likelihood of winning in 2020 were motivated by a desire to protect the U.S. "If you want to balance what's in the public interest with what's in your party's electoral interests, your own electoral interests, it's impossible to discern."

Dershowitz describes Trump's train of thought as follows: "'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.'" 

The president was impeached by the House in December on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress for his role in pressuring Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy into announcing probes into Joe Biden and his family. The White House abruptly blocked $391 million in security assistance to the country in July, and Democrats have argued over the course of the impeachment proceedings that Trump did so to force Zelenskiy's compliance. 

While some Trump defenders have countered that the president asked for those investigations out of a genuine desire to curb corruption, Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, testified that Trump merely wanted an announcement, as opposed to the actual investigations.

Responding to Dershowitz, Rep. Adam Schiff (D–Calif.), the lead impeachment manager, described it as a "very odd argument for a criminal defense lawyer" to put forward. "The question of the defendant's intent and state of mind," he said, otherwise known as mens rea, "is always an issue. This is nothing novel here—you don't require a mind-reader—in every criminal case, and I would assume in every impeachment case, you have to show the president was operating from a corrupt motive."

In that vein, the president's recent defense takes a page from an authoritarian playbook. Le public interest, c'est moi.

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  1. Wow, I guess you still don’t realize you lost and now sound like a crazy ex.

    1. You do realize that nobody from the Reason staff ever looks at the comments, don’t you? That makes you a crazy troll talking to nobody but me, another crazy troll.

      1. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen the staff reply to comments.

        1. Only two, Goober.

      2. Speak for yourself. Although this comment section has its share of trolls, some of us still take it seriously.

        1. I’m certainly not one of the trolls, and anyway, like I asked below, what do you think of Abraham Lincoln?

        2. Now that right there is funny.

          1. Yeah, by the bat-shit craziest of trolls.

            1. No, you fulfill that role. OBL is just funnin’

              1. PROVE IT, PUNK.

                1. Okay.

                  Here’s proof that you fulfill the role of troll, Michael, Are you ready?

                  TheLibertyTruthTeller
                  January.30.2020 at 6:24 am

                  PROVE IT, PUNK.

                  Reply 

                  Here’s some more. I do hope you’re sitting down.

                  TheLibertyTruthTeller
                  January.30.2020 at 2:15 am

                  Reason comments are the ONLY unmoderated comments in America, of a major political site.

                  Margaret and Nick say that’s defending free speech … a SHAMELES lie. At least 13 LIBERTARIANS have been banned, and all their messages purged …. for defending libertarian values … from the dominant alt-right mentality here (aka the Authoritarian Right) … on a once-libertarian web site.

                  With Nick as THE primary propagandist for the blatant fascism of Ron Paul — who is today’s greatest defender of the KKK and southern racist view of States Rights, which the lying sack of shit calls “constitutional conservatism.” HAH! Rand is just as bad.

                  This is WHY libertarianISM is now REJECTED by 91% of libertariANS … (Cato survey, the last one conducted by a major independent pollster) … libertarian tribalism is now as fucking corrupt as the left and right… at a time when Americans are DESPERATE for what we WERE, before the dominance of anti-gummint gooberism over pro-liberty champions … such that libertarians now have NO policy solutions … for ANYTHING. Nothing on taxes. Nothing on health care. Nothing on governance.
                  Lady Liberty ABANDONED

                  As Dershowitz defends the Trumpian Police State. “If Trump BELEEBS he’s the Second Coming … THEN HE IS!”

                  *** What did Hannibal Lector believe of himself?
                  Hitler?
                  Mussolini?
                  Stalin?
                  Pol Pot?
                  (vomit)

                  Reply

                  I could go on, Michael, you understand that, right? Because literally every single post you make declares you ‘troll’.

                  1. THAT’S NOT WHAT TROLLING MEANS!
                    EVERY WORD IS TRUE
                    SO YOU JUST TROLLED ME!

                    After an unprovoked assault.

        3. Comment sections at one time had value and I know in that important people in the past read comment sections…I doubt they do now when there are so many blogs in which people express opinions and even more comment sections infected with trolls.

          1. Reason comments are the ONLY unmoderated comments in America, of a major political site.

            Margaret and Nick say that’s defending free speech … a SHAMELES lie. At least 13 LIBERTARIANS have been banned, and all their messages purged …. for defending libertarian values … from the dominant alt-right mentality here (aka the Authoritarian Right) … on a once-libertarian web site.

            With Nick as THE primary propagandist for the blatant fascism of Ron Paul — who is today’s greatest defender of the KKK and southern racist view of States Rights, which the lying sack of shit calls “constitutional conservatism.” HAH! Rand is just as bad.

            This is WHY libertarianISM is now REJECTED by 91% of libertariANS … (Cato survey, the last one conducted by a major independent pollster) … libertarian tribalism is now as fucking corrupt as the left and right… at a time when Americans are DESPERATE for what we WERE, before the dominance of anti-gummint gooberism over pro-liberty champions … such that libertarians now have NO policy solutions … for ANYTHING. Nothing on taxes. Nothing on health care. Nothing on governance.
            Lady Liberty ABANDONED

            As Dershowitz defends the Trumpian Police State. “If Trump BELEEBS he’s the Second Coming … THEN HE IS!”

            *** What did Hannibal Lector believe of himself?
            Hitler?
            Mussolini?
            Stalin?
            Pol Pot?

            (vomit)

            1. Your 13 sock puppets are gone. Boo hoo on you.

              Does ‘reasonable’ still work to filter out trolls?

              1. Your 13 sock puppets are gone. Boo hoo on you.

                I posted THAT, dumbfuck!
                ALL the bans were lifted, after threat of a lawsuit. Keep crying.

      3. “nobody from the Reason staff ever looks at the comments, don’t you?”

        Sure thing, Billy.

      4. Bailey is the one I see jump in most frequently. I respect him for reading and responding even if I find his reasoning to be poor. I think I’ve seen ENB jump in once to attack someone personally. I seem to recall Robby jumping in once, but not sure.

        1. The fact that new sock trolls are trying to defend unreason and say that staff don’t view comments is clear evidence of the little scam unreason is running. Ron bailey, ENB, and Jesse walker all have been witnessed by me commenting. They have given multiple comments thought and gave multiple retarded replies.

          Unreason is circling the toilet, hence the mad staff attempt to stave off criticism of unreason.

          TDS has rocked unreason staff to the core and now real users are fleeing this website.

          1. Says the craziest wacko on the board … the ENTITLEMENT teat sucker!

            1. Self awareness you lack.

              1. Since you asked 🙂
                I PROVED IT, SNOT.

                Details at this link, with a link to PROOF (his own words)
                https://reason.com/2020/01/29/presidential-candidates-promise-freebies-for-everyone/#comment-8107287

                SAYS HIS FATHER IS “SELFISH AS SHIT” FOR OPPOSING CUTS IN HIS OWN SOCIAL SECURITY AND WELFARE.

                I cannot get him to openly discuss social security and medicare reform with cuts. He is just hoping to check out before our debt crushes the USA. Its selfish as shit.

                BUT …….. (SNORT)

                Calls HIS OWN FATHER “selfish as shit” (because of crushing debt) … BUT DEEFENDS NEW DEBT THAT LINES HIS OWN POCKET (UNPAID TAX CUTS) ….WHY???

                BECAUSE HE’S ENTITLED!! OMFG

                DO THE MATH, SKIPPY.
                1) His dad paid for his Social Security and (still pays for) Medicare.

                2) LC1789 IS SUCKING OFF HIS OWN CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN …. DEMANDING THEY ASSUME DEBT AND TAXES, WITHOUT THEIR VOTE.

                Umm, do you know how the federal debt works?
                Might you be an Entitlement Mooch also?
                WHO is selfish as shit, LC1789 or his father???

                Anything else?

                P.S. His concern for debt is actually BULLSHIT. He DEFENDS Trump for being the worst President EVER on debt … Has already added more new 8-year debt than OBAMA added AFTER 8 years.

                WORSE THAN OBAMA!!!!

                Even crazier. Obama had inherited the 2nd worst economy since the Great Depression.

                Trump started with the longest expansion EVER for an incoming President … FROM OBAMA … and Trump has SLOWER GDP growth than Obama. (Slowed even more in 2019).

                You were saying?

    2. Derpawitz!! Lololololol!!

  2. “The retired Harvard lawyer drew a parallel to former President Abraham Lincoln, who, during the Civil War, relieved troops from the battlefield so they could go to Indiana and vote for the Republican party.”

    So, what about that Lincoln, huh? Was he a great President or what?

    1. You swallowed that, TOO?

    2. I’m totally with Binion on Lincoln.

  3. Schiff, and Binion, are deliberately conflating mens rea with motivation. They are not the same.

    Under the law, a burglary occurs when you enter a home with the intent to commit a crime (usually, a felony) inside the home. If you do not have the intent to commit said crime, you are not guilty of burglary. The motivation behind the entry does not matter. It does matter if you broke in out of pure mischievousness or out of a desire to steal valuables in order to feed your family.

    Dershowitz is correctly arguing that motivation is irrelevant. If what Trump did was impeachable, his subjective motivations, regardless of how saintly, would not render the conduct proper. If what Trump did is not impeachable, his subjective motivations, regardless of how maligned, would not render the conduct improper.

    Reason, and Schiff, are deliberately lying. End of story.

    1. In fairness, it is not a lie if you believe it. And I think Reason’s staff is just this stupid.

      1. An evil man doing a good deed renders the deed evil. A good man doing a bad deed renders the deed good.

        Logic like that is stupefying.

      2. I think Reason’s staff is just this stupid

        I think Reason’s staff are trying to maintain access to cocktail parties and signal clique respectability. They’re also padding their NYTs resumes.

      3. I think you’re being overly charitable.

    2. This isn’t a criminal trial dipshit. You must be off your meds again!! Lololololol!!

      1. This isn’t a criminal trial

        Particularly because there is no alleged crime. So what does that make it, I wonder?

        1. Umm, an impeachment trial!!

    3. Thank you for your lucid commentary. These poor Reason writers have to fill white space with something. Just wish it included “reason”.

    4. When you enter a home with the intent to commit a crime (usually, a felony) inside the home. If you do not have the intent to commit said crime, you are not guilty of burglary.

      What a stupid asshole! BURGLARY MEANS THEFT.

      WHAT ABOUT TRESPASSING, GOOBER?

      1. Your are completely wrong, of course – as you always are, about everything, because you’re a troll.

        https://codes.findlaw.com/fl/title-xlvi-crimes/fl-st-sect-810-02.html

        1. THAT’S FLORIDA … SAYS SO WITHIN YOUR LINK! (fl)

  4. “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 an impeachment.”

    “However, it *can* be a hate crime.”

  5. So, according to Dersh, Nixon was innocent. Somebody should have let Tricky Dick know.

    1. Yup. Pedo buddy of Epstein has really gone off the deep end. But Trumpies will welcome anyone, so long as they unquestioningly support Trump.

      1. Trumpies are welcoming Clinton? Clinton supports Trump?

        1. Trumpies are welcoming Clinton? Clinton supports Trump?YOU ASKED THAT IN PUBLIC?

      2. “Trumpies”

        Hahaha! That’s hilarious! Did you think of that on your own?

        1. I don’t know what else to call you. You’re not fiscally conservative, not christian, only socially conservative when it comes to the gay agenda and dirty foreigners, not free market supporting…

          1. You really like to just make shit up about people for your little fantasies don’t you?

    2. No, according to Schiff, Carter should have been impeached because of the Egypt-Israeli Camp David Peace Deal, because it is the only thing he could run for re-election on.

  6. binion and bonnie two fucking stupid articles in row by two stupid writers.

    1. John cited a great article about stupid young “journalists” who dont know shit.

      Then these dummies get mad when people point out how stupid they are because of horrible writing and clear lack of knowledge about history, politics, economics….

  7. What if his intent was to be Orange Man? Would that be Bad?

    1. VERY bad

  8. And again Reason ‘writers’ just can’t comprehend.

    The president’s lawyers aren’t arguing that state of mind doesn’t matter during the commission of a crime or ‘crime-like act’.

    They’re arguing that none of this is a crime or crime-like act or anything impeachable.

    The Dems are trying to impeach Trump for doing the job set forth within the parameters of the task of President.

    And they’re going to fail. They’ve known this since election night. In 2016.

  9. “…very odd argument for a criminal defense lawyer…”

    Strangely enough, criminal defense lawyers are accustomed to defending people who have been charged with an actual crime.

    1. Which is why it is so dumb to have someone like Derpawitz on one’s impeachment team when the jury is made up of senators that know Derpawitz will say anything to get a guilty client off.

  10. 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 an impeachment.

    Ahahahaha… Jesus Christ! This government has crossed over into South American tinpot dictatorship land. Will it strive for The high standards of Maduro and his cronies in Venezuela?!? I can’t wait to find out. Where is some of that overthrow a dictatorship energy they have in Iran and Hong Kong? We need it here! The last election was won by these GOP tyrants because a bunch of shitkicker Evangelicals in Buttfuck, Wyoming have more of a say in who runs the government than people who don’t fuck cows for funzies. Who set up this government anyway? Oh yeah, I forgot. A bunch of White male propertied slavers intensely afraid of what the unlettered mob might do if they got power. Pfft… vhat a country.

    1. The Constitution was ratified, fuckstick.

  11. Dismiss this joke of a Democrat House Impeachent.

    Who cares what Lefties think or say. They dont care about Due Process or the Constitution. The GOP has the majority in the US Senate, so grow a pair and tell Democrats ,Romney, and Collins how it will be.

  12. Dershowitz is making the absurd argument that it is OK for Trump to abuse the power of his office to get re-elected because he believes it is in the “national interest”. So Trump being enough of a moron to actually believe he is good for the country is a defense against any level of corruption.

    1. It’s not an abuse, far from it.

    2. Here, let me help–

      Dershowitz isexplaining to morons that it is OK for Trump to use the power of his office to do things that are in the “national interest”.Doing things that are in the national interest is one of the most basic ways any politician gets re-elected. In more normal times we’d refer to it as ‘doing their job’. So Trump actually believing that he’s supposed to do his job is not something that can be covered by any definition of corruption.

      There. That should make things a bit clearer.

      1. .Doing things that are in the national interest is one of the most basic ways any politician gets re-elected. In more normal times we’d refer to it as ‘doing their job’.

        This statement is correct, but I don’t think that is quite what Dershowitz is arguing. You’re saying that there is nothing wrong with a President doing something in the national interest that is also politically beneficial. That is obviously true. But Dershowitz is saying that there is nothing wrong with a President doing something that is politically beneficial if they believe that it is in the national interest for them to be reelected.

        I *think* we can all agree to limit these scenarios to actions that are not technically illegal — I would hope that we can agree that if a President breaks the law to help themselves win reelection, then that is impeachable even if they think it is in the national interest.

        Now, I think Dershowitz’s argument sets a really dangerous precedent, because it allows a politician to conflate their political fortunes with the national interest. That opens the door for a politician to do basically *anything* to benefit themselves politically as long as it doesn’t technically run afoul of some law.

        If you think it is definitionally impossible for a politician to abuse the power of their office without explicitly breaking the law, then I guess that wouldn’t bother you.

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  15. , Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, testified that Trump merely wanted an announcement, as opposed to the actual investigations

    No, Trump wanted the announcement. Whether he really wanted the investigation is not within Sondland’s knowledge, hence projection. Sondland is a POS.

    Not surprising, since getting along in the EU seems to require animus to Trump.

  16. There was no quid pro quo and this impeachment is a farce. The end.

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  18. Dershowitz is working hard to prove he is an even bigger legal dumbass than Giuliani and willing to go to any length to prostitute himself to Trump and his crime family.

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