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Old 01-30-2020, 02:12 PM
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The Dershowitz doctrine


In today's NY Times, Alan Dershowitz is quoted as having said the following: If a president believes his re-election to be in the national interest, whatever he does to advance that goal is A-OK

Let's follow his logic a bit. Suppose Nixon had said that his re-election was in the national interest and the Watergate burglary was needed for that (never mind that he was delusional), then that's A-OK, right? Suppose Clinton had argued that his continued presidency was in the national interest and therefore he had to lie about sex with whoever (I have now forgotten). Suppose Trump were to shoot someone on fifth Ave. and claim that was in the national interest. This doctrine has no end.

Of course, it can apply only to the president; otherwise you could do literally anything and argue that you thought it was in the national interest. Lee Harvey Oswald could have so argued.

Imagine that Dershowitz is a law professor at Harvard. What other such people hang out there?
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Old 01-30-2020, 02:33 PM
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Was there ever a President who believed his re-election was NOT in the national interest?
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Old 01-30-2020, 02:38 PM
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The doctrine only applies if the President is delusional enough to “believe” that there is no difference between his self interest and the national interest. In other words it only applies to Trump.
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Old 01-30-2020, 02:39 PM
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Old 01-30-2020, 02:40 PM
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Kodos the Executioner believed his actions were in the best interest of his colony.
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Old 01-30-2020, 02:45 PM
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The doctrine only applies if the President is delusional enough to “believe” that there is no difference between his self interest and the national interest. In other words it only applies to Trump.
I would imagine this doctrine only applies if you're paying Alan Dershowitz a large amount of money. And Trump apparently is paying Dershowitz enough to get the full girlfriend experience.
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Old 01-30-2020, 02:45 PM
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When I heard Dersh saying his, I couldn't believe it. I actually yelled at the radio "Are you fucking kidding me?!" I am no lawyer or expert on the Constitution and even I saw this as a completely outrageous claim. I still don't believe that anyone could buy into this. Except elected Republican officials and Faux News, of course.
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Old 01-30-2020, 02:45 PM
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I just want to know if this will be the thing that finally laughs Alan Dershowitz out of serious public discourse and lands him a retirement gig as co-host on FoxNews with Jeanine Pirro.
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Old 01-30-2020, 02:46 PM
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I'm pretty sure that's not what dershowitz would said. In fact that looks to be a miss quote. He says something more along the lines of ' if it serves the public interest it really doesn't matter if it also serves a political interest.'
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Old 01-30-2020, 02:50 PM
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Can we get the quote, instead of the paraphrase? (I'm just doubting that he actually said "a-ok")

Last edited by Moriarty; 01-30-2020 at 02:51 PM.
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Old 01-30-2020, 02:57 PM
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Dershowitz is talking about mixed motives. not that a present can do anything he wants if it's going to get him re-elected. Recall that in 2012 Obama was caught on a hot mic tellng a Russian representative that he would have to hold off on specific agreements / talks until after his re-election. The strong implication here is that the timing of his foreign policy was being affected by his desire to be re-elected. I don't think you can impeach someone for that. And I think this is what dershowitz is referring to
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Old 01-30-2020, 03:28 PM
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Two quotes from Dershowitz during the Q&A:

"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 impeachment."

and

"'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."
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Old 01-30-2020, 03:38 PM
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All this said as if the man in the presidency is more important than the office of the presidency.
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Old 01-30-2020, 03:48 PM
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Dershowitz has been lying and obfuscating about Trump for some time now, but this is a new one.

Of course, it's entirely consistent with the Republican direction of moving further and further towards getting rid of democracy.
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Old 01-30-2020, 03:59 PM
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My mother, who hates Trump but never gets remotely heated about it or makes comments shouted "WAIT WHAT DID HE JUST SAY??!!" when Dershodimwitz's said that. I was fucking flabbergasted. It's inconceivable to me that someone who worshipped the constitution enough to make it his life's work would trash it so completely.

Last edited by KidCharlemagne; 01-30-2020 at 04:00 PM.
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Old 01-30-2020, 06:09 PM
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The PBS version of the Dershowitz argument before the Senate (on YouTube) he explains what he means starting at 40:50 minute mark and going to 1hr 07. Much more nuanced than a paraphrase or quote pulled out of context.
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Old 01-30-2020, 06:09 PM
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Two quotes from Dershowitz during the Q&A:

"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 impeachment."

and

"'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."
Trump isn't taking anything. He just wants to give America the precious gift of himself.

Way to knock it out of the park, Dersh.
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Old 01-30-2020, 07:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Tigers2B1 View Post
The PBS version of the Dershowitz argument before the Senate (on YouTube) he explains what he means starting at 40:50 minute mark and going to 1hr 07. Much more nuanced than a paraphrase or quote pulled out of context.
No, it isn't It may have lots of words, but it's not a better argument or substantially different than the quoted parts.
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Old 01-30-2020, 09:41 PM
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Dershowitz’s argument is very weak. But it is meant to give Republicans talking points and allow for obfuscation.

It also directly contradicts what he said during the Clinton impeachment. Out of curiosity, so reread Dershowitz’s book “Notes to a Young Lawyer”. It talks a lot about principles, but these went the wayside long before he became a presidential mouthpiece.
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Old 01-30-2020, 09:58 PM
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One funny thing about Dershowitz is since he started defending Trump a while back he says many of his liberal friends no longer speak to him.
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Old 01-30-2020, 10:01 PM
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Dershowitz is talking about mixed motives.
If a politician accepts a bribe for something he was going to do anyway, he is still guilty of taking a bribe.

And please note that a bribe can be in the form of something other than money.

Last edited by KarlGauss; 01-30-2020 at 10:01 PM.
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Old 01-30-2020, 10:06 PM
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The PBS version of the Dershowitz argument before the Senate (on YouTube) he explains what he means starting at 40:50 minute mark and going to 1hr 07. Much more nuanced than a paraphrase or quote pulled out of context.
The Senate was the place to do the nuance if he really meant it.
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Old 01-30-2020, 10:10 PM
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One funny thing about Dershowitz is since he started defending Trump a while back he says many of his liberal friends no longer speak to him.
When he became a torture advocate then apparently talking to him was fine.
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Old 01-30-2020, 10:35 PM
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One funny thing about Dershowitz is since he started defending Trump a while back he says many of his liberal friends no longer speak to him.
He said he isn't invited to parties in the Hamptons any more. Poor him.

A reporter asked Schumer if he took classes from Dershowitz when he was studying law at Harvard, and Schumer said, "No, that's why my arguments are cogent."
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Old 01-31-2020, 04:19 AM
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Dershowitz’s argument is very weak. But it is meant to give Republicans talking points and allow for obfuscation.

It also directly contradicts what he said during the Clinton impeachment. Out of curiosity, so reread Dershowitz’s book “Notes to a Young Lawyer”. It talks a lot about principles, but these went the wayside long before he became a presidential mouthpiece.
One thing I've learned about lawyers is that they don't actually believe in anything except winning arguments. They see no problem with saying one thing in one case and the complete opposite in another - to them, it's just playing different moves in different games.

Last edited by Alessan; 01-31-2020 at 04:19 AM.
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Old 01-31-2020, 04:37 AM
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One thing I've learned about lawyers is that they don't actually believe in anything except winning arguments. They see no problem with saying one thing in one case and the complete opposite in another - to them, it's just playing different moves in different games.
In fact — or so I'm told by a TV lawyer commenting on Dershowitz's hypocrisy — lawyers are ethically obligated to stick to whatever fake argument serves their client-of-the-day. Indulging in truth or consistency against their client's interest might result in disbarment.
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Old 01-31-2020, 09:50 AM
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No, it isn't It may have lots of words, but it's not a better argument or substantially different than the quoted parts.
if you believe that then you clearly didn't listen or didn't understand what what dershowitz was saying during his 20 minutes of explanation and examples. If you have bribery if you have treason and other like high crimes and misdemeanors then certainly you can be impeached. But the action itself must fall within the scope of that. If that kind of bank is committed doesn't matter that the motive is mixed - if the president did it because he also wants to be re-elected. it's an impeachable offense under the Constitution. Citing the word quid pro quo doesn't do that. Dershowitz is making the argument that quid pro quo actions have taken place throughout presidential history. To allow a quid pro quo claim where the president may gain some political advantage, by itself, to be an impeachable offense, creates the possibility that future presidents will be impeached by the majority party. Not because a crime has been committed as required by the Constitution but because of political acts. This, at least in my opinion, doesnt isound anything like what the OP claims dershowitz said.
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Old 01-31-2020, 10:00 AM
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if you believe that then you clearly didn't listen or didn't understand what what dershowitz was saying during his 20 minutes of explanation and examples. If you have bribery if you have treason and other like high crimes and misdemeanors then certainly you can be impeached. But the action itself must fall within the scope of that. If that kind of bank is committed doesn't matter that the motive is mixed - if the president did it because he also wants to be re-elected. it's an impeachable offense under the Constitution. Citing the word quid pro quo doesn't do that. Dershowitz is making the argument that quid pro quo actions have taken place throughout presidential history. To allow a quid pro quo claim where the president may gain some political advantage, by itself, to be an impeachable offense, creates the possibility that future presidents will be impeached by the majority party. Not because a crime has been committed as required by the Constitution but because of political acts. This, at least in my opinion, doesnt isound anything like what the OP claims dershowitz said.
(Bolding mine.)

I'll give you that. This sure doesn't sound like what Deshowitz said, as the OP claimed.
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Old 01-31-2020, 10:11 AM
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if you believe that then you clearly didn't listen or didn't understand what what dershowitz was saying during his 20 minutes of explanation and examples. If you have bribery if you have treason and other like high crimes and misdemeanors then certainly you can be impeached. But the action itself must fall within the scope of that. If that kind of bank is committed doesn't matter that the motive is mixed - if the president did it because he also wants to be re-elected. it's an impeachable offense under the Constitution. Citing the word quid pro quo doesn't do that. Dershowitz is making the argument that quid pro quo actions have taken place throughout presidential history. To allow a quid pro quo claim where the president may gain some political advantage, by itself, to be an impeachable offense, creates the possibility that future presidents will be impeached by the majority party. Not because a crime has been committed as required by the Constitution but because of political acts. This, at least in my opinion, doesnt isound anything like what the OP claims dershowitz said.
If so, Dersh argued against a straw man, since the Articles of Impeachment allege far more than a mere "quid pro quo claim".
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Old 01-31-2020, 10:37 AM
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Was there ever a President who believed his re-election was NOT in the national interest?
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Old 01-31-2020, 11:00 AM
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One thing I've learned about lawyers is that they don't actually believe in anything except winning arguments. They see no problem with saying one thing in one case and the complete opposite in another - to them, it's just playing different moves in different games.
To play Devil's Advocate here, part of lawyers' professional ethos is a belief that if both parties are represented by competent attorneys to the best of their abilities, and all the evidence is out on the table, then justice will emerge from the resulting trial. That's a big piece of why some lawyers will defend obviously guilty people- they feel like they need legal representation, regardless of their personal opinions about guilt or innocence.

So they do just that- defend their clients to the best of their ability within the bounds of the law, regardless of whether what they said contradicts something they said in a previous trial- in the majority of cases, that's not admissible or relevant in the current one.

Now that whole professional ethos hinges on equal representation, which is rarely the case, and occasionally it means that justice does NOT come out of the process.
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Old 01-31-2020, 11:26 AM
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Old 01-31-2020, 11:44 AM
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If so, Dersh argued against a straw man, since the Articles of Impeachment allege far more than a mere "quid pro quo claim".
The argument doesn't lend itself to individual quotes like in post #12.

Dershowitz gave a two hour long presentation Tuesday night. This response was a 5 minute one giving basically the same response he gave earlier.

He started by arguing the strawman that you suggest that a quid pro quo is bad. Not so, for the obvious reasons: we do it all the time.

So then the argument is, and he quoted the House Managers, if you engage in a quid pro quo for any reason that could help you personally, then that is bad. Even if in the back of your mind you are doing it for personal reasons. But Dersh argued, almost everything a politician does has mixed motives. He or she may believe that X is both good for the country and good for him/herself personally. If you condition aid for Israel on dismantling settlements, that may be good for the country, but the bit of evil in all of us might be causing it, in part, because of a feeling that doing so will help the politician get re-elected. Then Dersh made the quotes attributed to him in post #12.

Importantly, then his five minutes had expired and Roberts cut him off....

Note that he did not say that taking a bribe or committing treason or committing a like crime which solely helps you personally is not an impeachable offense.

If you look back to Tuesday, he continued and said it in the context that in mixed motive cases you cannot properly impeach the president simply because you believe that part of it was done out of a desire for personal political benefit because everything good thing a politician does is accompanied by such a belief.

Of course, the TV news plays the 10 second clip out of context and makes it appear that he said that the president can do absolutely anything he wants for corrupt personal gain and nothing can be done. That's the world we live in of 10 second soundbites and Dersh has every right to be upset because it was intentionally ripped from its context.

IOW, the short version of his argument would go something like this. Suppose I give $10 million to the local community college. On one hand that is a selfless act because I am helping so many young people get a better education, yet at the same time, I also get the benefit of everyone in the community thinking I am a great guy and seeing the Ultravires Aquatic Center name in big letters on a building.

If you are predisposed not to like me, is it proper just to jump to the bad motive I had and claim that is the only reason I did it? Maybe I did it 99% for the bad motive, but you cannot just point to that and say that it must be my sole motive because then you have created a standard where anyone who donated to a charitable cause can be accused of a bad motive.

Disagree with the argument if you will, but he did not say that a president can do anything at all as long as he thought it helped his reelection chances.

Last edited by UltraVires; 01-31-2020 at 11:45 AM.
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Old 01-31-2020, 12:07 PM
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The argument doesn't lend itself to individual quotes like in post #12.

Dershowitz gave a two hour long presentation Tuesday night. This response was a 5 minute one giving basically the same response he gave earlier.

He started by arguing the strawman that you suggest that a quid pro quo is bad. Not so, for the obvious reasons: we do it all the time.

So then the argument is, and he quoted the House Managers, if you engage in a quid pro quo for any reason that could help you personally, then that is bad. Even if in the back of your mind you are doing it for personal reasons. But Dersh argued, almost everything a politician does has mixed motives. He or she may believe that X is both good for the country and good for him/herself personally. If you condition aid for Israel on dismantling settlements, that may be good for the country, but the bit of evil in all of us might be causing it, in part, because of a feeling that doing so will help the politician get re-elected. Then Dersh made the quotes attributed to him in post #12.

Importantly, then his five minutes had expired and Roberts cut him off....

Note that he did not say that taking a bribe or committing treason or committing a like crime which solely helps you personally is not an impeachable offense.

If you look back to Tuesday, he continued and said it in the context that in mixed motive cases you cannot properly impeach the president simply because you believe that part of it was done out of a desire for personal political benefit because everything good thing a politician does is accompanied by such a belief.

Of course, the TV news plays the 10 second clip out of context and makes it appear that he said that the president can do absolutely anything he wants for corrupt personal gain and nothing can be done. That's the world we live in of 10 second soundbites and Dersh has every right to be upset because it was intentionally ripped from its context.

IOW, the short version of his argument would go something like this. Suppose I give $10 million to the local community college. On one hand that is a selfless act because I am helping so many young people get a better education, yet at the same time, I also get the benefit of everyone in the community thinking I am a great guy and seeing the Ultravires Aquatic Center name in big letters on a building.

If you are predisposed not to like me, is it proper just to jump to the bad motive I had and claim that is the only reason I did it? Maybe I did it 99% for the bad motive, but you cannot just point to that and say that it must be my sole motive because then you have created a standard where anyone who donated to a charitable cause can be accused of a bad motive.

Disagree with the argument if you will, but he did not say that a president can do anything at all as long as he thought it helped his reelection chances.
It's a straw man argument. Dersh even said that the actual content of the Articles of Impeachment should be ignored -- only the top-line matters. It's utterly bogus and ridiculous. Trump is accused of far more than just a mere "quid pro quo for personal benefit". The Articles of Impeachment make it clear that he is being accused of bribery and wire fraud, among other things, rolled up into "abuse of power" (in addition to the obstruction charge).

Dersh is an idiot making an idiotic argument, probably because as a likely rapist, he's seeking comfort in the shadow of a fellow likely rapist with more power and popularity than he has.

Last edited by iiandyiiii; 01-31-2020 at 12:10 PM.
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Old 01-31-2020, 12:24 PM
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It's a straw man argument. Dersh even said that the actual content of the Articles of Impeachment should be ignored -- only the top-line matters. It's utterly bogus and ridiculous. Trump is accused of far more than just a mere "quid pro quo for personal benefit". The Articles of Impeachment make it clear that he is being accused of bribery and wire fraud, among other things, rolled up into "abuse of power" (in addition to the obstruction charge).

Dersh is an idiot making an idiotic argument, probably because as a likely rapist, he's seeking comfort in the shadow of a fellow likely rapist with more power and popularity than he has.
But he wasn't charged (or impeachment for) bribery and wire fraud. You cannot just add accusations in the middle of a trial. That goes right to the heart of the due process argument.

It's amazing how this guy has been a scholar at Harvard Law School of all places for over 50 years, but people on the internet have decided that he is a moron. I'll be the first person to say that no matter someone's scholarship, they are capable of mistakes and their arguments can be critiqued, but to dismiss him as an idiot? He's fooled a hell of a lot of people, then, and made a lot of money for being such a shitty attorney.

And sexual assault? Really? In this thread? Respectfully, not everything revolves around sexual assault. And even if we assume that Dershowitz is the biggest rapist that ever lived, it has nothing to do with the quality of his argument. That is such an overwhelming ad hominem attack that is irresponsible in quality debate.
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Old 01-31-2020, 12:30 PM
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People change over time. At one time, Giuliani was a respected prosecutor. Now one wonders how he graduated from high school. Maybe Dershowitz was at one time a respected professor. But he hung out with the wrong crowd. He's an old guy, and like a lot of old guys he spent too much time watching Fox and is now nothing more than a member of the 45 Cult. My jaw hit the floor when he argued that everybody thinks his election is in the national interest and therefore whatever you do in that endeavor is unimpeachable. Polish the turd all you want, but that's what he said.
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Old 01-31-2020, 12:33 PM
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But he wasn't charged (or impeachment for) bribery and wire fraud. You cannot just add accusations in the middle of a trial. That goes right to the heart of the due process argument.
It's not adding accusations -- it's right there in the Articles. That they don't use the specific word "bribery" doesn't make it any less of a crime. They describe in great detail the crimes of Trump, and none of Dersh's arguments make that stuff go away. Dersh just said that the actual content of the Articles should be ignored. He really said that!

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And sexual assault? Really? In this thread? Respectfully, not everything revolves around sexual assault. And even if we assume that Dershowitz is the biggest rapist that ever lived, it has nothing to do with the quality of his argument. That is such an overwhelming ad hominem attack that is irresponsible in quality debate.
It's irresponsible of our system and society to include likely rapists like Trump and Dershowitz in its highest workings, but they're right there nonetheless. I won't stop reminding folks of the kind of people they're supporting. Even with all the other terrible things going on, there is nothing more important in our society right now than fighting sexual assault and rape, and that means continually reminding folks how little our society does about the powerful and wealthy who commit sexual assault and rape.
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Old 01-31-2020, 12:40 PM
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...If you look back to Tuesday, he continued and said it in the context that in mixed motive cases you cannot properly impeach the president simply because you believe that part of it was done out of a desire for personal political benefit because everything good thing a politician does is accompanied by such a belief...
IOW, the short version of his argument would go something like this. Suppose I give $10 million to the local community college. On one hand that is a selfless act because I am helping so many young people get a better education, yet at the same time, I also get the benefit of everyone in the community thinking I am a great guy and seeing the Ultravires Aquatic Center name in big letters on a building.

If you are predisposed not to like me, is it proper just to jump to the bad motive I had and claim that is the only reason I did it? Maybe I did it 99% for the bad motive, but you cannot just point to that and say that it must be my sole motive because then you have created a standard where anyone who donated to a charitable cause can be accused of a bad motive.

Disagree with the argument if you will, but he did not say that a president can do anything at all as long as he thought it helped his reelection chances.
If this is the argument, then it would seem to mean that you can't judge a President's decision making by the motivations that the President claims, since those motivations are always only part of the calculus for why he did what he did; no matter what justification the president provides, there's also the ('entirely sensible') determination as to how it helps the President maintain popularity/win an election.

Therefore, you are begging for others to come in and provide context by discussing their conversations with the President, viewpoints on the President's actions, and the impact on these decisions.

In other words, if Dershowitz is arguing that it is ridiculous to impugn a President that you don't like just because he made decisions that benefited him, then it is equally ridiculous to exonerate a President because he or his supporters assure us that he had the country's interest at heart.

Instead, we should be ignoring that and hearing from all of the people who had concerns, raised questions, and sounded the alarm so that we can hear their perspective and, only then, decide if their views have merit.

To take your charity donation example:
You donate $10 million to a charity. You and your friends all publicly proclaim that it's because you are kind and generous. Your opponents think it's a scam to get out of paying money you owe.

How to reconcile this? Do we just discount the claims of a scam because, even if you are hiding money to avoid debts, you also realize that the charity will be happy to get $10 million? If that be the case, then any criminal, shady, or immoral act is absolvable by pointing out that it benefited somebody, while simultaneously ignoring those it hurt.

Or, since people are proclaiming a bad purpose, do we conclude that there can't possibly be a noble legitimate reason instead? Clearly not; if these people who are impugning your reputation have their own ulterior motives, this might be an illegitimate claim.

What to do? What to do?

I know, and I bet Dershowitz would agree:

Let's call the witnesses who were actually in the room when you decided to make the donation: Did they hear you explain why it was done that way?

Let's review your financial books to see if any of the concerns being raised are fair: Do you actually owe anybody money?

If people are claiming you owe them money, maybe we do need to hear from them: Are they identifying legitimate debts?

Clearly, Dershowitz is saying we need more evidence, we need to hear from the principals involved, and we need to see the paper trail that confirms the reasons that things happened how they did.
  #39  
Old 01-31-2020, 12:41 PM
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IOW, the short version of his argument would go something like this. Suppose I give $10 million to the local community college. On one hand that is a selfless act because I am helping so many young people get a better education, yet at the same time, I also get the benefit of everyone in the community thinking I am a great guy and seeing the Ultravires Aquatic Center name in big letters on a building.
What you're describing here isn't the same thing though, is it?

You're saying that Dershowitz argued that if something a politician does has a public benefit, and a personal benefit, then the fact that a public benefit exists is enough to justify the action alone. But that's nonsense -- consider a president who owns a bunch of hotels (unlikely, right?) who directs the FBI to look into allegations against Conrad Hilton. The Hilton family is, of course, upset by this abuse of power, claiming that this hypothetical president is using public funds for personal benefit, namely that people will avoid Hilton hotels in favor of the president's own brand. The president's defense is that he's just trying to root out bad people.

That's a dumb argument, but it doesn't address the key silliness that Dershowitz actually said, which is that reelection in and of itself can never be considered a personal benefit because politicians are so full of themselves.

To change your example slightly, there's a difference between a mayor signing off on a major (city funded) community college expansion because it will make him look good, and doing so because he's financially invested in a construction company that's earmarked to get the work. The former is just the nature of politics, the latter is straight up corruption. Likewise, there's a difference between him signing off on the expansion because it will make him look good, and doing so because it will just so happen to demolish a voting registration center in a community that tends to vote against him.

Dershowitz seems to be arguing that it's OK for the mayor to have the voting registration center demolished even if everyone publicly understands it's in the mayor's reelection interest, because the mayor is so self-centered and delusional he thinks himself getting elected is in the public interest.

Last edited by steronz; 01-31-2020 at 12:44 PM.
  #40  
Old 01-31-2020, 12:42 PM
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My jaw hit the floor when he argued that everybody thinks his election is in the national interest and therefore whatever you do in that endeavor is unimpeachable. Polish the turd all you want, but that's what he said.
He said it because he knows that a lot of voters are hopelessly cynical and accept that what he said is essentially true. A lot of voters accept that all presidents are hopelessly corrupt and that probably most in Trump's position would abuse power to ensure their reelection.

The Republicans are arguing that people should assume there are no good guys in politics; there are only those who can help your pet causes; that there is no such thing as national interest or the public interest; there is only self-interest and that the Republicans at least have the integrity to finally come out and make it obvious.

This is how democracy ends: when people believe that their vote doesn't mean shit.
  #41  
Old 01-31-2020, 12:48 PM
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People change over time. At one time, Giuliani was a respected prosecutor. Now one wonders how he graduated from high school. Maybe Dershowitz was at one time a respected professor. But he hung out with the wrong crowd. He's an old guy, and like a lot of old guys he spent too much time watching Fox and is now nothing more than a member of the 45 Cult. My jaw hit the floor when he argued that everybody thinks his election is in the national interest and therefore whatever you do in that endeavor is unimpeachable. Polish the turd all you want, but that's what he said.
It's not at all what he said. Not at all. Watch his speech. He never said that nor did he imply it. It is a hit job. You realize that Dersh is a liberal Democrat, right and not a MAGA hat wearing Trump supporter?

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It's not adding accusations -- it's right there in the Articles. That they don't use the specific word "bribery" doesn't make it any less of a crime. They describe in great detail the crimes of Trump, and none of Dersh's arguments make that stuff go away. Dersh just said that the actual content of the Articles should be ignored. He really said that!
Yes, he said that because that is what due process is. If you are going to indict someone for bribery, the indictment says in big words at the top "Bribery." It lists all of the elements of the offense, that on or about X day of month, Defendant did and it lays out how the defendant violated each of the elements required by statute. Indeed, the Dems debated a bribery charge but could not agree upon it.

If you want to charge Wire Fraud, you put "Wire Fraud" at the top of count two and outline the elements of wire fraud and specifically how the Defendant committed the crime.

It's called due process and fair notice. It would be thrown out of any court in the country if an indictment said "Acting Badly" at the top and then told a narrative with about six or seven crimes that prosecutors could possibly squeeze out of it. And all because not even the prosecutors themselves can figure it out so they just throw everything at the wall and see what sticks.

This is exactly what the left is doing in this case. You just know Trump did something wrong but cannot put your finger on it. Oh, you can roll off a statement with scary adjectives, but cannot really prove any of it.

Of course, this is not a criminal trial. But fair notice and specificity in charging is a basic part of common law justice.
  #42  
Old 01-31-2020, 12:58 PM
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Yes, he said that because that is what due process is. If you are going to indict someone for bribery, the indictment says in big words at the top "Bribery." It lists all of the elements of the offense, that on or about X day of month, Defendant did and it lays out how the defendant violated each of the elements required by statute. Indeed, the Dems debated a bribery charge but could not agree upon it.

If you want to charge Wire Fraud, you put "Wire Fraud" at the top of count two and outline the elements of wire fraud and specifically how the Defendant committed the crime.

It's called due process and fair notice. It would be thrown out of any court in the country if an indictment said "Acting Badly" at the top and then told a narrative with about six or seven crimes that prosecutors could possibly squeeze out of it. And all because not even the prosecutors themselves can figure it out so they just throw everything at the wall and see what sticks.

This is exactly what the left is doing in this case. You just know Trump did something wrong but cannot put your finger on it. Oh, you can roll off a statement with scary adjectives, but cannot really prove any of it.

Of course, this is not a criminal trial. But fair notice and specificity in charging is a basic part of common law justice.
This is a political proceeding, not a criminal one. None of this stuff remotely applies to impeachment. And this was a deliberate choice by the Founders. It's ludicrous to suggest that "abuse of power", if proven to the satisfaction of the House and Senate, is not an impeachable offense.
  #43  
Old 01-31-2020, 01:03 PM
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Crystallnacht? Not impeachable.
Trail of tears? Not impeachable
The Great Terror? Not impeachable
Final Solution? You must be kidding. That is the epitomy of a politician making changes he thinks are in the public interest. Get out of here with that shaming, you liberal hack!

I'm so proud today.
  #44  
Old 01-31-2020, 01:13 PM
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If this is the argument, then it would seem to mean that you can't judge a President's decision making by the motivations that the President claims, since those motivations are always only part of the calculus for why he did what he did; no matter what justification the president provides, there's also the ('entirely sensible') determination as to how it helps the President maintain popularity/win an election.

Therefore, you are begging for others to come in and provide context by discussing their conversations with the President, viewpoints on the President's actions, and the impact on these decisions.

In other words, if Dershowitz is arguing that it is ridiculous to impugn a President that you don't like just because he made decisions that benefited him, then it is equally ridiculous to exonerate a President because he or his supporters assure us that he had the country's interest at heart.

Instead, we should be ignoring that and hearing from all of the people who had concerns, raised questions, and sounded the alarm so that we can hear their perspective and, only then, decide if their views have merit.

To take your charity donation example:
You donate $10 million to a charity. You and your friends all publicly proclaim that it's because you are kind and generous. Your opponents think it's a scam to get out of paying money you owe.

How to reconcile this? Do we just discount the claims of a scam because, even if you are hiding money to avoid debts, you also realize that the charity will be happy to get $10 million? If that be the case, then any criminal, shady, or immoral act is absolvable by pointing out that it benefited somebody, while simultaneously ignoring those it hurt.

Or, since people are proclaiming a bad purpose, do we conclude that there can't possibly be a noble legitimate reason instead? Clearly not; if these people who are impugning your reputation have their own ulterior motives, this might be an illegitimate claim.

What to do? What to do?

I know, and I bet Dershowitz would agree:

Let's call the witnesses who were actually in the room when you decided to make the donation: Did they hear you explain why it was done that way?

Let's review your financial books to see if any of the concerns being raised are fair: Do you actually owe anybody money?

If people are claiming you owe them money, maybe we do need to hear from them: Are they identifying legitimate debts?

Clearly, Dershowitz is saying we need more evidence, we need to hear from the principals involved, and we need to see the paper trail that confirms the reasons that things happened how they did.
Well, you changed the analogy so it doesn't work anymore. Let's try this:

Okay, you agree that the President is in charge of enforcing the laws, right? And you would further agree that people in the opposite political party do not have a four year immunity from prosecution just because it would look bad for the president to investigate them, yes? And you also concede that during investigations you put pressure on people. If you are investigating person X for drug distribution and you catch person Y with drugs, you lean on person Y to get to person X. No problem there, right?

This is straight up what Trump did. But he is being accused of using a quid pro quo to help him win an election.

But wait. We already established that you can investigate your political opponents and that always gives you a person benefit. We've established that you can lean on third parties, through quid pro quo or otherwise to conduct investigations. So what is the problem? I've heard several things:

1) He asked a foreign country to do it.

So what? They are our allies. The Constitution doesn't mandate that he go through the FBI or anyone else.

2) He wasn't reeeeally concerned about corruption?

There was enough there with Biden demanding the special prosecutor looking into Burisma to be fired. And even if you disagree, you are not the president. That's his choice where and what to investigate, and that includes his political opponents.

And if we concede that these things have both political and national policy benefits, it does not matter if Bolton or whoever heard him say something like how this will hurt Biden's chance in the election. Because it will.

That's sort of what Dersh was getting at. If there is an investigation into any Democrat in public life, I'm sure Trump will be very happy. But what does that mean if he is? He would be happy whether the investigation was legitimate or it was a sham.

The thing you should be looking for is not evidence that Trump thought it would hurt Biden, because it certainly would. You should be looking for something along the lines of "I know he didn't do anything wrong, but I'm going to screw with him anyways." That's a corrupt motive, but not one anyone has ever alleged. Because Trump really does believe that the Bidens and the Clinton and Nancy and the like are corrupt. And he is trying to expose that corruption. If you think he is a fool, then elect a different president.

3) This looks like bribery and extortion.

As I've said before, this is like bribery and extortion only in the most superficial way. If this qualifies, then almost all of our foreign policy qualifies. Every criminal plea deal in this country would be bribery and extortion. This label is hysteria.
  #45  
Old 01-31-2020, 01:19 PM
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This is a political proceeding, not a criminal one. None of this stuff remotely applies to impeachment. And this was a deliberate choice by the Founders. It's ludicrous to suggest that "abuse of power", if proven to the satisfaction of the House and Senate, is not an impeachable offense.
I think I said exactly that. But due process applies everywhere, or at least it should.

As noted before "abuse of power" is so meaningless as it could be brought against every president one disagrees with. It would amount to a president serving at the pleasure of Congress. Obama over DACA, Bush over Iraq War, Clinton over Kosovo, Bush I over raising taxes after pledging not to, Reagan over Iran Contra, Carter over energy policy, etc. etc.

The framers did not intend for impeachment to be a roving standard applicable whenever a party thinks they have the votes or are mad enough. It was suppose to be reserved for "treason, bribery, and other high crimes or misdemeanors"

Without simply stating what you believe Trump did, what is a definition of abuse of power that does not cover every political disagreement?

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Originally Posted by drad dog View Post
Crystallnacht? Not impeachable.
Trail of tears? Not impeachable
The Great Terror? Not impeachable
Final Solution? You must be kidding. That is the epitomy of a politician making changes he thinks are in the public interest. Get out of here with that shaming, you liberal hack!

I'm so proud today.
I think many of those things would qualify as "high crimes" and would be impeachable.
  #46  
Old 01-31-2020, 01:21 PM
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But wait. We already established that you can investigate your political opponents and that always gives you a person benefit. We've established that you can lean on third parties, through quid pro quo or otherwise to conduct investigations. So what is the problem? I've heard several things:

1) He asked a foreign country to do it.

So what? They are our allies. The Constitution doesn't mandate that he go through the FBI or anyone else.
It's not credible that a US official seriously interested in corruption by a US citizen would go through another country rather than US law enforcement. We're allowed to use our brains here.

Quote:
2) He wasn't reeeeally concerned about corruption?

There was enough there with Biden demanding the special prosecutor looking into Burisma to be fired. And even if you disagree, you are not the president. That's his choice where and what to investigate, and that includes his political opponents.
This is repeating a proven-false conspiracy theory. The prosecutor was fired because he wasn't looking into corruption, including into Burisma. If Biden was acting corruptly to help Hunter, he would have been helping Shokin, not trying to get him fired.

Quote:
You should be looking for something along the lines of "I know he didn't do anything wrong, but I'm going to screw with him anyways." That's a corrupt motive, but not one anyone has ever alleged. Because Trump really does believe that the Bidens and the Clinton and Nancy and the like are corrupt. And he is trying to expose that corruption. If you think he is a fool, then elect a different president.
There's plenty of evidence of this, shown again and again. There was never a shred of evidence of corruption regarding Biden and Burisma. And it's not credible that Trump, of all people, was concerned about nepotism.

Quote:
3) This looks like bribery and extortion.

As I've said before, this is like bribery and extortion only in the most superficial way. If this qualifies, then almost all of our foreign policy qualifies. Every criminal plea deal in this country would be bribery and extortion. This label is hysteria.
Name a single other instance. It's not credible that Republicans, and you, wouldn't be appalled if Obama had asked Russia to announce an investigation into Romney in exchange for Congressionally approved aid.

Name a single instance of a President asking another country to investigate a political rival. Just one.
  #47  
Old 01-31-2020, 01:32 PM
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I think I said exactly that. But due process applies everywhere, or at least it should.
What "due process" has not been followed? The House explicitly followed the Constitution regarding impeachment. Each step was laid out and has been (or is being) followed.

Quote:
As noted before "abuse of power" is so meaningless as it could be brought against every president one disagrees with. It would amount to a president serving at the pleasure of Congress. Obama over DACA, Bush over Iraq War, Clinton over Kosovo, Bush I over raising taxes after pledging not to, Reagan over Iran Contra, Carter over energy policy, etc. etc.
There's nothing in the Constitution that would have barred this, had enough of Congress agreed. Once again, it's an explicitly political process.

Quote:
The framers did not intend for impeachment to be a roving standard applicable whenever a party thinks they have the votes or are mad enough. It was suppose to be reserved for "treason, bribery, and other high crimes or misdemeanors"

Without simply stating what you believe Trump did, what is a definition of abuse of power that does not cover every political disagreement?
Quite simply, using one's official powers for personal (including personal political) gain when there is no reasonable chance this behavior is meant for the benefit of the country.

Obviously, what differs here (or what the Senators are pretending they disagree on) is that last part -- whether Trump's actions can possibly be reasonably considered to have been meant to benefit the country (beyond his own personal political benefit). It's not credible to me that anyone can consider Trump's words and actions for the last 3 years, and believe that his words and actions regarding this allegation were meant for anyone's benefit but his own. That's not a reasonable belief, any more than believing that a proven serial child molester is attempting to befriend a child due to a desire to improve the child's life.
  #48  
Old 01-31-2020, 01:33 PM
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He said it because he knows that a lot of voters are hopelessly cynical and accept that what he said is essentially true. A lot of voters accept that all presidents are hopelessly corrupt and that probably most in Trump's position would abuse power to ensure their reelection.
I think it's the opposite. I think there's a realization among Republican politicians that the voters are not completely cynical. The politicians must know that even among their base, there are questions being asked like "Sure, this is all a Democratic plot. But you guys are saying it all happened. Now I know Mister Trump is the greatest President this country ever had ... but ... shouldn't he not be breaking the law? Isn't breaking the law ... kinda ... I dunno ... wrong?"

So Dershowitz is giving them an excuse so they can keep on believing. He's telling them that it's okay for Trump to break the law because his motives are good. He's breaking the law but he's doing it for America. So Amen and Fuck Yeah!
  #49  
Old 01-31-2020, 01:33 PM
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As I've said before, this is like bribery and extortion only in the most superficial way. If this qualifies, then almost all of our foreign policy qualifies. Every criminal plea deal in this country would be bribery and extortion. This label is hysteria.
Just so we're clear...

1) The president can ask a foreign country to investigate a US citizen in order to receive congressionally approved aid.

2) The investigation can personally benefit the president.

3) The subject of the investigation need not have actually done anything wrong, as long as the president really deep down thinks they did.

4) The subject of the investigation is not subject to the protections afforded to suspects and criminal defendants per the US constitution.

That's your position?
  #50  
Old 01-31-2020, 01:35 PM
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I think I said exactly that. But due process applies everywhere, or at least it should.

As noted before "abuse of power" is so meaningless as it could be brought against every president one disagrees with. It would amount to a president serving at the pleasure of Congress. Obama over DACA, Bush over Iraq War, Clinton over Kosovo, Bush I over raising taxes after pledging not to, Reagan over Iran Contra, Carter over energy policy, etc. etc.

The framers did not intend for impeachment to be a roving standard applicable whenever a party thinks they have the votes or are mad enough. It was suppose to be reserved for "treason, bribery, and other high crimes or misdemeanors"

Without simply stating what you believe Trump did, what is a definition of abuse of power that does not cover every political disagreement?



I think many of those things would qualify as "high crimes" and would be impeachable.

Those events were never adjudicated. If they were I'm pretty sure they would not be able to assign guilt of any technical crime by current standards. It was a horror, but it would be a bigger job to convict anyone of it. Ask Lamar.

If a white male republican stood in front of you and swore it was OK it would be OK. That's what they do.

Did Dersh make an exception for crimes? It seemed pretty all encompassing, the immunity. Dersh didn't look at crimes anyway. He wanted to circumvent the factual part and end it on his argument, without getting to crimes.
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