Over the past week, liberal legal expert Alan Dershowitz -- who was a prominent member of President Donald Trump's defense against impeachment -- has been talking up the likelihood that he will sue CNN, alleging that they deliberately misinformed viewers about his legal views by selectively editing his testimony before the U.S. Senate, and using it to trash him.
Although Dershowitz explicitly stated in the same testimony that breaking the law to aid in his reelection could be grounds for a President to be impeached and removed from office, a number of CNN shows only played portions of his words that made it sound like he finds it acceptable for a President to do "anything," including law-breaking, to get reelected.
CNN morning anchor John Berman was most aggressive in trashing Dershowitz as he used words like "nuts," "bizarre," and "crazy" to describe Dershowitz's testimony. CNN analyst John Avlon used the word "insanity" in his reaction as he and Berman discussed the matter on the January 30 New Day show.
During special coverage on January 29, liberal CNN contributor Joe Lockhart likened the views to those of mass murderers Joseph Stalin and Adolf Hitler, and tied such thinking to "genocide."
Liberal guests were also allowed to make outrageous claims about the testimony, with Harvard Law professor Nikolas Bowie suggesting that, by Dershowitz's logic, the President could use the military to round up the black population to stop them from voting against him in an election.
But, as Dershowitz gave a five-minute answer on the issue of when a quid pro quo would be an impeachable act, early on in his analysis he declared that "the only thing that would make a quid pro quo unlawful would be if the quo were in some way illegal," and, in his previous testimony from January 27, he had already stated that an illegal act could be an impeachable offense.
January 29, 2020
6:54 p.m. Eastern
DANA BASH (to Senator Mark Warner (D-VA)): Dershowitz argued -- you heard this obviously -- essentially that the President can do anything he wants for his reelection as long as it's also in the public interest.
ERIN BURNETT: I can't believe Alan Dershowitz would take that seriously if I heard that from someone else. I mean, the translation is: "Do whatever you need to do to win office. If you think you're the best person for that office, it's okay."
JOE LOCKHART, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Having worked in about a dozen campaigns, there always is the sense that, "Boy, if we win, it's better for the country." But that doesn't give you license to commit crimes or to do things that are unethical. So it was absurd. And what I thought when I was watching it was: "This is un-American. This is what you hear from Stalin -- this is what you hear from Mussolini -- this is what you hear from authoritarian Hitler, all the authoritarian people who rationalized in some cases genocide based on what was in the public interest. It was startling, and I still can't believe he went on the floor of the Senate and made that argument.
January 30, 2020
NIKOLAS BOWIE, HARVARD LAW SCHOOL: That is such an irresponsible argument because think of what that would mean. That would mean that if the President were to order the military to start rounding up black people because he's afraid of how they're going to vote for a Democrat in the next election, that so long as the President is motivated by the national interest, so long as the President is motivated to get reelected, then that's fine -- then the President isn't corrupt. That can't be right.
Or so long as the President takes a bribe, if the bribe is to use his official positions to assassinate a Senator, then so long as a President is doing that because he thinks the Senator's voting record is out of the national interest, then that's okay. That is such an irresponsible and ludicrous argument.