Fox News host Chris Wallace on Sunday confronted Alan Dershowitz, a lawyer on President Donald Trump’s defense team, over his apparent about-face regarding impeachment.
Dershowitz now claims that a crime is necessary for impeachment — not simply “abuse of power,” which is one of the House’s articles of impeachment against Trump. But he had a different view during the impeachment of former President Bill Clinton.
Wallace played the tape to refresh Dershowitz’s memory.
“We want to listen to a couple of the people who … argued exactly the opposite of what you’re arguing today,” Wallace said, before playing a clip of Dershowitz during Clinton’s impeachment trial.
“It certainly doesn’t have to be a crime,” Dershowitz says in the clip, which is at the 8:22-mark in the video above. “If you have somebody who completely corrupts the office of president, and who abuses trust and who poses great danger to our liberty, you don’t need technical crime.”
After Wallace played the video, Dershowitz argued that in Clinton’s case, “the issue was not whether you need a crime” because the president had already been charged with perjury.
Wallace shot back: “We just put the sound bite up where you said it doesn’t have to be a crime.”
Dershowitz, a former law professor, then argued that “academics change their minds all the time” after research.
“It’s also what lawyers do … depending on the facts of the case and the side they’re arguing,” Wallace replied.
The tape Wallace played also included a clip of Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) explaining to his fellow lawmakers in 1999 that impeachment “doesn’t have to be a crime. It’s just when you start using your office and you’re acting in a way that hurts people, you’ve committed a high crime.” Graham has been a staunch defender of Trump.
The House launched an impeachment inquiry into Trump last year after the president withheld congressionally approved military funding from Ukraine and asked its president to investigate former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and his son. Trump was impeached for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, and the General Accountability Office has since determined it was illegal for the Trump administration to withhold the military funding for Ukraine.
Check out the video above. The section on impeachment and crime begins at 7:55.
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