Dershowitz Complains that the Media Made Him Look Like an Idiot by Reporting What He Said

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Washington Post, Dershowitz claims media ‘willfully distorted’ his remarks:

Trump defense lawyer Alan Dershowitz pushed back Thursday against criticism of his remarks about the president’s actions, arguing that the media had “willfully distorted” his remarks.

“Taking advantage of the fact most of their viewers didn’t actually hear the senate Q and A, CNN, MSNBC and some other media willfully distorted my answers,” he said in a tweet.

He added that members of the media had “characterized my argument as if I had said that if a president believes that his re-election was in the national interest, he can do anything. I said nothing like that, as anyone who actually heard what I said can attest.”

During Wednesday’s question-and-answer session, Dershowitz, a Harvard Law emeritus professor, had declared, “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.”

Can’t Anybody Here Play This Game?

cant anybody here

Jonathan Chait further elucidates the Dershowitz argument:

Alan Dershowitz, one of the members of President Trump’s legal team, has an odd habit of using the reductio ad absurdum technique to his own arguments. Dershowitz argues that “abuse of power” is not a category of behavior that can be impeachable. He admits he previously believed the opposite, and that the vast majority of constitutional scholars believe the opposite, but claims to have delved into it and discovered that they are all wrong. Dershowitz has conceded that even if Trump handed Alaska over to Vladimir Putin, that would not be an impeachable offense.

Speaking in the Senate trial Wednesday, he managed to express his own principle in an even more absurd fashion. “If a president does something which he believes will help him get elected in the public interest,” he said, “that cannot be the kind of quid pro quo that results in impeachment.” So any abuse of presidential power designed at least in part to aid his own reelection is not impeachable.

What if the president were to pressure foreign governments to imprison members of the opposing party if they pass through their territory? Or withhold disaster aid from a governor unless that governor announces an investigation of the president’s rival? Offer pardons to anybody who kills his opponent? If it helps the president win, then you can’t impeach.

And That’s the Best They’ve Got?

Sauve qui Peut

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To the little collection of articles in the immediately preceding post, let’s add this very useful perspective by a criminal lawyer: Ken White, Manafort, Cohen, and Individual 1 Are in Grave Danger.

I spoke of several salient aspects of the circumstances in which we find ourselves at the end of this week: the increasing stench; the midterm numbers that indicate a well advanced, but still on going, process of cleavage between the hard core Trump cultists and everyone else; and the calculus of interest that will motivate the behavior of folks like William P. Barr.

Added to these are two additional considerations. One is that, with every passing day, it becomes clearer that Trump’s mental state is such that he cannot act rationally to preserve himself. I suppose at one point in his life he was able to act in his own best interest, but he has lost any such capacity.

In consequence, at a time of great legal peril, Trump’s words and actions deprive himself of the effective assistance of legal counsel.

That, in turn, means that people who would have been willing to support an evil but clever person must now abandon ship, lest the captain’s insanity result in their own death by drowning.

To Illustrate …

Alan Dershowitz, who is an intelligent but very strange person, continues to try to insert himself into the situation. Professor Dershowitz, who strove to teach me criminal law many years ago, plainly derives ecstatic delight in robust lawyering that gets guilty people off the hook. His long list of satisfied clients includes Mike Tyson, Patty Hurst, Claus von Bulow, O.J. Simpson, and Jeremy Epstein.

Quite understandably, Dershowitz looks at this rogue’s gallery of former satisfied clients, and grasps that Donald J. Trump fits in nicely with this crew. Plainly, Dershowitz wants to reprise his role as villain’s heroic defense counsel for at least one last time.

But there is this difference. Simpson and Epstein and von Bulow had the sense to get out of the way and let defense counsel do his work. With Trump, Dershowitz has no spark of evil intelligence with which to work. You can help an evil client. You cannot help an uncontrollable client.

And all Trump has left is poor Rudy Guiliani. Actual lawyers do not violate the Rules of Professional Conduct by making public statements regarding the nightmarish quality of the process of preparing interrogatory responses, or about their inability to control their client.

A real lawyer doesn’t promise to deliver a detailed rebuttal of the charges against his client, and then publicly excuse his inability to produce the rebuttal memo.

If you have they type of person as your lawyer, you do not have effective legal counsel.

Trump does not have effective legal counsel.

And, now, everyone with half a brain can see that Trump does not have effective legal counsel.

Sauve qui peut.

The Smile on the Face of the Tiger

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In 2008, Saint John McCain, desperate to win by any means necessary, put Sarah Palin on the ticket. But her audience was unsatisfied by a token crazy person. In the fullness of time, they demanded an insane person at the top of the ticket.

After the Tea Party revolution of 2010, Paul Ryan made the best of a bad deal and welcomed them in, pretending that his agenda was their agenda.

When you decide to ride a tiger, you should not be surprised at the unfortunate result. When you see a crazy mob, and your reaction is to get in front of the mob and try to lead it, you should know that the mob will probably run over you and stomp you to death.

Exit Paul Ryan. And, Paul, don’t let the door hit you where the Good Lord split you.

Many talking heads have sunned their livers on the topic of Ryan’s exit. Yesterday, one of the more astute taking heads observed that the most immediate effect of Ryan’s retreat will be on donations from the Ritchie Riches who have been supporting Republican branded politicians. Paul Ryan, the talking head allowed, has been a prodigious fundraiser for Republican candidates for the House of Representatives. Ryan’s retreat sends a strong signal that a blue wave is coming, and that more donations to Republican House candidates are useless.

The talking head went on to predict that, now, the Ritchie Riches will probably switch the monetary support to Republican candidates for the Senate.

Good luck with that. As of right now, the Republican brand is doomed. See, for example, Five Americans explain the burst of enthusiasm for Democratic candidates and causes. Like the rest of us, including your humble scrivener, the thinking of these five representative voters is imperfect and their analysis is incomplete and imprecise. But, like the Oxford student who did not love Doctor Fell, this they know, and know full well: Donald Trump is bad news, and if they voted for him, they wholeheartedly regret it.

Others, of course, remain Trump supporters. Republican branded empty suits will find it pretty much impossible to win with them, because their craziness alienates the types of voters described in the preceding paragraph. On the other hand, Republican branded empty suits cannot win without them. Accordingly, they will not win. This is a corollary of a more general rule: if a thing cannot happen, then that thing will not happen.

Meanwhile, the choices for the Ritchie Riches come down to two: either try to buy enough Democratic branded politicians to advance your agenda, or start a new business-oriented party and call in the “Center Party” or the “Moderate Party”–or maybe, inspired by the Monty Python skit, they’ll call it the “Sensible Party.”

I have predicted a coming three-party system. I stand by that prognostication.

And, by the way, remember how I said it would be Dershowitz stepping up as Trump’s legal counsel? Lookin’ good. See Trump turns to Dershowitz as Mueller probe escalates.

My reasoning was Sherlockian: if Dershowiz is willing and even eager to represent Trump, and if no other marginally qualified lawyer is willing to represent Trump, then it’s going to be Dershowitz.