One of the favorite attack lines of the Democrat House Managers and their more biased media supporters was a mischaracterization of Professor Alan Dershowitz's statement: “if a president did something that he believes will help him get elected — in the public interest — that cannot be the kind of quid pro quo that results in impeachment.” An example of the left’s reaction to this quote:
“This is what you hear from Stalin,” said CNN contributor Joe Lockhart, who served as White House press secretary under President Bill Clinton. “This is what you hear from Mussolini, what you hear from authoritarians, from Hitler, from all the authoritarian people who rationalized, in some cases genocide, based what was in the public interest."
Professor Dershowitz responded in an op-ed entitled I never said a president could do anything to get elected:
What I said was in response to the House impeachment managers' argument, which was that any action by a politician motivated in part by a desire to be reelected was, by its nature, corrupt. . . .
I gave another [related] hypothetical: President Obama promised to bomb Syrian military targets if Syria's President Assad used chemical weapons. He broke his promise. What it if turns out that one reason he broke his promise was that his political advisers warned him that bombing Syria would lose him votes among the hard left? My point is that these are complex issues and the Framers did not intend impeachment for mixed-motive decisions that contain an element of personal partisan benefit.
I’m certain that the senators and those other Americans who watched the entire Q-and-A understood the point I was making: Just because a politician has mixed motives for his actions — including the desire for reelection (which he or she believes is in the national interest) — doesn’t prove that politician is corrupt. Even Congressman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) understood it and responded that there are cases in which mixed motives can be criminal if one of the motives was corrupt.
Dershowitz also explains why he made this point and why it is important:
Under the House managers' overbroad theory of motivation — the theory to which I was responding — Joe Biden, who I admire and like, would be guilty even if a small part of his motivation for having a Ukrainian prosecutor fired was to protect his son or the Ukrainian company that appointed his son as a paid board member. I believe Joe Biden is a patriot who cares deeply about the national interest, but he also cares deeply about his family. Under the House managers' dangerous theory, he would have to be psychoanalyzed to determine the role each motive may have played in an entirely lawful action. The House managers' theory takes us down a dangerous road.
Ask Kimberly Strassel tweets:
It is something to watch Ds so distort the powerful @AlanDersh argument about self interest and presidencies. They ought to thank him for trying to protect a future D president from similar claims.https://t.co/HKNH8Er6nh via @WSJ— Kimberley Strassel (@KimStrassel) January 30, 2020
RNLA members can listen to a private briefing from Professor Dershowitz or another one from Republican Counsel Steve Castor by emailing [email protected]. Lastly, RNLA is hosting a Washington, DC luncheon with one of the House Republican leaders in the fight against impeachment: Rep. Mark Meadows.