Dershowitz Dashes Democrats' Impeachment Hopes

Posted: Jan 11, 2021 8:00 AM
Dershowitz Dashes Democrats' Impeachment Hopes

Source: AP Photo/Richard Drew, File

Harvard Law School professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz said Democrats’ plan to impeach President Trump for a second time over the U.S. Capitol riot will not succeed.

“The case cannot come to trial in the Senate, because the Senate has rules, and the rules would not allow the case to come to trial until, according to the majority leader, until 1 p.m. on January 20th, an hour after President Trump leaves office,” Dershowitz said on Fox News' “Sunday Morning Futures.”

He went on to argue that the Constitution doesn’t allow the impeachment of a former president.

“And the Constitution specifically says, ‘The President shall be removed from office upon impeachment.’ It doesn’t say the former president. Congress has no power to impeach or try a private citizen, whether it be a private citizen named Donald Trump or named Barack Obama or anyone else,” he said.

Law professor Jonathan Turley called President Trump’s remarks at the Save America rally last week “reckless and wrong,” but argued the address “does not meet the definition for incitement under the criminal code" because he never actually called for violence or to breach the Capitol Building.

He argued the "snap impeachment" Democrats are now demanding would do significant harm to the Constitution.

"The damage caused by the rioters this week was enormous, however, it will pale in comparison to the damage from a new precedent of a snap impeachment for speech protected under the First Amendment," Turley said. "It is the very threat that the framers sought to avoid in crafting the impeachment standard. In a process of deliberative judgment, the reference to a snap impeachment is a contradiction. In this new system, guilt is not doubted and innocence is not deliberated. This would do to the Constitution what the violent rioters did to the Capitol and leave it in tatters."

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Dershowitz said all Democrats can do is impeach Trump in the lower chamber.

“It will not go to trial. All the Democrats can do is impeach the president in the House of Representatives — for that all you need is a majority vote,” he noted. “You don’t have to take evidence and there are no lawyers involved.”

Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Sunday the House will move forward with impeachment.

“In protecting our Constitution and our Democracy, we will act with urgency, because this President represents an imminent threat to both,” Pelosi said. “As the days go by, the horror of the ongoing assault on our democracy perpetrated by this President is intensified and so is the immediate need for action."