Constitutional lawyer Alan Dershowitz argued in his presentation in the Senate on Wednesday that if a president believed his re-election was in the "public interest," then whatever quid pro quo he might be accused of is moot. Democrats and the media mocked the Harvard law professor and tried to discredit him. According to Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), he and his colleagues couldn't roll their eyes hard enough while Dershowitz was speaking.
The lawyer and Trump defense team member responded on Twitter with a few clarifications about the motives that may drive a president to act the way he or she does.
What I said was that there are 3 broad categories of relevant motive:— Alan Dershowitz (@AlanDersh) January 30, 2020
1) pure national interest ( help the military)
2) pure corrupt motive ( get a kickback) And 3) mixed motive (help the national interest in a way that helps your reelection efforts )
For his third point - that helping own's re-election effort is not necessarily akin to corruption - Dershowitz used the policies of the 16th president of the United States as precedent.
I gave as an example mixed motive President Lindon’s decision to send troops home from the battlefield to Indiana so that they would vote for his party. He genuinely believed that his party’s victory in Indiana was essential to the war effort, but it also helped him politically.— Alan Dershowitz (@AlanDersh) January 30, 2020
Dershowitz shared a few more excerpts from his argument. For example, he asked the jurors to consider a what if scenario. What if President Obama decided to break his promise to bomb Syria for their chemical weapons attack because it would have cost him Democratic votes?
The lawyer used these hypotheticals to conclude that the Framers "did not intend impeachment for mixed motive decisions that contain an element of personal partisan benefit."
"Critics have an obligation to respond to what I said, not to create straw men to attack," Dershowitz tweets in closing.
Some Republican senators like Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) defended the lawyer to explain that "he was talking about rooting out corruption." And that, she said, is in the public interest.
Democrats have been hammering for more witnesses, but that effort appears to have been effectively stopped. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell appears to have the votes needed to block that effort, end the trial, and acquit the president.