Dershowitz: Impeachment Is a 'Motion-to-Dismiss' Case, But There Could Be a Problem With That

Posted: Jan 21, 2020 7:30 AM
Dershowitz: Impeachment Is a 'Motion-to-Dismiss' Case, But There Could Be a Problem With That

Source: AP Photo/John Locher

Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz said Monday that if impeachment were in a court of law, President Trump’s lawyers should petition for a motion to dismiss given the charges Democrats have laid out against him are not crimes.

"This is a motion-to-dismiss case, in which, if it were a criminal case and a person were charged with dishonesty ... the first thing you do is make a motion to dismiss because dishonesty isn't a crime," he told Fox News’s Laura Ingraham.

The problem with that, however, is how quickly it would wrap up the impeachment trial, which may not be something the American public wants, he said.

"Obstruction of Congress is not an impeachable offense. Abuse of power is not an impeachable offense. A motion to dismiss in a perfect world would be ideal," he explained, "but do the American public want to see an end to the trial so quickly? I think that becomes a political issue."

Dershowitz, a liberal Democrat who is on Trump’s legal defense team as a “constitutional representative,” also warned about the dangers of heading down a path where presidents’ motives are scrutinized to create any impeachable offense “out of looking at the worst possible motives they might have had.”

“You judge a president by his or her actions, and you judge a president by the effect and impact. You don’t judge him by looking into the depths of his mind and trying to figure out whether somewhere in the back of his mind he was trying to get some advantage to his electability,” he said. “That would be so dangerous.”

Dershowitz said over the weekend that the impeachment case Democrats have brought against President Trump over the abuse of power and obstruction of Congress is the Founding Fathers's worst nightmare.

“Those are both the kinds of things that led Hamilton and Madison -- talk about nightmare -- to regard that as the greatest nightmare, number one, giving Congress too much power to allow the president to serve at the will of Congress,” he told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. “And number two, as Hamilton put it, the greatest danger is turning impeachment into a question of who has the most votes in which House, and rather than having a consensus and a broad view of impeachable conduct.”