Sunday, June 11, 2017

Dershowitz, On Political Witch Hunts

Alan Dershowitz: History, precedent and James Comey's opening statement show that Trump did not obstruct justice

The president can, as a matter of constitutional law, direct the attorney general, and his subordinate, the director of the FBI, tell them what to do, whom to prosecute and whom not to prosecute. Indeed, the president has the constitutional authority to stop the investigation of any person by simply pardoning that person.

Assume, for argument's sake, that Trump had said the following to Comey: "You are no longer authorized to investigate Flynn because I have decided to pardon him." Would that exercise of the president's constitutional power to pardon constitute a criminal obstruction of justice? Of course not. Presidents do that all the time.

Bush pardoned Caspar Weinberger, his secretary of defense, in the middle of an investigation that could have incriminated Bush. That was not an obstruction and neither would a pardon of Flynn have been a crime. A president cannot be charged with a crime for properly exercising his constitutional authority

For the same reason, Trump cannot be charged with obstruction for firing Comey, which he had the constitutional authority to do.

The Comey statement suggests that one reason Trump fired him was because of his refusal or failure to publicly announce that the FBI was not investigating Trump personally. Trump "repeatedly" told Comey to "get that fact out," and he did not.

If that is true, it is certainly not an obstruction of justice.

Nor is it an obstruction of justice to ask for loyalty from the director of the FBI, who responded "you will get that [‘honest loyalty'] from me."


The first casualty of partisan efforts to "get" a political opponent — whether Republicans going after Clinton or Democrats going after Trump — is often civil liberties. Everyone who cares about the Constitution and civil liberties must join together to protest efforts to expand existing criminal law to get political opponents.

Today it's Trump. Yesterday it was Clinton. Tomorrow it could be you.
Clinton lied under oath, and got away with it because 100% of Democrats protected him; Trump has not lied at all, yet even some Republican RINOs want to "get" him for political reasons. The Left would criminalize honest Federalism under the US Constitution. What will remain if that succeeds? Only ungrounded lawless anarchy, and the overt Will To Power with attendant casualties to freedom and human life (historically Lenin's Russia, Mao's China, Pol Pot's Cambodia, Castro's Cuba, Chavez' Venezuela, etc.: the normal fruits of Leftist utopianism).

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