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Dershowitz Questions Purpose of Special Counsel — ‘What Is the Crime?’

Thursday on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360,” Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz called into question the purpose of the Department of Justice naming Robert Mueller as a special counsel to investigate Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election.

Dershowitz argued Mueller’s appointment would benefit Trump given that “collaborating with the Russians” to get elected wasn’t illegal and Mueller’s role would be to investigate illegalities.

“[I] think he will be the beneficiary of the special prosecutor,” Dershowitz said. “A special prosecutor is supposed to investigate a crime and most of the things that have been leveled at the Trump administration are not criminal acts. Collaborating with the Russians to get yourself elected — not a criminal act. Terrible, morally wrong, but not criminal. The same thing is true with the leaking of the information to the Russians.”

Host Anderson Cooper and Dershowitz’s fellow panelists Jeffrey Toobin and Carl Bernstein argued the investigation should proceed, but Dershowitz insisted there wasn’t a criminal statute about what Trump and his campaign have been accused.

“Let’s assume that that’s true — show me the criminal statute,” he said. “I still sit here as a civil libertarian. I don’t want us ever to become what Stalinist Russia became when Stalin was told by Lavrentiy Beria, ‘Show me the man and I’ll find you the crime.’ What is the crime?”

Cooper said the question wasn’t whether or not it was illegal collusion or just collusion but if it occurred, to which Dershowitz said that wasn’t something over which Mueller would have jurisdiction.

“[T]hat is a political issue, but that doesn’t give Mueller jurisdiction,” he added. “Mueller has no jurisdiction to explore whether he made political mistakes, did terrible things, engaged in wrongdoing. Only criminal acts.”

Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor

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