Dershowitz: Even if Bolton Article True, ‘Quid Pro Quo’ Is Not Impeachable

U.S. Senate

Harvard Law School professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz told the Senate impeachment trial Monday evening that even if allegations attributed to former National Security Advisor John Bolton were true, they would not be impeachable conduct.

The Times reported that Bolton had written a draft book in which he said President Donald Trump told him he wanted to condition aid to Ukraine on investigations of “Democrats.”

Dershowitz said, however, that the “quid pro quo” alleged was not impeachable. He argued that impeachment was designed to be used for “criminal-like conduct akin to treason and bribery,” not for vague criteria like the “abuse of power,” which were subjective, and similar to the “maladministration” that the Framers specifically ruled out as a basis for impeachment.

Dershowitz said:

If a president — any president — were to have done what the Times reported about the content of the Bolton manuscript, that would not constitute an impeachable offense. Let me repeat: nothing in the Bolton revelations, if true, would rise to the level of an abuse of power or an impeachable offense. … You cannot turn conduct that is not impeachable into impeachable conduct simply by using words like “quid pro quo” and “personal benefit.”

He then turned to the Democrats:

“I’m sorry, House managers. You just picked the wrong criteria. You picked the most dangerous possible criteria to serve as a precedent for how we supervise and oversee future presidents.”

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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