A United States senator who is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee spoke harshly against one of President Donald Trump’s legal team members representing him during the ongoing impeachment trial within that legislative chamber.
Sen. Dick Durbin, a Democrat from Illinois, disagreed vehemently with an argument that one of Trump’s lawyer’s, Alan Dershowitz, made on the Senate floor Monday evening.
After revelations came about dealing with allegations from a book set to be published later this year by former National Security Advisor John Bolton, in which he says the president did indeed withhold military aid from Ukraine in order to compel Kyiv to announce an investigation into one of his political rivals, Trump’s legal team took great pains to “goose step” around the issue, ignoring it outright until late into Monday evening.
At that point, Dershowitz argued against the need for Bolton to testify later on in the Senate trial. According to the esteemed former Harvard professor, Bolton’s revelation, even if true, wouldn’t require him to testify, because it wouldn’t render Trump impeachable anyway.
“Nothing in the Bolton revelations, even if true, would rise to the level of an abuse of power or an impeachable offense,” Dershowitz maintained, per reporting from Vox.
“Quid pro quo, alone, is not a basis for abuse of power,” he added. “It’s part of the way foreign policy has been operated by presidents since the beginning of time.”
Dershowitz is right, in part — quid pro quos are often part of negotiations between countries on foreign policy matters. However, rarely, if ever, are they used in order to benefit a president in a political, personal manner, which is what Democratic House managers have argued constitutes an impeachable offense in the Senate trial.
Sen. Durbin wasn’t having it the following morning. On Tuesday, during an interview that appeared on CNN’s New Day program, Durbin tore apart Dershowitz’s argument, addressing him in his academic titling.
.@SenatorDurbin on Trump lawyer Alan Dershowitz claiming nothing in Bolton revelations is impeachable: "Give me a break, professor. You can say that in your classroom, but in the real world…people under oath telling the truth are the best way for us to have an outcome." pic.twitter.com/D0xrk988V3
— New Day (@NewDay) January 28, 2020
“To have [Dershowitz] say to us, ‘don’t bring a witness in, there’s nothing he could possibly say of importance or relevance,’ give me a break, professor,” Durbin opined. “You can say that in your classroom, but in the real world, we believe that people under oath telling the truth is the best way for us to have an outcome in this trial.”
Most Americans side with Durbin rather than Dershowitz. According to an ABC News/Washington Post poll, two-thirds of the American public want witnesses to be heard from at some point in the impeachment trial. Only 27 percent wants the trial to be decided without witness testimony.