In case you missed it, Trump defense lawyer Alan Dershowitz argued on the Senate floor Wednesday that the president can do anything he wants to win re-election, as long as he believes his re-election is in the public interest.
Or something like that:
The Daily Beast reports: During Wednesday’s question and answer session in the impeachment trial, Dershowitz—who previously had claimed he wasn’t a “full-fledged member” of President Donald Trump’s impeachment defense squad—answered a question submitted by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) on whether it matters if Trump dangled military aid to Ukraine in return for a probe into potential election rival Joe Biden. (Cruz argued Tuesday night on Fox News that, in fact, it doesn’t matter if Trump engaged in such a quid pro quo with Ukraine.) Arguing that there are three possible motives for a president to engage in a quid pro quo in foreign policy—personal interest, public interest, and financial interest—Dershowitz argued that a president withholding money to a foreign country so as they will help in his election would be within the public interest, which is not impeachable.“Every public official that I know believes that his election is in the public interest, and mostly you’re right,” Dershowitz declared. “Your election is in the public interest, and if a president does something which he believes will help him get elected in the public interest, that cannot be the kind of quid pro quo that results in impeachment.”
Even by Dershowitz standards, the argument was stunning, according to legal experts.
“It is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard,” former Watergate prosecutor Nick Akerman told the Washington Post.
“He argued that if the president shot someone in the public square but believed it was in the public interest, it wouldn’t be an impeachable offense,” said J.W. Verret, a law professor at George Mason University. “But dictators always believe that what they are doing is in the best interest of the public — that’s the essence of an autocracy.”
On The Late Show, Stephen Colbert called Dershowitz’s argument “a logical turd.”
“It’s hard to find the largest corn kernel of logical fallacy,” Colbert said.
“Only the public gets to decide what’s in the public interest,” he added. “It’s ‘we the people,’ not ‘you the douchebag.'”
Daily Show host Trevor Noah also took aim at Dershowitz.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we have finally arrived,” Noah said. “First, it was ‘there was no quid pro quo.’ Then, it was ’maybe there was a quid pro quo, but it was to help the country, not Donald Trump. And now, it’s like, ’Hey man, the Donald’s gonna do what the Donald’s gonna do, you little bitch asses need to shut the hell up.’”
By Thursday morning, #DershowitzLogic was trending on Twitter: