Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Dershowitz on Corruption

I have reported on the Democratic lust to prosecute Trump, to overturn the election in the name of democracy. And I have noted that, on this matter,  Prof. Alan Dershowitz has been the voice of reason. Since Dershowitz is a life-long liberal Democrat, but also a man of integrity, we pay special attention to his views. More so when they defy the party line about Trump.

Writing for the Hill, (via Zero Hedge), Dershowitz argues against the notion that President Trump should be prosecuted for corruption:

My critics have argued for an extraordinarily broad definition of corruption capable of being expanded to fit nearly everything Trump has done — from firing FBI Director James Comey, to asking him to consider dropping the investigation of General Michael Flynn, to his son’s meeting with Russian surrogates.

Dershowitz is taking on the New York Times. It recently editorialized about Trumpian corruption:

This is the way the New York Times put it in its story about the court’s narrowing the meaning of corruption in the context of federal criminal law: “There was a time when political corruption might have been described — as a former Supreme Court justice once said of pornography — as something you knew when you saw it." In other words, it was in the eye of the beholder rather than in a precise statutory definition.

As for the law, the professor notes that the Supreme Court has addressed the question of corruption:

It ruled that not all political actions that smell or look like corruption can be prosecuted criminally without Congress specifically making such conduct criminal by precisely worded legislation.

As it happens, Dershowitz continued, civil libertarians were happy with the court’s definition. It prevents overzealous prosecutors from attacking their political enemies on dubious or even made-up grounds. In other terms, it protects democracy.

Now many of these same civil libertarians, liberals and even defense attorneys have forgotten how dangerous those bad old days were, and are demanding that President Trump and his family members should be prosecuted for corruption under the most expansive definition of corruption, despite recent court rulings narrowing that open-ended term.

“Just this one time, please. Just let us get Trump.” That is what the fair-weather liberals, civil libertarians, and criminal defense lawyers seem to be saying. “Then, we will return to our principles.”

But, the counselor replies, the law does not work on the “just this one time” exception:

There are no exceptions — no “just this one time.” The law operates on precedent. Today’s exception may become tomorrow’s rule. And even if it doesn’t, it creates a precedent for more exceptions, which may be applied to our side of the political aisle, as Republicans tried to do with Hillary Clinton.

Those who find the law too narrow in its scope, Dershowitz continued, need but craft legislation that changes said scope. That would solve  the problem democratically.


Sam L. said...

Of course, if Republicans were for prosecution of a Democrat... The HORROR!! The horror...

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

While we're investigating the influence of foreign governments on our elections, I'd like to see the lens also focus on impact the House of Saud has had regarding the fundraising,influence-peddling and quid pro quos with members of BOTH parties. That would be interesting, would it not? No corruption to see there!

Anonymous said...

So, to my friends on the Left – and the #NeverTrumpers as well -- do I wish we lived in a time when our president could be “collegial” and “dignified” and “proper”? Of course I do. These aren’t those times. This is war. And it’s a war that the Left has been fighting without opposition for the past 50 years.

So, say anything you want about this president – I get it, he can be vulgar, he can be crude, he can be undignified at times. I don’t care. I can’t spare this man. He fights.

Ares Olympus said...

Dershowitz: “Just this one time, please. Just let us get Trump.” That is what the fair-weather liberals, civil libertarians, and criminal defense lawyers seem to be saying. “Then, we will return to our principles.”

Dershowitz certainly sounds pissed off, with strawman arguments here that starts with bad faith assumptions on the motives of others.

And certainly there is some partisan blindness here, no different than the republicans looking for a crime to hang Bill Clinton, ending with perjury over denial of sexual activity between consenting adults. So as they say, "The crime isn't what you do, but what you do to cover up what to you did."

And I'm still interested in the opposing narratives between Comey and Trump over the content of the private meetings, whether loyalty was requested, whether Trump asked Comey to stop investigating Flynn. It gets hard to believe Comey would lie, and strangely not only did Trump deny these things, he said there would be nothing wrong with that. But since we know one of them is lying, and we know Trump to be a serial liar, in the very least it just reinforced the imagine we have for Trump, and makes more people fear working with him, not knowing what lies he'll tell next, even if they are not illegal.

Anyway I'll agree with Dershowitz it does little good, and much potential harm, for people in positions of authority, whether media or government, to go off the deep end every time Trump says something foolish or mean or wrong. Correcting Trump's fantasy reality is almost impossible, but it seems necessary to keep trying.

The goal should be in the right side of history, and that's the long game.

trigger warning said...

According to Womyn's Studies Professors Dubriwny and Poirot (Texas A&M), history is on the wrong side of history:

"Wittingly or not, these ‘places of public memory’ are likely to mask foundational commitments to white heterosexual male supremacy, class hierarchies, and the systemic violence used to secure them.”
--- Southern Communication Journal, 2017


Ares Olympus said...

TW, good point, the "right side" of history is written by whomever wins. Perhaps that's why Trump (And tiger blood Charlie Sheen) are obsessed with winning.

So far Trump's 36% approval rating in the US and apparently 22% globally. How do you turn around numbers like that?
Pew Research Center’s annual survey on global attitudes toward the United States and its president was released Monday. It found that, across the 37 countries surveyed, a median of just 22 percent had confidence in Trump to do the right thing when it comes to international affairs. Seventy-four percent said they had no confidence in the Republican. Adding insult to injury for the former real estate magnate, global confidence in the man residing in the Oval Office has plummeted since Trump became president.

Actually Trump does have a clear approach to turn around his domestic approval. All he needs is to go back to his original assertion of Health Care as a right for all, and then he can work with leftist Populist Bernie Sanders to get it done. Trump on Healthcare Plan: "I am going to take care of everybody!"

Just think of all the new dynamic economic activity that'll be generated when new businesses no longer have to fund health care for their employees. And $15k/year minimum wage is a lot more affordable for employee and employer if neither has to pay for $10k/year health insurance plans.

Will Trump pivot to his "biggest heart" shtick? Perhaps he will, once the republican party itself starts sharpening their knifes towards impeachment.

James said...

No, history is written by whoever writes it. Whether that's a winner, survivor, speculator, or witness doesn't matter in the sense it must be written. Whether what they write is a reflection of reality is when the argument begins.