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Thread: Impeachment Standards: Dershowitz and Philbin

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    Impeachment Standards: Dershowitz and Philbin

    Alan Dershowitz repeatedly asserted today that presidents cannot be impeached for abuse of power, equating it with "maladministration". Dershowitz also said that actions with "mixed motives" cannot be impeached -- if a president can assert a national interest motive then it is not impeachable, even if it also serves a personal motive. And because, Dershowitz argued, every politician sees their re-election as a national interest, even actions taken for the purpose of personal political benefit confer this "mixed motive" protection.

    Deputy Counsel Pat Philbin later answered a question regarding Trump's professed willingness to receive information against a political opponent from a foreign government and use it for re-election, not altering the DOJ/FBI. He answered that receiving such information would not be a campaign violation or an impeachable act.

    Between the two of them, the President's team has now argued that Trump could be offered and take information from foreign sources, such as stolen emails or false allegations, not alert the FBI, and use them to win re-election. Doing so, Philbin argues, would not be a criminal violation and, according to Dershowitz, would not be impeachable -- even if the President altered US policy in anticipation or receipt of that information in what we would traditionally call a bribe.

    To Trump supporters and people advocating against impeachment, I ask: is this an appropriate standard you want? Is it even a plausible standard of presidential behavior? Do you not see the danger and the absurdity?

    --Sam
    "I wonder about the trees. / Why do we wish to bear / Forever the noise of these / More than another noise / So close to our dwelling place?" — Robert Frost, "The Sound of Trees"


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    tWebber Tassman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sam View Post
    Alan Dershowitz repeatedly asserted today that presidents cannot be impeached for abuse of power, equating it with "maladministration". Dershowitz also said that actions with "mixed motives" cannot be impeached -- if a president can assert a national interest motive then it is not impeachable, even if it also serves a personal motive. And because, Dershowitz argued, every politician sees their re-election as a national interest, even actions taken for the purpose of personal political benefit confer this "mixed motive" protection.

    Deputy Counsel Pat Philbin later answered a question regarding Trump's professed willingness to receive information against a political opponent from a foreign government and use it for re-election, not altering the DOJ/FBI. He answered that receiving such information would not be a campaign violation or an impeachable act.

    Between the two of them, the President's team has now argued that Trump could be offered and take information from foreign sources, such as stolen emails or false allegations, not alert the FBI, and use them to win re-election. Doing so, Philbin argues, would not be a criminal violation and, according to Dershowitz, would not be impeachable -- even if the President altered US policy in anticipation or receipt of that information in what we would traditionally call a bribe.

    To Trump supporters and people advocating against impeachment, I ask: is this an appropriate standard you want? Is it even a plausible standard of presidential behavior? Do you not see the danger and the absurdity?

    --Sam
    What Dershowitz is saying is that if a President thinks his re-election is in the public interest, anything he does in pursuit of his re-election is legal. This of course is ludicrous nonsense.

    https://edition.cnn.com/2020/01/29/o...ine/index.html
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sam View Post
    Alan Dershowitz repeatedly asserted today that presidents cannot be impeached for abuse of power, equating it with "maladministration". Dershowitz also said that actions with "mixed motives" cannot be impeached -- if a president can assert a national interest motive then it is not impeachable, even if it also serves a personal motive. And because, Dershowitz argued, every politician sees their re-election as a national interest, even actions taken for the purpose of personal political benefit confer this "mixed motive" protection.

    Deputy Counsel Pat Philbin later answered a question regarding Trump's professed willingness to receive information against a political opponent from a foreign government and use it for re-election, not altering the DOJ/FBI. He answered that receiving such information would not be a campaign violation or an impeachable act.

    Between the two of them, the President's team has now argued that Trump could be offered and take information from foreign sources, such as stolen emails or false allegations, not alert the FBI, and use them to win re-election. Doing so, Philbin argues, would not be a criminal violation and, according to Dershowitz, would not be impeachable -- even if the President altered US policy in anticipation or receipt of that information in what we would traditionally call a bribe.

    To Trump supporters and people advocating against impeachment, I ask: is this an appropriate standard you want? Is it even a plausible standard of presidential behavior? Do you not see the danger and the absurdity?

    --Sam
    So the DNC used foreign sources and corrupt sympathetic government officials to get a FISA warrant largely based on falsehoods to investigate the Trump campaign. Is that even a plausible standard for presidential campaigning? Never mind the fact that Dershowitz went through a list of past presidents that did similar things, including Washington, Adams and Lincoln. Politics is not bean bag Sam...
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    tWebber Mountain Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sam View Post
    Between the two of them, the President's team has now argued that Trump could be offered and take information from foreign sources, such as stolen emails or false allegations...
    Hold on a minute, who said anything about receiving "stolen emails or false allegations"? That wasn't an example given by Trump's legal team as far as I know.

    So how about this: first accurately present their argument without any Shifty Schiff style "embellishments", and then I will answer your questions about whether or not it's an absurd standard.
    Some may call me foolish, and some may call me odd
    But I'd rather be a fool in the eyes of man
    Than a fool in the eyes of God


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    Quote Originally Posted by Tassmoron View Post
    What Dershowitz is saying is that if a President thinks his re-election is in the public interest, anything he does in pursuit of his re-election is legal. This of course is ludicrous nonsense.

    https://edition.cnn.com/2020/01/29/o...ine/index.html
    False, Dershorwitz never said "anything [a politician] does in pursuit of his re-election is legal". What he actually said:

    "Every public official that I know believes that his election is in the public interest. And mostly you're right. Your election is in the public interest. And if a president did something that he believes will help him get elected, in the public interest, that cannot be the kind of quid pro quo that results in impeachment."

    Note the implication: there are other kinds of quid pro quos that should result in impeachment, but this is not one of them.

    Seems Dersh made a solid argument if people are having to twist his words to answer it.
    Some may call me foolish, and some may call me odd
    But I'd rather be a fool in the eyes of man
    Than a fool in the eyes of God


    From "Fools Gold" by Petra

  8. Amen NorrinRadd amen'd this post.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mountain Man View Post
    False, Dershorwitz never said "anything [a politician] does in pursuit of his re-election is legal". What he actually said:

    "Every public official that I know believes that his election is in the public interest. And mostly you're right. Your election is in the public interest. And if a president did something that he believes will help him get elected, in the public interest, that cannot be the kind of quid pro quo that results in impeachment."

    Note the implication: there are other kinds of quid pro quos that should result in impeachment, but this is not one of them.

    Seems Dersh made a solid argument if people are having to twist his words to answer it.
    What a crock.
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    tWebber Mountain Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oxmixmudd View Post
    What a crock.
    "Weak point. Yell louder."

    Some may call me foolish, and some may call me odd
    But I'd rather be a fool in the eyes of man
    Than a fool in the eyes of God


    From "Fools Gold" by Petra

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mountain Man View Post
    False, Dershorwitz never said "anything [a politician] does in pursuit of his re-election is legal". What he actually said:

    "Every public official that I know believes that his election is in the public interest. And mostly you're right. Your election is in the public interest. And if a president did something that he believes will help him get elected, in the public interest, that cannot be the kind of quid pro quo that results in impeachment."

    Note the implication: there are other kinds of quid pro quos that should result in impeachment, but this is not one of them.

    Seems Dersh made a solid argument if people are having to twist his words to answer it.
    So the president can only be impeached for a quid pro quo that they believe WONT help them get re-elected? Cant the president just say they believed it was going help them?

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    tWebber Mountain Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Watermelon View Post
    So the president can only be impeached for a quid pro quo that they believe WONT help them get re-elected? Cant the president just say they believed it was going help them?
    As Dershowitz said elsewhere, a quid pro quo is only illegal if the "quo" itself is illegal. Since seeking reelection is not illegal, then a quid pro quo that might benefit a candidate's reelection chances is not illegal.
    Some may call me foolish, and some may call me odd
    But I'd rather be a fool in the eyes of man
    Than a fool in the eyes of God


    From "Fools Gold" by Petra

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    tWebber NorrinRadd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sam View Post
    Alan Dershowitz repeatedly asserted today that presidents cannot be impeached for abuse of power, equating it with "maladministration".
    In the absence of evidence to the contrary from the Framers, I tend to agree. I have never seen Turley address this point, and IMO that is a weakness in Turley's disagreement with Dersh.


    Dershowitz also said that actions with "mixed motives" cannot be impeached -- if a president can assert a national interest motive then it is not impeachable, even if it also serves a personal motive. And because, Dershowitz argued, every politician sees their re-election as a national interest, even actions taken for the purpose of personal political benefit confer this "mixed motive" protection.
    I don't think this was Dersh's strongest point. IMO it would have been stronger to argue that in cases that plausibly have mixed motives, there must be overwhelming evidence in order to conclude that a nefarious motive was dominant.

    Deputy Counsel Pat Philbin later answered a question regarding Trump's professed willingness to receive information against a political opponent from a foreign government and use it for re-election, not altering the DOJ/FBI. He answered that receiving such information would not be a campaign violation or an impeachable act.

    Between the two of them, the President's team has now argued that Trump could be offered and take information from foreign sources, such as stolen emails or false allegations, not alert the FBI, and use them to win re-election.
    Were the "stolen emails" and "false allegations" actually part of the question to Philbin, or are you Schiffing those in?

    Doing so, Philbin argues, would not be a criminal violation and, according to Dershowitz, would not be impeachable -- even if the President altered US policy in anticipation or receipt of that information in what we would traditionally call a bribe.

    To Trump supporters and people advocating against impeachment, I ask: is this an appropriate standard you want? Is it even a plausible standard of presidential behavior? Do you not see the danger and the absurdity?

    --Sam
    I agree that if it is not criminal, it should not be impeachable.

    But the larger point is that this is desperate misdirection on your part, since these hypotheticals are not pertinent to the case at hand.
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