Presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) on Monday took a shot at Harvard Law School Professor Emeritus Alan Dershowitz over his legal arguments against the impeachment of President Donald Trump, branding his remarks as “nonsensical.”
“His characterization of the law simply is unsupported. He is a criminal law professor who stood in the well of the Senate and talked about how law never inquires into intent and that we should not be using the president’s intent as part of understanding impeachment,” said Warren, a former Harvard Law School professor, according to The Hill.
“Criminal law is all about intent. Mens rea is the heart of criminal law. That’s the very basis of it. So it makes his whole presentation just nonsensical. I truly could not follow it,” she added.
Earlier Monday, Dershowitz broke down why the two articles of impeachment — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — fall “outside the range of impeachable offenses.”
He argued that impeachment required “criminal-like conduct akin to treason and bribery.”
“This is the key point in this impeachment case… purely non-criminal conduct including ‘abuse of power’ and ‘obstruction of Congress’ [the charges against Trump] are outside the range of impeachable offenses,” he stressed.
As Breitbart News reported:
Dershowitz said that the House impeachment managers had erred in arguing that the general fears of the Framers that a president would abuse his power could be substituted for the criteria written in the text of the Constitution itself, which sought a specific basis for impeachment and removal of judges and presidents.
He then reviewed the debates among the Framers of the Constitution about how impeachment should be handled, noting in particular that James Madison feared the term “Misdemeanors” in “High Crimes and Misdemeanors” would be abused (as had been in the case against President Trump, Dershowitz argued).
He noted that the impeachment power was narrow enough that originally a president could not even be removed for mental and physical incapacity until the 25th Amendment was passed in the 20th century. Dershowitz noted that part of the reason the Constitution left that out was “incapacity” is not criminal.
Warren’s comments came after President Trump’s defense team concluded their second day of arguments against the president’s removal. The legal team argued Monday that Democrats do not have the evidence to charge him with a crime and were employing “politically loaded and promiscuously deployed terms” to turn an un-impeachable offense into one.
The defense team, led by White House counsel Pat Cipollone and Trump’s personal attorney Jay Sekulow, sought to discredit the argument made by Democratic House managers last week, stating the president did not condition the release of military aid to Ukraine on the country announcing investigations into Trump’s political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, and his son, Hunter Biden.
Deputy White House counsel Mike Purpura said “the managers are wrong” about the timeline in which Trump released the aid, saying Trump released military aid to Ukraine on Sept. 11 and met with Ukrainian President Voldomyr Zelensky later that month because his concerns had been “addressed in the ordinary course.”
Purpura said Trump decided to release the aid because his concerns about Ukrainian corruption were eased, not because he was “caught” by the House — which had launched an investigation into the matter.
Kenneth Starr, a key figure in the impeachment of former President Bill Clinton, said the current impeachment trial differed from those of former Presidents Richard Nixon and Clinton because Trump has not been charged with a crime.
“Were crimes alleged in the articles in the common law of presidential impeachment? In Nixon, yes. In Clinton, yes. Here, no,” he said.
Former Florida attorney general and member of Trump’s legal team Pam Bondi outlined the concerns around Hunter Biden’s involvement in Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma.
“When the House managers gave you their presentation when they submitted their brief, they repeatedly referenced Hunter Biden and Burisma… They referenced Biden or Burisma over 400 times. And when they gave these presentations they said there was nothing to see, it was a sham,” Bondi said. “This is fiction.”
“All we’re saying is that there was a basis to talk about this, to raise this issue, and that is enough,” she noted. “Burisma was so corrupt that George Kent said he intervened to prevent USAID from cosponsoring an event with Burisma.”
The UPI contributed to this report.