Naturally, the Left is hyperventilating over President Trump’s decision to fire James Comey as FBI director.
From absurd conspiracy theories like the contention that the FBI was on the verge of a ‘big break’ on Russian collusion to criticisms of Trump’s timing (as if there ever would have been a good time), the president simply cannot win.
Perhaps the most common liberal argument is that Trump is somehow “obstructing justice” by firing Comey, as if Comey’s dismissal will somehow bring the FBI investigation train to a grinding halt, as if there weren’t thousands of other agents and officials conducting business as usual without the need for the apparently omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent James Comey to hold all their hands at once.
But it won’t, and there are, and liberal attorney Alan Dershowitz has a hefty dose of common sense for Trump’s critics, if only they would listen.
In Washington Examiner op-ed, Dershowitz acknowledges the strong opinions on the issue, but contends there is “absolutely no basis” to accuse the president of a crime for “exercising his statutory and constitutional authority to fire Comey.”
That’s because, according to Dershowitz:
“It simply cannot be a crime for a public official, whether the president or anyone else, to exercise his or her statutory and constitutional authority to hire or fire another public official. For something to be a crime there must be both an actus reus and mens rea – that is, a criminal act accompanied by a criminal state of mind. Even assuming that Trump was improperly motivated in firing Comey, motive alone can never constitute a crime. There must be an unlawful act. And exercising constitutional and statutory power cannot be the actus reus of a crime.”
Dershowitz calls out both Republicans for their “lock her up” cries as well as Democrats for wanting to accuse President Trump of a crime for doing something completely legal. Both want to use “criminal law as a way of demonizing their political enemies.”
“So let’s put this nonsense behind us and not criminalize policy differences as extremists in both parties have tried to do,” Dershowitz writes. “The criminal law should be used as the last resort against elected officials, not as the opening salvo in a political knife-fight.”
“The debate over the propriety of the president’s actions, about which I have opined repeatedly, should continue, but let’s take the allegations of criminal obstruction of justice out of this important debate. There is more than enough fodder for a debate over the merits and demerits of the president’s actions without muddying the waters with absurd charges of criminality.”
Dershowitz finishes with a call to action for both parties.
“Partisanship seems to have no limits these days. Both parties are equally at fault, as are extremists among the public and within the media. It is getting harder and harder to have a nuanced debate about complex political issues. Everything is either evil or good; nothing has elements of both. Actions either deserve criminal indictment or the Nobel Prize. Nobody benefits from this kind of discussion. So let’s agree to disagree about important issues, but let’s not distort the debate with extremist slogans like “lock her up” or “obstruction of justice.” We are better than that.”
Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of BizPac Review.
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