MSNBC panel has collective meltdown over Alan Dershowitz impeachment defense

An MSNBC panel covering the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump repeatedly attacked constitutional law expert Alan Dershowitz.

MSNBC host Chris Hayes and others gathered for the network’s special trial coverage turned their ire against the Harvard Law School professor who delivered a constitutional defense of the president before the Senate on Monday.

(Source: MSNBC)

“I would not have thought that the president can’t be impeached for something that isn’t a crime would have been sort of a hill they were going to die on here,” Rachel Maddow began, reacting to Dershowitz’s primetime defense in which he told House impeachment managers that they had picked “dangerous” and “wrong” charges to bring against the president.

“He went from the great weight of legal authority and analysis to a distinctly minority position,” former Department of Justice attorney Chuck Rosenberg claimed of Dershowitz, a lifetime Democrat who has frequently reminded his critics that he voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016.

“And in fact, one of the people that he now stands in opposition to in holding that you need a crime or crime-like behavior in order to impeach is a fellow named Alexander Hamilton who had something to say about this in Federalist 65,” Rosenberg added.

Dershowitz “himself admitted tonight, he is in the minority position. We heard a lot of very thoughtful academics in the House explain precisely why abuse of power and trust ought to be impeachable. I think that’s where the better argument lies,” he continued before Maddow interjected to mock the choice by Republicans to position Dershowitz’s defense at that time.

“It is remarkable that this is really the apex of their case. They’re doing this in primetime on Monday,” she said.

“They spent almost no time — they spent almost none of their hours on Saturday so they could finish up with Dershowitz in primetime on Monday night. They think this is the biggest audience they’re going to get. It was this sort of novel and experimental legal theory that impeachment isn’t what you think it is, and therefore we should never use it,” Maddow argued.

Former Senator Claire McCaskill joined the pile on.

“I don’t think Harvard’s happy tonight,” the former Missouri Democrat announced. “You know, Harvard holds a place in the legal community as one where the academics are excellent, and the professors are thoughtful.”

Hayes turned the focus on the legal theory Dershowitz used in his argument that the two articles of impeachment — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — are “outside the range of impeachable offenses.”

“The weakest argument he made I thought was just because they allege specific crimes within the articles of impeachment, that doesn’t work because the article of impeachment is not alleging a crime. It’s alleging abuse of power. But underlying that abuse of power, they lay out the crimes,” Hayes told the MSNBC panel.

“And so it really I thought it was sad. He is on a very lonely island,” he added.

“I thought — it was essentially a kind of heterodox dissident interpretation of what the sort of scholarship says on this, given to you by Alan Dershowitz… I will say this. It was at least a legal argument,” Hayes said, calling out Dershowitz for having “the legal arguments with legal citations.”

“So he was making an argument — I thought it was a tangentious one, but the legal arguments with legal citations and all that stuff and not quite the level of weird bad faith disingenuous trolling that other people have done,” he remarked.

Twitter users blasted the MSNBC panel and mocked their inability to process the facts presented by Dershowitz.



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