Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz says he would rush to President Trump’s defense should the House move to impeach him for a second time.
Dershowitz, a Harvard Law School professor emeritus and celebrity lawyer who was part of Trump’s legal team during his first U.S. Senate impeachment trial, told the Herald he’s up for defending the president again.
“I would do it,” Dershowitz said. “I think his speech was protected by the First Amendment.”
House Democrats are racing to impeach Trump before he leaves office on Jan. 20. They are reportedly preparing to introduce an article as soon as Monday charging the president with “willfully inciting violence against the government of the United States.”
Democrats have blamed comments Trump made at a rally outside the White House on Wednesday for inciting the rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol later that afternoon in a violent siege that left five dead.
A draft of the article being circulated among lawmakers and in the media says Trump “willfully made statements that encouraged — and foreseeably resulted in — imminent lawless action at the Capitol.”
While Dershowitz said he “wouldn’t have given” the speech Trump delivered outside the White House and “wouldn’t have advised him to give it,” he believes it’s protected by the First Amendment.
And he said that by pushing impeachment, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer “are doing more to endanger the Constitution than even the thugs who invaded the Capitol, who will be appropriately punished.”
“I think it’s unconstitutional and dangerous,” Dershowitz said.
Trump condemned the violence on the Capitol grounds in a video released Thursday night, saying he was “outraged by the violence, lawlessness and mayhem.”
“The demonstrators who infiltrated the Capitol have defiled the seat of American democracy,” Trump said in the brief video that’s since been erased from his Twitter profile as part of the social media platform’s permanent suspension of his account.
As calls grow for Trump’s ouster, some Republicans have said there just isn’t enough time left in the president’s term. The soonest an impeachment trial could begin under the current Senate calendar would be just before President-elect Joe Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration.
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