Renowned Harvard professor and legal mind Alan Dershowitz sparked quite a reaction during a CNN segment on Wednesday night after he proclaimed that former FBI director James Comey’s prepared testimony indicates that President Donald Trump didn’t commit any crimes.
Dershowitz argued that Trump “could have told Comey, ‘You are commanded, directed to drop the investigfation against [Gen. Michael] Flynn,'” but noted that he didn’t do so, according to Comey’s prepared testimony that was published on Wednesday.
The famed attorney also said Trump could have pardoned Flynn as well, but also chose not to do so. In the end, he concluded that there appears to be no criminal activity on the part of the president, particularly when it comes to obstruction of justice claims.
Critics have alleged that Trump improperly encouraged Comey to drop an investigation into Flynn’s purported ties to Russia.
“You cannot have obstruction of justice when the president exercises his constitutional authority to pardon, his constitutional authority to … fire the director of the FBI, or his constitutional authority to tell the director of the FBI who to prosecute, who not to prosecute,” Dershowitz said. “So, let’s get out of the weeds and look at the big constitutional question.”
When CNN’s Anderson Cooper pushed back a bit, Dershowitz doubled down and said that, even if Trump wanted to impede — or actually did impede — the investigation, doing so is within his constitutional powers.
“You cannot say it’s a crime.” he added. “It’s simply not a crime.”
CNN legal analyst Jeffery Toobin disagreed fervently, proclaiming that presidents can’t use the FBI to further their own interests. Watch the back-and-forth below:
Comey testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday morning. Watch it below:
(H/T: IJ Review)