Famed celebrity attorney Alan Dershowitz attempted to have it both ways on Sunday morning, arguing on CNN’s State of the Union that while President Donald Trump had tapped him as part of his impeachment legal defense team, he wasn’t really a member.
Two days after it was announced that the retired Harvard law professor had joined other frequent Fox News guests to defend the president in the upcoming Senate trial, Dershowitz defended his recent efforts to distance himself from the Trump legal squad.
“The president listed your name on the press release of his ‘Senate trial counsel’ and you have said that you are not ‘a full-fledged member’ of the legal team, and so which is it?” State of the Union guest host Brianna Keilar asked on Sunday.
“Both,” Dershowitz insisted. “I am a member of the legal team and I am making what could be the most important argument on the floor of the Senate and namely that even if everything that is alleged by the House managers is proven or taken as true, they would not rise to the level of an impeachable offense.”
Keilar wanted to know how it could be “both,” prompting CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin to add that Dershowitz appeared to be trying to elevate himself “as sort of a neutral expert” rather than being the president’s lawyer. Dershowitz countered by asserting he is just there to “present the Constitutional issue” and is not involved in the “day-to-day issues.”
“I want to make it clear, because I am not seeing it clearly, Alan,” Keilar pushed back. “Who hired you?”
“I was asked by the president’s defense team to become of counsel on the specific issue of the criteria of the Constitutional criteria for the impeachment and it is an important issue,” Dershowitz replied. “And I will be making that argument as an advocate and not an expert witness, but I am advocating against impeachment of this president based on the constitutional criteria.”
The CNN host went on to compare Dershowitz’s role to that of “special teams” in football, noting it means you “are still on the team.”
“Fine,” Dershowitz said. “I’m the kicker and I can kick the field goal that wins the game. Fine.”
Toobin pointed out that it appeared that they were “playing semantics games” over Dershowitz’s role, prompting attorney to counter: “You are!”
Moments later, Keilar brought up Dershowitz’s past with notorious billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, noting that he and fellow Trump legal team member Ken Starr helped Epstein score a sweetheart plea deal in Florida years ago.
“You have a number of senators, including the female senators and lot of their constituents who are female who may look at that, and they may not like that association,” the anchor said. “Do you think it is going to backfire?”
“No, they understand that it is pure McCarthyism to hold a lawyer responsible for representing controversial clients under the 6th amendment,” Dershowitz said.
“It is what lawyers do, and should do, and I am proud of my role as a defense lawyer. I did nothing wrong in any of those cases, and I will proceed to make my argument in case without concern for what people think about who I represented in the past.”