Tags: Trump Administration | alan dershowitz | trump | indictment | obstruction

Alan Dershowitz: 'Nobody Will Ever Indict' President for Obstructing Justice

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By    |   Wednesday, 17 May 2017 11:43 AM

President Donald Trump most likely the legal right to fire former FBI Director James Comey, but the complex and difficult issues surrounding Comey's dismissal means "nobody will ever indict the sitting president for obstruction of justice," Harvard Law School Professor Emeritus Alan Dershowitz said Wednesday.

"Under the unitary executive theory, the president has the right to tell the FBI what to do," Dershowitz told CNN's "New Day" anchor Chris Cuomo, invoking a theory that holds the president possesses the power to control the entire executive branch of the government.

"Thomas Jefferson managed the trial against Aaron Burr. President [Lyndon B.] Johnson interacted with the Justice Department and FBI."

However, he continued, the fact that Trump is president cuts both ways, Dershowitz continued.

"He has the power to tell them what to do," said Dershowitz, but since the president also was the only person who could have fired Comey, it's not clear if he obstructed justice if he suggested to Comey to "go soft" on former National Security Agency Director Michael Flynn, as Comey has suggested and written in a memo.

"This is a complex and difficult issue, which we will never reach," said Dershowitz.

Dershowitz also appeared on MSNBC Wednesday morning, where he commented that since Watergate, there have been walls of separation erected between a president, the Justice Department and the FBI.

"Those are internal investigation rules, not on questions of law," he said. "I think on balance it's going to be a very hard sell to say."

CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin argued on the "New Day" program, however, that if Comey's memo says what The New York Times and CNN reported, "it certainly sounds like obstruction of justice, because if you are in charge of the FBI, as the president is, and say to the director of the FBI 'let it go. End this investigation,' that is an interference with the due process."

Dershowitz joked that show anchor Chris Cuomo has been reading law books, when he should have been watching "The Godfather."

"You know, if the godfather walks over and says 'I would like for you to think about going soft on my friend,' that's very different from an ordinary guy," Dershowitz said. "The president is 'The Godfather.' He has the power to fire the director. A soft request from the president is very different than a soft request from somebody else."

However, a president does have the constitutional right to direct the FBI, said Dershowitz.

Cuomo asked if Trump's behavior with Comey was "worthy of political argument for impeachment," and Dershowitz said there are several steps that must be taken first.

"I think you have three steps," said Dershowitz. "First, appoint an independent commission, [like] 9/11, to get all of the facts. The independent commission can then maybe suggest an independent or special prosecutor who can look at whether or not there are indictable facts.

"I think then the Republicans will think about articles of impeachment. That may not happen until after the mid-term elections, when those are a referendum on the presidency of President Trump.

Dershowitz also said Wednesday he does not believe there are tapes of Trump's meeting with Comey, even though Trump indicated in a tweet there could be.

"If there were tapes, the White House would not create a credibility contest with Comey because they will lose that one," said Dershowitz.

"They were assertive saying it didn't happen because they know there are no tapes."

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President Donald Trump most likely the legal right to fire former FBI Director James Comey, but the complex and difficult issues surrounding Comey's dismissal means "nobody will ever indict the sitting president for obstruction of justice"...
alan dershowitz, trump, indictment, obstruction
574
2017-43-17
Wednesday, 17 May 2017 11:43 AM
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