Harvard Law School professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz said Tuesday that former FBI Director James Comey's memo on his February conversation with President Donald Trump "has to be seen" because "tone is everything."
"For a president – and tone is everything – that's why the memo has to be seen and that's why, if there are tapes, we should hear them," Dershowitz told Anderson Cooper on CNN.
"If the president politely suggests to the director of the FBI: 'He's a good guy, [Michael] Flynn. I would appreciate if you let him off the hook. I fired him.'
"That doesn't become" a case of obstruction of justice," he said.
The New York Times reported that Comey wrote the memo shortly after a Feb. 14 meeting with Trump, which came a day after Flynn resigned as national security adviser.
The president had fired Flynn amid questions about his disclosures of his Russian contacts to Vice President Mike Pence.
"I hope you can let this go," Trump told Comey, according to the memo, the Times reported. The newspaper said an unnamed associate of Comey read parts of the memo to a Times reporter.
"He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go."
However, Dershowitz said legal precedent favors Trump as commander-in-chief.
"When it's the president of the United States, and we have separation of powers, the courts are going to resolve these issues in favor of the president, if what he did was lawful.
"If he destroyed tapes. If he refused to comply with a subpoena, that's one thing," he told Cooper. "But there's going to be erring on the side of presidential power and presidential authority."
He also doubted whether Trump had tapes of any discussions with Comey.
"I don't think the White House is stupid enough to create a credibility contest with Comey," Dershowtiz said. "Comey's telling the truth here.
"There's no doubt about that.
"But if there's no tapes, the president would not have created this credibility dispute."
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