Impeaching President Donald Trump in the final days of his presidency would violate the Constitution, according to legal expert Alan Dershowitz on Newsmax TV.
Democrats are planning to impeach Trump, who addressed a rally of supporters in Washington, D.C, on Wednesday. Later that day, demonstrators protesting the election results attacked the Capitol.
"It's unconstitutional," Dershowitz told host Carl Higbie on "Saturday Report." "I mean, you cannot impeach a president unless he's committed high crimes and misdemeanors and these don't constitute high crimes and misdemeanors, they constitute Constitutionally protected speech.
"You can condemn, you can attack, you can refuse to vote for, you can do all of those things which are politically available to you, but the one thing you can't do is use the law, which is impeachment, on something which is protected by the First Amendment."
In saying the Capitol rioters should be prosecuted for the violence, Dershowitz added the president cannot be blamed for their actions.
"[Impeaching the president] would do more enduring harm to our Constitution than even the horrible rioters did, although they are strongly to be condemned and I’m very glad they're being prosecuted to the hilt," Dershowitz said. "It’s part of the core theory of the First Amendment that you prosecute the actors, you don’t prosecute the speaker.
"The speaker has a Constitutional right to advocate … advocate, not incite … advocate, which is what president Trump did. So, going after the actors, rather than the speaker is the way our Constitution laid it out."
Dershowitz, who has said he would be willing to defend the president should Trump be impeached, expressed long-term effects if the Democrats proceed with their plans.
"The implications for the First Amendment, the implications for the Constitution are grave they go beyond this week, they are forever," he said. "If they are used against Trump, they will be weaponized and used against other presidents in both parties in the future. The detriment of our Constitution."
Dershowitz explained the House can impeach a president "in one day" and then send articles of impeachment to the Senate, where a defendant would be entitled to put on a defense. Of course, the party that controls the Senate would decide the extent of a defense allowed.
"That would violate due process, it would violate core beliefs and presumptions of innocence but this is political and it has become very partisan," Dershowitz said. "The end result would be grave, grave damage to our Constitution for what? To force a president out five, six days, three days before a peaceful transition."
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