Alan Dershowitz, a lawyer on the president’s impeachment defense team, said just a few years ago that he believed Donald Trump had engaged in corruption and would likely continue to be corrupt if he took office.
In a Trending Today USA radio show interview from 2016, unearthed by CNN’s KFILE, the Harvard law professor emeritus discusses Trump and his Democratic opponent for president at the time, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
When asked about the Democratic candidate’s family charity, The Clinton Foundation, for which she faced accusations of possible impropriety, Dershowitz said it was nothing compared to Trump’s misconduct.
“When you compare that to what Trump has done with Trump University, with so many other things, I think there’s no comparison between who has engaged in more corruption and who is more likely to continue that if elected president of the United States,” Dershowitz said.
“So I think what we’re doing is we’re comparing, we’re saying, look, neither candidate is anywhere close to perfect, let’s vote for the less bad candidate.”
When asked for comment on his past remarks, Dershowitz told CNN: “I was campaigning for Clinton. That’s what I believed at the time based on media reports. I didn’t know Trump. I knew Clinton.”
It’s not the first time Dershowitz has fallen victim to his own past comments since joining Trump’s legal team. Days ago, NBC noted that the lawyer called Trump a “destabilizing and unpredictable candidate” who “openly embraces fringe conspiracy theories peddled by extremists” in his 2016 book.
He clarified to NBC that the views in his book were just “typical campaign rhetoric.”
“I would not repeat that characterization today having met him,” he told the network.
Last week, the veteran defense lawyer “retracted” his old views on impeachment after CNN dug up a 1998 interview in which he declared that there “certainly doesn’t have to be a crime” when President Bill Clinton faced impeachment. That view contradicts his current claims that “without a crime, there can be no impeachment.”
During an appearance Tuesday on CNN, Dershowitz parried with the network’s chief legal analyst, Jeff Toobin, over a New York Times article picking at his defense strategy. The op-ed, penned by Harvard Law School assistant professor Nikolas Bowie, supported Dershowitz in saying impeachment requires a crime ― but argued “that belief hardly supports the president’s defense or Mr. Dershowitz’s position.”
“President Trump has been accused of a crime. Two in fact: “abuse of power” and “obstruction of Congress,’” Bowie wrote.
Dershowitz cited the piece in his debate Tuesday with Toobin, arguing that the article “agrees with me” despite stating he was wrong overall. “And that’s why it makes his argument so much stronger,” Dershowitz said.
Toobin fired back: “The best you can do is quote a scholar who thinks you’re wrong?”
View the full discussion between the two and host Anderson Cooper below.