Letters to the Editor: Stop distorting Alan Dershowitz’s defense of President Trump

Alan Dershowitz, one of President Trump's impeachment lawyers, leaves a federal courthouse in New York on Dec. 2.
Alan Dershowitz, one of President Trump’s impeachment lawyers, leaves a federal courthouse in New York on Dec. 2.
(Richard Drew / Associated Press)

To the editor: Please, if you’re going to criticize Alan Dershowitz’s defense of President Trump at the Senate impeachment trial, please acknowledge three things. (“Convict and remove President Trump — and disqualify him from ever holding office again,” editorial, Jan. 31)

First, he is a longtime liberal Democrat and eminent Harvard Law School professor who voted for Hillary Clinton. Second, his argument that criminal-like conduct is required for impeachment finds support in the “high crimes and misdemeanors” language of the Constitution.

Third, you have misconstrued his statement that the president can do anything he “believes will help him get elected in the public interest.” Dershowitz has criticized the media for intentionally distorting this statement, saying, “I did not and categorically do not believe a president can do anything if he thinks that his election is in the national interest.”


Dershowitz’s position is that if a president’s conduct is not criminal, it is not impeachable if his conduct has a “mixed motive” of national and personal political interest.

Robert C. Wright, San Diego


To the editor: After all the posturing, smearing of dedicated civil servants, promotion of Russian propaganda and the twisting of constitutional norms, the most honest defense of the president’s behavior came not from Trump’s impeachment lawyers or outraged members of Congress, but from White House acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney: “Get over it.”

So, the Senate got over it.

Grab women by the genitals — get over it. Russia, if you’re listening — get over it. The media are the enemy of the people — get over it. Article II lets me do anything I want — get over it. Well-documented abuse of power — get over it. Checks and balances — get over it.

When the history books tell the story of how the presidency became so authoritarian, it won’t be because of Russia or China or angry mobs in the street or a military coup. The blame will fall squarely on the U.S. Senate in 2020.

But hey, get over it.

Dan Radlauer, Los Angeles



To the editor: First, Trump managed to escape former Justice Department special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation virtually unscathed. Then, his lawyers mangled the Senate impeachment trial into an unrecognizable mess, with no witnesses, no documents, and no obvious purpose at all.

And now, with acquittal by the Senate all but assured, Trump is about to transform America’s republic of three equal branches into a shaky, two-legged monarchy.

If I wasn’t so horrified, I’d be thoroughly impressed.

Lisa Harmon, Yakima, Wash.