Wonky Watch: Dershowitz’s ‘public interest’ defense

Alan Dershowitz, left, and Rep. Adam Schiff, right, respond to questions from Senators Wednesday. (Screenshots/Senate Recording Studio)
Alan Dershowitz, left, and Rep. Adam Schiff, right, respond to questions from Senators Wednesday. (Screenshots/Senate Recording Studio)
Posted January 30, 2020 at 8:42pm

A line of questioning that senators kept circling back to in Thursday’s session of the Senate court of impeachment was an argument made by President Donald Trump's attorney Alan Dershowitz more than 24 hours earlier.

The lawyer was answering a question from Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, when he told the lawmakers-turned-jurors that a quid pro quo, by the president, is not impeachable if the president believes it “will help him get elected, in the public interest.” Shortly after, Rep. Adam B. Schiff, D-Calif., was given the opportunity to respond directly to the preceding arguments.

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We've distilled Dershowitz’s argument and Schiff’s response to just under seven minutes.