On Tuesday morning, attorney Alan Dershowitz, who was appearing on CNN with host John Berman to discuss his new book, The Case Against Impeaching Donald Trump, took issue with newly-announced Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s statement that “dastardly” behavior could be enough to impeach a president.
The exchange began with Berman noting an article Kavanaugh wrote in 2009. Berman stated, “Brett Kavanaugh has written extensively about investigating and prosecuting a president in an article in the Minnesota Law Review in 2009. One of the things he says is, ‘The indictment and trial of a sitting president would cripple the federal government, rendering it unable to function with credibility in either the international or domestic arenas.’”
Dershowitz agreed with Kavanaugh’s statement, noting that according to the Constitution, a president can only be prosecuted after he’s been impeached and after he’s left office. He added that the framers of the Constitution rejected a proposal to make maladministration, rather than a criminal action, an impeachable offense.
Berman then quoted Kavanaugh saying, “If the president does something dastardly, the impeachment process is available.”
Dershowitz responded, “He’s dead wrong. He should read the Constitution, and I think when he does read the Constitution, and when he reads my book, and I will send him a copy of it, he will see I’m right and he’s wrong. Dastardly is not a criteria for impeachment. If you allow dastardly to be a criteria for impeachment, then you really create a lawless process. What does dastardly mean? Who defines dastardly?”