ABC chief anchor George Stephanopoulos was thrilled to hear Alan Dershowitz — who has often defended President Trump regarding the Russia probe — predict that special counsel Robert Mueller's report will be "devastating" to the president. But as he's often done, the famous Harvard Law professor disappointed the network with some important qualifiers.
Speaking with Stephanopoulos on "This Week" Sunday, Dershowitz said that Trump's legal team is already preparing for the special counsel's final report, which he predicted would be "devastating."
"I think the report is going to be devastating to the president, and I know that the president's team is already working on a response to the report," he said. When the report is finally released by the new attorney general, "who has the authority to decide when and under what circumstances to make it public," Dershowitz said, "it will be made public probably with a response along side," the president's team likely characterizing the report as "political" and providing a refutation. "Then the American public will have to decide it's credibility," he added.
In response, Stephanopoulos, smiling ear to ear, exclaimed, "For you to say it's 'devastating' is really something."
ABC was so excited about the moment that it tweeted out the exchange (below).
However, Dershowitz followed up the comment with a clarification, which took some of the thrill out of his prediction for ardent Trump critics.
"When I say devastating, I mean it's going to paint a picture that's going to be politically very devastating. I still don't think it's going to make a criminal case," said Dershowitz, in comments not included in the clip, but noted by ABC online.
Dershowitz also frustrated Stephanopoulos' line of questions earlier in the conversation, when the anchor suggested that Jerome Corsi and Roger Stone could "perhaps become a witness" against Trump.
"Not a witness," said Dershowitz, emphatically, referencing Corsi. "Again, he's a guy who's a Birther, he's a conspiracy theorist. He's not going to be a witness. ... As a defense attorney, I love when they put on people like Corsi and Manafort — even when it's corroborated. They're so much better off not putting on these questionable witnesses and using their information without them, if they can."
Watch the exchange below via ABC:
Last week, Trump submitted written answers to questions by Mueller regarding the Russian election interference investigation. According to multiple reports, Corsi is currently is working out a plea deal with Mueller, as have several other "questionable" witnesses, as Dershowitz described them.
Pressure to wrap up the probe has escalated after Trump asked Jeff Sessions to step down as attorney general and appointed as Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, who has been publicly critical of the probe.