President Donald Trump assured supporters in a speech in 2018 that "What you're seeing and what you're reading is not what's happening."
The quote was a microcosm of the Trump administration's larger goal of discrediting the free press to avoid accountability.
Now, a member of the President's impeachment defense team—Alan Dershowitz—is using the same logic (or lack thereof) to walk back an absurd argument he made on the Senate floor on Wednesday
Dershowitz argued that because a President believes his or her reelection is in the public interest, any powers of the presidency they use to secure their reelection is unimpeachable.
Dershowitz's exact words were:
"If a president does something which he believes will help him get elected in the public interest, that cannot be the kind of quid pro quo that results in impeachment."
Now, in a rambling Twitter thread, Dershowitz is claiming this is not what he said.
They characterized my argument as if I had said that if a president believes that his re-election was in the natio… https://t.co/Qcmr0agp5O— Alan Dershowitz (@Alan Dershowitz) 1580395382.0
What I said was that there are 3 broad categories of relevant motive: 1) pure national interest ( help the militar… https://t.co/NUH7snktiI— Alan Dershowitz (@Alan Dershowitz) 1580398186.0
I said that the 3rd was often the reality of politics and that helping one's own re-election efforts cannot — by it… https://t.co/rO2jjlMQSD— Alan Dershowitz (@Alan Dershowitz) 1580398205.0
I gave as an example mixed motive President Lindon’s decision to send troops home from the battlefield to Indiana s… https://t.co/dJmd1Yqbkx— Alan Dershowitz (@Alan Dershowitz) 1580398367.0
I gave another hypothetical. President Obama promised to bomb Syrian military targets if Assad used chemical weapo… https://t.co/Uy728EX9Lo— Alan Dershowitz (@Alan Dershowitz) 1580398647.0
My point is that these are complex issues and that the Framers did not intend impeachment for mixed motive decision… https://t.co/wCKOJTN8hq— Alan Dershowitz (@Alan Dershowitz) 1580398679.0
Anyone watching my answer would know that it was in response to the manager’s claim that any electoral benefit woul… https://t.co/ug1yBCE3Dm— Alan Dershowitz (@Alan Dershowitz) 1580398783.0
I pointed out how open ended that argument is because politicians honestly believe that their reelection helps the national interest. (MTC)— Alan Dershowitz (@Alan Dershowitz) 1580398832.0
I did not say or imply that a candidate could do anything to reassure his reelection, only that seeking help in an… https://t.co/vI4DgR8LEz— Alan Dershowitz (@Alan Dershowitz) 1580398843.0
Under the House Managers quid pro quo theory — to which I was responding — any president who took any action with t… https://t.co/evGK1xH3Yv— Alan Dershowitz (@Alan Dershowitz) 1580403224.0
That’s what Schiff said. Under that “standard" we would have no presidents. Please respond to my actual arguments n… https://t.co/Exet3Yjo1h— Alan Dershowitz (@Alan Dershowitz) 1580403250.0
Presidents cannot do anything illegal in order to get re-elected. But nor can their lawful behavior be turned into… https://t.co/OEP07m0tp4— Alan Dershowitz (@Alan Dershowitz) 1580406072.0
The so-called context Dershowitz provided didn't achieve his intended outcome.
Arrested Development voiceover: He said something that was almost exactly like this. https://t.co/cNcDBQwcS3— Liz Mair (@Liz Mair) 1580398064.0
This is pure bait and switch b.s. He says the outrageous and false thing, in a very official and professional and… https://t.co/kaeYcXmU6a— Roaring Success (@Roaring Success) 1580414695.0
But that's ... exactly ... what he said last night https://t.co/AVBl2LU2bo https://t.co/zgNN5TUg4k— Nicole Lafond (@Nicole Lafond) 1580403843.0
You understand that there is video, right? Of what you said? https://t.co/hkw09cyPqv— Don Drennon 🇺🇸 (@Don Drennon 🇺🇸) 1580414059.0
Amazing how we all heard the same thing which you apparently didn't say https://t.co/Dp4dOBJVZM— rabia O'chaudry (@rabia O'chaudry) 1580399142.0
That's what you said, though. If you think you were misunderstood, then you should attempt to clarify. But that's n… https://t.co/bA9sewcm2y— Kara Calavera (@Kara Calavera) 1580402279.0
Dershowitz's argument has been roundly criticized by scholars, former lawmakers, and virtually everyone outside of Trump's tangled web.
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