Tribe: The Choice is Now Between Witnesses and Dictatorship

While I disagreed with Harvard Professor Alan Dershowitz on this theory of impeachment, I recently praised his presentation in the Senate as a cogent and well-constructed case for the defense. Clearly, his colleague Harvard Professor Laurence Tribe does not share my view. He denounced Dershowitz’s argument as “remarkably absurd and extreme and dangerous.” In this presentation, Dershowitz defended his own switch on the issue of the prerequisite of criminality for impeachment by noting that Tribe had also switched his view. Tribe went further to declare that the choice was now between witnesses and “dictatorship.” Even as someone who favors witnesses, I fail to see the imminent danger of dictatorship on the issue. Indeed, I understand the reluctance over witnesses aside from any desire to protect Trump. I believe senators have a legitimate interest in not creating precedent allowing the House to impeachment on such a slipshod and incomplete record. That is why I proposed an alternative solution.

On MSNBC’s “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell,” Tribe stated that, if the President succeeds in blocking witnesses, “You will harm not only the country today but you will leave a lesson for future presidents that will be terrible to the Republic. It will not be a constitutional democracy but it will be a dictatorship.”

The use of O’Donnell’s show to warn of authoritarianism was curious since the host recently declared that his show would not invite Trump defenders because they are all “liars.”

Tribe however had particularly caustic remarks for Dershowitz as advancing an “absurd” argument that “it doesn’t matter if a president uses the vast powers of his office to shake down an ally and help an adversary in order to get dirt on an enemy and corrupt an election.” He spoke directly to Senators and added “So I implore you, if you are inclined to vote to acquit this president, don’t do it on the ridiculous basis that abuse of power, because it’s not a statutory crime and is rather open-ended, is not a basis to remove.”

One senator who may not be inclined to listen is Mitch McConnell who Tribe has called “McTurtle” and a “flagrant d**khead.”

I have previously discussed my disagreement with Dershowitz’s theory, including what I believe is a misreading of the trial of Andrew Johnson and defense of Justice Benjamin Curtis. This however is a good-faith academic dispute and I felt that Dershowitz raised some interesting point. While I was not persuaded, it is unfair to characterize them as “absurd.”

59 thoughts on “Tribe: The Choice is Now Between Witnesses and Dictatorship”

  1. This country doesn’t have time for a “good-faith academic dispute”. Why should witnesses and evidence matter when the outcome is rigged? Most Americans following this process – love Trump or hate him – want it over with fast. We’ve reached the point where witnesses…and even Truth…is irrelevant. Even if we get a witness trial, how will the media treat it when the New Hampshire primary is the real story? That’s why the GOP will lose NOTHING by just sweeping this farce out of the Senate in one quick vote.

    1. No one prevents a witness who can exonerate him from testifying. Absolutely. No. One.
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      Of course not. But consider the delay of such testimony until a time when it’s revelation is more advantageous – like closer to the election

    2. No one prevents a witness who can exonerate him from testifying. Absolutely. No. One.

      🙂 Really? Then what would you say to Schiff and Nadler who did just that?

      I’ll wait.

      1. Really? Then what would you say to Schiff and Nadler who did just that?
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        What testimony that exonerates Schiff and Nadler was prevented?

        1. There is No honest way to exonerate Bull Schiff & No Nads Nadler. Both are serial liars & have been shown so. Not to mention what they said when Clinton was impeached that is 180′ away from their attitudes now.

          SamFox

          1. Schiff & Nadler are liars. And total frauds. One America News Network talked to Ukrainian witnesses who took the Schiff-Nadler & left wing jive about Mr. Trump & Ukraine apart. Not to mention all the times the lie was told that there is evidence against Trump/Russia “in plain sight” that Muller never corroborated.

            https://www.theunitedwest.org/?s=one+america+news+investigates+ukrainian+witnesses+destroy+schiff%27s+case

            Part Three of the OANN report is at the top of the list. Part One is at the bottom.

            SamFox

      2. Olly, you mean like the secret basement star chamber? Where Mr. T & Repubs weren’t allowed any defense? Plus the one set of documents that Bull Schiff won’t release? All the cherry picked leaks from the star chamber?

        If the House wanted witnesses, they had ample time to get them. Any objections & executive privilege could & would have been expedited by the courts. But oh no! The dimms were in such a hurry…then they paused for a month in their ‘big hurry’.

        Now the dimms want the Senate to do the house’s job. I hope they don’t vote for witnesses. That would set BAD precedent. The dimms ONLY have power to impeach. They are supposed to bring their evidence WITH THEM when they show up at the Senate to charge an impeachment.

        The dimms are tacitly saying “We don’t have enough evidence! Senate, help us out wouldja?” The Senate has no obligation to investigate Mr. Trump. The Senate isn ONLY supposed to try the case. If the house didn’t do their job, tough!! It’s on THEM!

        SamFox

        1. Precisely. Not only did the House Democrats prevent witnesses and counsel for the defense, they failed to get fact witnesses for the prosecution.

          Not so coincidentally, this level of abuse and incompetence is represented everywhere they hold power.

    3. He does not have to prove innocence, or did you miss that part in school and the Senate is basically the jury that votes on the House’ case. End of story, that is the way it is laid out in the Constitution.

      1. He does not have to prove innocence,
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        Of course he doesn’t. but many voters will decide that refusing to prove his innocence (given how easy that would be) is good reason not to vote for Trump.

        1. jinn, Mr. Trumps defense team filled in the ‘rest of the story’ regarding the cherry picked narrative the dimms invented. When the Trump defense team presented their defense of Mr. T. the team proved that Mr. T was 100% lawful & that the Constitution gave Mr. T all the power he needed to temporarily withhold funds. And the Trump team showed that the phone call was 100% legit.

          The Trump team filled in the context around the accusations the dimms are trying to peddle.

          0bama is the one who acted on behalf of Putin.

          Where the two face duplicitous dimms when 0bama didn’t send ANY weapons to Ukraine & stopped a missile defense shield that would have protected Ukraine? 0bama sent NO weapons, Trump did. Where were the hypocrites during Fast & Furious, Benghazi, the Uranium 1 sale, the IRS being weaponized against conservatives & so on. Trump sent in aid when the attack on our embassy occurred under HIS watch.

          The Trump Defense Team demonstrated conclusively that Prez Trump never broke any laws & never strong armed the new Prez of Ukraine. Laws? The bogus crap that Pelosi, Nadler & Bull Schiff tried to impeach with never mentioned any broken laws.

          All the dimms & fake stream news are doing is to try to make Mr. Trump look bad as these idiots are trying to manipulate the 2020 election. They do that because they have no decent candidates & nothing to run on that could possibly win them the White House.

          SamFox

          1. Mr. Trumps defense team filled in the ‘rest of the story’ regarding the cherry picked narrative the dimms invented. When the Trump defense team presented their defense of Mr. T. the team proved that Mr. T was 100% lawful & that the Constitution gave Mr. T all the power he needed to temporarily withhold funds. And the Trump team showed that the phone call was 100% legit.
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            I agree and there are witnesses that, if they testify, can corroborate the supposition presented by the defense with facts.

  2. SHALL THE INMATES TAKE OVER THE ASYLUM?

    SHALL THE BRITISH RULE THE COLONIES?

    WHAT SAY YOU?
    ______________

    America is in a condition of hysteria, incoherence, chaos, anarchy and rebellion.

    President Abraham Lincoln seized power, neutralized the legislative and judicial branches and ruled by executive order and proclamation to “Save the Union.”

    President Donald Trump must now seize power, neutralize the legislative and judicial branches and rule by executive order and proclamation to “Save the Republic.”

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