Should there have been a non-partisan commission to investigate Russian meddling in our election rather than a behind closed doors Special Counsel investigation? What have we learned, if anything, about Russia’s interference in the 2016 election? Is America going down a dangerous path similar to that of apartheid South Africa or communist China, when the opposition party’s President is assumed to be mentally unstable? Former Professor at Harvard Law School, Alan Dershowitz joins Dan and Amy to discuss.
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Proft: Good morning, Dan and Amy! And so, I mean...just when you think the Dossier, Russian Collusion story/investigation can't get more bizarre...MOBY! Jacobson: Moby? Moby wan Kenobi... Proft: *laughs* Yeah! Moby...you don't know me...you're too old...it's over. NOBODY LISTENS TO TECHNO! Moby saying CIA agents asked him to spread the word about Trump and Russia. Moby...this techno artist... Jacobson: Oh! Proft: ...said active and former CIA agents, truly concerned with Trump's collusion with Russia, enlisted Moby to help spread the word, because according to him, they said to him...CIA agents..."Look, you have more of a social media following than any of us do,"...'you know, since we're CIA agents, we operate below the fold!'..."can you just post some of these things in a way that just sort of puts it out there?" "It's really disturbing, and it's gonna get a lot darker," said Moby, "the depths of the Trump family in business, their involvement with organized crime, sponsored terrorism, Russian oligarchs, it's really dark. I guess we should all, like, fasten our seatbelts and hold on." Well, there ya go. *mockingly* Once you've lost Moby, you've lost the nation. This story just gets more and more remarkable, including (Jacobson: It's a soap opera script.) last week, with the release of Glenn Simpson from Fusion GPS'...his testimony, which Difi (?) thought was exculpatory for some reason, nothing could be further from the truth. Excellent piece by Holman Jenkins in the Wall Street Journal over the weekend...a former colleague of Glenn Simpson's, both at Insight Magazine and the Wall Street Journal, where Simpson* (*likely meaning Jenkins) says look, Simpson took on faith that Christopher Steele, the former British spy that he hired to do the background investigation into Trump, was not being fed misinformation by the Russians, among other things that he took on faith. It seems to be this recurring narrative, in this recurring narrative, of "We want to take this guy down, so we're going to suspend disbelief on whatever information we get that's negative." And also, there seems to be a suspension of disbelief about things like the 25th Amendment, and the Goldwater Rule, and a whole list of things in the Left's pursuit to remove Trump from office. For more on this topic, we're pleased to be joined again by Alan Dershowitz, of course famed Harvard Law Professor...ahem, excuse me...author of the new book "Trumped Up: How Criminalization of Political Differences Endangers Democracy". Professor Dershowitz, thanks for joining us again, appreciate it. Dershowitz: Hey, it's my pleasure. You know, with these reports about Moby and other things, my suggestion made on Day 1, it begins to look better and better every day, I had suggested that NO Special Counsel be appointed. Because Special Counsels operate behind closed doors, there's leaks. I had suggested the appointment of a nonpartisan commission, like the 9/11 commission, looking into what efforts Russia has made to try and destabilize America and try to influence American elections on both sides. Not a "Let's Get Trump!" inquiry, or a "Let's Lock Her Up!" inquiry, but an inquiry to find out the truth, because ALL Americans should be concerned if Russia is trying to influence elections, or if there are other inappropriate activities going on, and what we want is transparency and openness and a nonpartisan search for truth, instead of both parties trying to take advantage of this against their political opponents. Jacobson: So, Mr. Dershowitz, what have you learned so far about this Russian investigation? Dershowitz: Very very little, because...as I predicted because it's behind closed doors, and we've learned very little. And that's for one of two reasons; one, because there is nothing to learn, there has been no overt collusion, second, collusion is not a crime. So even if the prosecutor determines there was some degree of collusion, of cooperation, that's not his business, his business is not to reveal what happened, his business is to reveal evidence of crime. So I haven't learned very much, and I don't think the American public has learned very much. This, I think, has been largely a waste of resources and money, in a diversion away from...if you don't like what Trump's doing, vote against him, campaign against him, write op-eds against him, but stop with this lock him up, the 25th amendment, he's...diagnosed this way, diagnosed the other way. I would be saying the same thing, by the way, if Hillary had been elected and the Republicans were trying to lock her up, and diagnose her. We have to move away from this B...this politics of criminalization and pathalization and psychiatrization and get back to, you know, if you don't like somebody, vote against them. Proft: Yeah...I think "psychiatize", that word you coined there, I think that's the early leader in the clubhouse for Webster's word of 2018. Because we have seemed to have moved from criminalization, because they don't seem to have anything that they've leveled up for public scrutiny, from criminalization to psychitization of political differences, as you said on Hannity last week. Dershowitz: And that's dangerous, because that's what the Russians did, to dissidents...I represented some of them in the 1970s, that's what China tried to do with dissidents, that's what apartheid in South Africa did, they tried to say that anybody who opposed apartheid must be mentally ill, and had them sent to moral rehabilitation centers. We just don't want to go down that road, where we give psychiatrists like that professor at Yale the power to decide who's going to be President by adding...by imposing diagnoses on them. That's just so undemocratic. Jacobson: Well I do think that some Democrats should get a grip, and stop saying that Trump should be impeached for saying the "(blank)hole" word, when he was describing people from certain countries. Dershowitz: Well impeachment, I'm writing an article about that now, I believe impeachment is reserved for high crimes and misdemeanors that are political in nature, and that affect the national interest. And I don't think we should also be broadening the concept of what constitutes an impeachable offense outside the words of the Constitution, which says bribery, treason, high crimes and misdemeanors, that's a debatable issue, and reasonable people could take both sides of that. But right now, there's no possibility of impeachment. So why are people wasting their time and energy and resources on Constitutional issues that won't come to fruition, impeachment and the 25th amendment, that's not going to happen. Look, if there were to be a very very different outcome in the 2-18 midterm election, I mean, who knows? We've seen impeachment misused, I think the impeachment of Bill Clinton was a misuse...I think the impeachment of Andrew Johnson, going back to the 1860s, was a misuse. I think the only time that impeachment was ever properly used in the United States was against Richard Nixon, and it never came to fruition because he resigned. Proft: What about the lasting impact this may have in respect to law enforcement agencies that we want to have the confidence of...that want, and we want to be confident in them, I'm talking about Department of Justice and FBI, with all of these conflicts of interest that have been unearthed with FBI agents and senior level Department officials at the Department of Justice, do you worry that those institutions are going to be irreparably harmed in terms of their standing in the American public's mind? Dershowitz: I don't think irreparably, but I do think they're going to be harmed. I think that the people who had strong views like the FBI agents and who expressed them in messages and tweets should have recused themselves, should have been smart enough to say "Look, I can't be unbiased, I have very strong views! I want to see this guy out of office and I can't separate out my law enforcement from my political views so I'm going to recuse myself from the case." I don't believe that Mueller or Comey are partisan. I don't think they care whether they're helping the Democrats or the Republicans, but some people think they're overzealous prosecutors. I've had experience with both of them, and they're both very very tough prosecutors, but I don't think they're partisan. I do think that Mueller made a very serious mistake in how he staffed the investigation. When you're going after the President or people close to the President, you have to be above reproach, and you have to pick people who have to pick people who are in no way perceived as having a bias one way or the other, and I think he did not pass that test. Proft: Well, with respect to Comey, you can be post-partisan, but still be very political for your own interests. And it seems to me that's the problem with Comey. From leaking information to a Columbia professor he wanted to get onto the public arena, to the kind of bootstrapping and argument to absolve Hillary, the back and forth throughout the 2016 campaign, didn't inspire much confidence in Comey from either side. Dershowitz: I agree with that. I think he was looking to preserve his own reputation and he failed. And I think the idea of leaking material through a Columbia professor is A) so amateurish, and B) so not what the head of the FBI should do. The FBI's job is to STOP leaks, not to ENGAGE in them. And he projects a terrible role-model to lower-level FBI agents, when he himself leaks the information. If he wanted to have the information out, he should have had the courage to stand in front of TV cameras and say "I think there ought to be a Special Counsel appointed, here's what I've seen, here's what I have, and listen to me!" But the idea of leaking it through a professor, and a professor who played that role, I was a professor for years and I can't imagine getting a call from the former head of the FBI and accepting the role of leaker and essentially laundering material through a professor, it's just not the right thing to have done. I'm waiting to hear from the professor, and waiting to hear his explanation of why he did it. Jacobson: Well I know...and Comey, he just said it as if it was no big deal during that hearing. Like, "I gave the information to a former professor"...so what's the future for Comey? Do you think he'll have a second showing somehow? Dershowitz: Well, I think he will not be well-remembered by history, and I think he had a very good reputation before...look, these are hard jobs. Ken Starr, who was a phenomenal guy, would have been on the Supreme Court of the United States had he not taken on the impeachment, or the special investigation of President Clinton. And you know, he ended up not being on the Supreme Court, because when you take on this role, half of America immediately hates you. And you have to do it right, and it's a very very hard role to perform, because it's partly political, legal, constitutional, and first of all, it shouldn't exist. I don't believe in special counsel, special prosecutors, I think they violate the spirit of the separation of powers, and the role of the President as the head of the Executive branch. So there's an institutional problem in appointing Special Counsel. Now most countries don't have to do it, because they separate the prosecution function from the political function right from the beginning, but we don't do that, we have a Department of Justice which performs both functions. Proft: Well, Ken Starr got that Baylor president job as consolation, so at least he got more cash than he would have at the Supreme Court, so that's not bad. Dershowitz: No no, he'd have been happier at the Supreme Court as a Justice, I think. Proft; Alan Dershowitz, famed Harvard Law professor, and author of the book "Trumped Up: How Criminalization of Political Differences Endangers Democracy", Professor Dershowitz thanks as always for joining us, appreciate it. Dershowitz: Oh, always a pleasure, thank you.