Pro-Trump Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz and CNN’s chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin shouted over each other Wednesday evening when discussing whether President Donald Trump had the constitutional authority to fire former FBI Director James Comey last year.
Dershowitz conceded that it was “obvious” that the president fired Comey to end the Russia investigation and the act “was not OK” — but then argued that he had a constitutional right to do so.
“It was not illegal,” he said. “I don’t think it’s a crime.”
Toobin then chimed in saying that the criminality of the Comey firing “is a fundamental disagreement that Alan and I have.”
“If the president fires the FBI director to stop him from investigating the president himself, that is a corrupt motive, that is the definition of obstruction of justice,” he said. “The intent is the whole thing.”
Dershowitz went on to argue that “you never can have a crime where the intent is the whole thing.”
“You can’t have an illegal act when the president acts within his constitutional authority,” he said. “Metaphysically, you can’t have an act that is both constitutionally authorized under Article 1, under Article 2, and at the same time is criminal.”
As Toobin responded with examples of otherwise legal acts “made illegal by intent,” the Harvard Law professor repeatedly cut him off.
Watch below, via CNN: