Retired Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz has grown increasingly close to Donald Trump, defending Trump and his allies while repeating Trump’s expansionist view on almost-unlimited presidential power.
On Friday night, Dershowitz appeared on CNN where he painted Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort, who violated the terms of his bail by allegedly engaging in witness tampering, into a martyr of the criminal justice system.
Dershowitz faced off against legal analyst Jeffry Toobin, who said this development “changes the complexion of the trial coming up” and that the move means “the pressure is going to ratchet up enormously.”
“My own view is it is unfair for Manafort to join thousands of others sitting in jail with the presumption of innocence,” he said. “We don’t know whether he tampered with witnesses… This so undercuts the presumption of innocence when we put people in jail, poor or rich, without a trial, without a hearing. Based on a judge’s conclusion and a prosecutor’s assertion that they may have violated the terms of their bail… this is punitive and it’s designed to put pressure on Manafort and it may very well work. The reason we get 98% conviction rates in some part of the country is because we put people in jail prior to trial.”
“Alan, you can’t make up the facts on what happened here,” Toobin said. “[The judge] said the grand jury has indicted him for witness tampering… that was the basis for the fact that she revoked his bail.”
Dershowitz claimed that grand juries “never” fail to indict and said that they should not exist.
“They never refuse to indict,” Dershowitz maintained. “Paul Manafort is as innocent as you or I in the eyes of the law and he should not be in prison.”
Toobin, Dershowitz’s former student, schooled him.
“Alan, you dislike grand juries and you’ve been consistent about that. But the grand jury has been part of the American legal system for 200 years,” he said. “The same laws that apply for everyone else should apply to Paul Manafort…. All Judge Jackson did is apply the law that applied to everyone else.”
John Dean says Gordon Sondland just had his ‘John Dean moment’ by flipping on Trump: ‘The truth has come out’
Former White House aide John Dean on Wednesday compared his testimony against President Richard Nixon to the testimony of European Union Ambassador Gordon Sondland.
"This has been called by some commentators a John Dean moment," CNN host Jake Tapper noted during a break in the testimony. "And there is no person I can think of who is better qualified to weigh in on that than John Dean."
"Is he the John Dean of this impeachment inquiry?" Tapper wondered.
"His statement certainly caught the Republicans off guard," Dean replied. "They didn't pick away -- just a few little picky points."
‘The worst day with the most damning evidence’: CNN’s Tapper explains how Sondland was very bad for Trump
European Union ambassador Gordon Sondland's testimony before the House of Representatives' impeachment inquiry on Wednesday generated several startling revelations, including confirmation of an explicit quid-pro-quo deal involving investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden.
CNN's Jake Tapper described Sondland's testimony as "a monumental and historic moment on what may turn out to be the worst day with the most damning evidence for President Trump in the impeachment inquiry."
He then laid out all the ways that Sondland has been very bad news for the president.
"Sondland directly implicated the president in directing the operation to pressure Ukraine," Tapper explained. "Sondland is testifying that there very clearly was a quid pro quo -- this was for a White House visit for the Ukrainians in exchange for an announcement about an investigation into the company Burisma and the Bidens. Now, Sondland later said it became clear to him that the quid pro quo also, he presumed, was tied to the holdup of hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid that Ukraine desperately needed."
Don Lemon notes the GOP panic after their own witnesses gave testimony harming Trump: ‘Worried much?’
CNN anchor Don Lemon explained how witnesses called by Republicans in the impeachment inquiry destoryed the defenses employed by President Donald Trump and his allies.
"Now, let's just be honest, the shakedown -- that's exactly what it is -- the shakedown is exposed, people," Lemon said.
"And the evidence comes from the Republican's own witnesses," he noted. "The former envoy to Ukraine, Kurt Volker -- who resigned just one day after the release of the whistleblower's report -- telling the president's defenders exactly what they did not want to hear."
"They called him apparently expecting him to say what he said in his closed-door testimony, that he saw no evidence of a quid pro quo, or let's call it for what it is again -- a shakedown," he continued. "Well, now he says he was wrong."