Alan Dershowitz blamed social media users and journalists after he was roundly criticized for defending disgraced national security adviser Mike Flynn’s lies to investigators as lawful.
The longtime Harvard Law professor, who has emerged as an outspoken defender of President Donald Trump, has argued that Flynn’s lies are not technically illegal because FBI agents already knew the answers to questions he lied about.
“The lie has to be material to the investigation, and if the FBI already knew the answer to the question and only asked him the question in order to give them an opportunity to lie, his answer, even if false, was not material to the investigation,” Dershowitz told Fox News. “Which answers the question, lying to the FBI is not a crime.”
Dershowitz complained in a post published by the Gatestone Institute that Fox News anchor Bill Hemmer interrupted him before he could finish his point, which was “lying to the FBI is not a crime if the lie is not material.”
He’d made the same point earlier in the segment, but Dershowitz complained that other media outlets that covered his remarks had distorted his argument by not reprinting a paragraph’s worth of text as the headline.
“Despite repeatedly and clearly laying out my argument around materiality, Twitter users and news outlets like the Huffington Post seized on my saying ‘lying to the FBI is not a crime,'” Dershowitz complained. “This quote was out of context and incomplete. It is obvious from the video that I was interrupted before I could finish my statement. Furthermore, I clearly laid out the full argument at multiple other points in the interview.”
Dershowitz complained his truncated remarks were further amplified by Twitter’s “echo chamber,” and he blamed everyone who focused on the most noteworthy portions of his arguments about Flynn’s efforts to mislead investigators.
“As long as Twitter continues to be a place where people receive their news and believe what they read, its users must commit to more responsible practices,” he said. “If Twitter users wish to spread stories as pseudo-reporters, they must also fact-check what they publish. If they do not, they become complicit in the spreading of disinformation.”
Flynn denied in court Tuesday that he’d been led into a “perjury trap,” and Judge Emmet Sullivan disagreed with Dershowitz and other Trump apologists that FBI agents had acted improperly.