The blowback Alan Dershowitz has been receiving on Martha’s Vineyard for his perceived support of President Trump might be overblown. But it was very real on The View Tuesday morning.
From the start of his multi-segment interview, Dershowitz was over-the-moon to be seated at the table with Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, and the rest of the gang. “I am such a big fan of every single one of you. I’m so thrilled to be on this show.” he exclaimed. “I’m really ready to mix it up with you guys.” And mix it up they did.
They began with Trump’s nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to replace Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. As a “liberal Democrat,” Dershowitz said he never would have chosen Kavanaugh himself, but also called him the “least worst” choice from the Democratic perspective. He also threw a bone to the Left by saying Republicans “stole” President Obama’s Supreme Court pick, Merrick Garland. “Absolute theft. Unconstitutional,” he said, adding, “The Constitution says ‘advise and consent,’ not delay and postpone.”
And yet, even after the way Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and the GOP acted in 2016, Dershowitz said Democrats should not oppose Kavanaugh on principle. “Why shouldn't Democrats play hard ball?” Joy Behar asked him. “Why should we always be the snowflakes?”
As for Kavanaugh’s past assertion that a president should not be subject to criminal prosecution, Dershowitz admitted that the new justice “might have to recuse himself” should the Russia investigation make it to the Supreme Court.
It was the subject of impeachment—also the theme of Dershowitz’s new book, The Case Against Impeaching Trump—that drove most of the hosts’ argumentative questions. Pressed by fellow lawyer Sunny Hostin on whether Trump could be impeached for obstructing justice, Dershowitz said, “I don't believe a president can obstruct justice by merely exercising his authority to fire somebody.”
When Meghan McCain said she was “under the impression” that he was a “Trump supporter,” Dershowitz shot back, “Oh god no.” Asked why he was being “ostracized” by his former friends on Martha’s Vineyard, Dershowitz offered up a hypothetical.
“If Hillary Clinton had been elected—by the way, I would have be thrilled, I worked hard on her campaign—and they were trying to lock her up,” he said, “I would have written the same book except it would have had a different name, The Case Against Impeaching Clinton. I would have said exactly the same thing, made the same arguments and the people on Martha’s Vineyard would be hugging me and kissing me and all the liberals would love me. But because I'm making the case for a president they disapprove of, a civil liberties-neutral case, they don't like me so much.”
Dershowitz added, “It makes you understand the difference between your real friends.”
Later, after a break, Dershowitz confirmed that he’s “back in dialogue with people who weren't originally talking to me,” and seemed to express at least some small regret in making himself out to be a victim. “This is a bigger issue” than just him, he added.
“You need to find a legal argument to impeach him and then we’ll all like you more,” Behar told him.
“So far, there’s no evidence he’s committed an impeachable crime,” Dershowitz said, despite the fact that no one on the Left is seriously pushing for impeachment before the Mueller investigation comes to its conclusion. “If you’re going to remove a president, you better comply with the letter of the Constitution. This shouldn’t be political.”
“Here’s the thing,” Behar added. “The guy is under investigation by the FBU for collusion, for obstruction, for violating the emoluments clause, there's a list of things. And as you mentioned Mitch McConnell stole the last Supreme Court justice, which I think should be illegal, but it probably isn’t. Why should we give the president who is under investigation the chance to affect the lives of millions of people with this next Supreme Court justice?”
“Because if you don’t, every president will be put under investigation to prevent them from making Supreme Court nominations,” Dershowitz replied. Later, he criticized the ACLU for refusing to “protect Trump’s civil liberties.”
“I’m the only guy standing on this issue,” Dershowitz said. “I’ve always defended people that no one else will defend.”
Just as that defense didn’t win him any friends on Martha’s Vineyard, it also made him pretty unpopular on The View.