Although attorneys representing former President Donald Trump have been criticized for their performance during this week’s U.S. Senate impeachment trial, one renowned Harvard law professor believes the Democratic House managers dropped the ball in attempting to link Trump to the deadly riot on Capitol Hill last month.
In an interview with Newsmax on Thursday, Alan Dershowitz revealed his opinion that “the Democrats really blew it” after viewing the first two days of the trial.
“Maybe they’ll regain their strength”
House Democrats, joined by 10 Republicans, voted to impeach Trump for a second time last month, citing his supposed incitement of an insurrection through politically charged rhetoric he used during a rally prior to the Jan. 6 breach of the Capitol building.
“Today the Democrats really blew it,” Dershowitz said of their effort to prove their case. “Maybe now they’ll regain their strength, but up to now, today was a complete waste of time.”
He went on to acknowledge that Wednesday’s proceedings included “a very effective emotional argument,” but noted that “instead of leaving it, they went on and droned on and on and on and repeated what they said yesterday and showed the same things and made the same arguments.”
When it comes to the crux of the case, namely that the content of Trump’s speech was not protected by the First Amendment, Dershowitz strongly disagrees.
“They are going to cite 144 law professors who say that to even offer the First Amendment argument is frivolous, and legally frivolous, and shouldn’t even be allowed,” he said.
“Strong, powerful, overwhelming, and correct”
Lead impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) was once a student in Dershowitz’s class at Harvard Law School, but his former professor believes he has gotten this issue wrong.
“They’re going to argue, they already have, Jamie Raskin taught constitutional law, and he would never accept that argument on his class,” Dershowitz said.
Describing himself as someone who has “also taught law and constitutional law, and practiced it and litigated more First Amendment cases than anybody in that room,” he went on to assert that “the First Amendment argument is strong, powerful, overwhelming, and correct.”
The bottom line, he argued, is that House managers violated a basic precept of the profession, concluding: “The first thing you teach a good lawyer is, ‘You have to know when to sit down and when to shut up.’ The Democrats just didn’t know when to sit down and shut up.”
Dershowitz was not alone in panning the arguments put forward by Democrats this week. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), for example, contended that House managers “showed endless hours of the terrible violence and mayhem,” and while “both sides of the aisle” agree that those criminals should be held accountable, “they never made their case that the president incited them through any kind of unusual language that Democrats, frankly, haven’t done much worse,” he said, according to Breitbart.