With the impeachment trial of U.S. President Donald Trump in full swing, a new defense was presented by Trump attorney Alan Dershowitz.
Dershowitz made an astounding defense, saying that as long as the president acted in what he thought was the best interest of the country – in this case, being re-elected – there was no impeachable crime.
Using that logic, Richard Nixon would have served out his second term. Certainly, he thought breaking into the Democratic National Committee headquarters would help his re-election chances, which he certainly thought was in the best interest of the country. Using Dershowitz’s logic, there is no crime for which a president can be removed from office if he commits it believing that it will help him be re-elected, which he firmly believes is in the nation’s best interest.
Dershowitz admitted that every politician believes that their re-election is in the country’s best interest, so it would seem, by extension, that anything any officeholder does to get re-elected – bribery, murdering opponents, etc. – would be fine. After all, it was done in the national interest.
Let us, for a moment, take this out of the lofty halls of Congress and bring it back to a more realistic example, using everyday life, where people generally recognize that crimes are crimes. If, for example, this writer supports a charity whose work he believes in deeply, and which he thinks provides an excellent service, if he wants to contribute additional money that he doesn’t have to that charity, well, he can rob a bank to get some more! Why not? It’s in the best interest of the people served by the charity, after all.
Trump’s attorneys were wise, in a twisted, clown-like way, to raise this defense. There is no realistic defense to the things Trump has done: withholding foreign aid that Congress has approved until the country that is supposed to receive it agrees to investigate a political rival is hardly something that the revered Founding Fathers (racists and misogynists though they were) would ever countenance. But they probably wouldn’t have agreed that corporations are people or everyone in the country should be running around with multiple guns, either.
If Trump gets away with this, which is likely, considering the spineless members of the Senate who are terrified of his wrath come re-election time, who knows what he will do for the next nine months until the election or, possibly, for the next five years (one cannot rely on the Democratic Party not to do something stupid, like nominate a rich, old, white establishment man who is so middle-of -the-road that he could be the yellow line down its center)? He can sell the U.S. to Russia in exchange for hacking all the voting machines to assure he is elected. Why not? After all, as long as he thinks it’s in the U.S.’s best interest, there’s nothing in the world wrong with it, at least according to Dershowitz and the craven Republicans in the Senate.
This, of course, takes the winds out of the John-Bolton sails. In Bolton’s new book, which is described as ‘explosive’, he says plainly that Trump told him to withhold the foreign aid until the Ukranian president anted up with the dirt on Biden, or at least agreed to announce he was looking for it. But if doing so isn’t a crime, Bolton’s revelations aren’t worth considering.
Trump has often led, and sometimes still leads, his lemmings-like groupies in chants of ‘lock her up’, referring to Hillary Clinton and her use of a private server for official emails. But if Clinton felt that doing so was in the national interest, why should she be ‘locked up’? According to Dershowitz, there is no crime committed in any attempt by an elected official to gain office, if he or she believes it is in the nation’s best interest, which Dershowitz concedes all candidates believe.
The possibilities for this defense are endless. Consider any crime, and there is often a good reason for it, at least according to the perpetrator. Murder a wife? She stood in the way of the happiness of another woman. Rob a bank? That’s discussed above, or at least one ‘honorable’ motive for doing so is. Assault a homeless person? Better a person’s rage be spent on an anonymous stranger than on one’s own wife or children. Commit road rage after being cut off? Well, that careless drive will learn a lesson. Use racial slurs against a minority neighbor? Standing up to such things will make him or her stronger.
Oh, can’t one see the possibilities? A few short years ago, a lawyer used ‘Affluenza’ as a defense for a young man who’d killed multiple people while driving under the influence. It was argued that, because the young man grew up rich and with few limits, he was not really responsible for his behavior. The entire case was mocked across the country, even though the defense was successful. One wonders what creative defense strategies attorneys will invent now, with the precedent that is about to be set in the nation’s capital.
The U.S. was a grand experiment in democracy that failed miserably. It is not a nation governed for, by and of the people. Corporations contribute millions of dollars to the campaigns of officials who are then completely beholden not to the people in their districts, but to those corporations. Entering political life requires, under most circumstances, considerable financial resources, but if a person is fortunate enough to grab that gold ring, they have the potential to become far richer during and after their terms in office.
There was much talk of Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election, but no one ever talks about Israeli influence. In 2016, for example, one of Florida’s Republican senators, Marco Rubio, received nearly $500,000.00 from pro-Israel lobbies. Is it merely coincidental that he has a perfect voting record on all pro-Israel and anti-Palestine legislation? This writer only mentions him because in 2016, Rubio received more pro-Israel lobby money than any other senatorial candidate.
But now, none of that matters. If Rubio, and those many, many elected officials (this writer cannot refer to them as ‘representatives’) accept huge sums of money from pro-Israel lobbies, the NRA, ‘defense’ (read: offense) contractors, etc., it is all, we can be sure, because those officials are convinced that their election and re-election are what is best for the country.
This is what it has come to in the ‘land of the free and the home of the brave’. Free to violate laws, and brave enough, or perhaps brazen enough, to feel no shame in doing so.
The world has suffered for centuries due to U.S. disdain for international law and common decency. There is no end in sight.
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Featured image is from FAIR