Dershowitz: “Candidate” Committed No Election Crime

I was channel-switching yesterday to get both sides of the Cohen “bombshell”.

Alan Dershowitz provided the clearest (and most succinct) explanation (on MSNBC of all places).

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Here’s the essence of Dershowitz’s argument…

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Transcript of the he relevant part of the MSNBC interview:

The president doesn’t break the law if, as a candidate, he contributes to his own campaign.

So if he gave $1 million to two women as hush money, there would be in crime.

If he (the candidate) directed his lawyer to do it, and he would compensate the lawyer, he’s committed no crime.

The only crime is if a third-party, namely, Cohen, on his own, contributed to a campaign, that would be a campaign contribution.

So it is a catch-22 for the prosecution.

If they claim that the president authorized him to do it or directed him to do it, it is not a crime for anybody.

If Cohen did it on his own, then it is a crime for Cohen but not the president.

Unpacking that argument, there are 3 pivotal questions:

1) Did Trump authorize (“direct”) Cohen to make the payments?

2) If Trump authorized the payments, did Cohen have a reasonable expectation of being repaid (by Trump)?

3) If repayment was made, did the money come from Trump personally (as an individual), from an entity that Trump effectively controlled (e.g. Trump Corp.), or from the Trump campaign coffers?

My view: It’s most likely that Trump directed Cohen to make the payment and that he repaid Cohen from personal funds, not campaign coffers.

If true, then Dershowitz’s legal argument says “no harm, no foul … play on”.

Makes more sense to me than the emotional babel coming from some other legal pundits.

See Cohen lawyer: “It’s a crime because he plead guilty to it”

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Note: I have no idea when and why Dershowitz switched teams and started leaning to the right.  But, gotta admit that he’s starting to make more sense to me. Maybe it’s because he and I are both “emeritus”.

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2 Responses to “Dershowitz: “Candidate” Committed No Election Crime”

  1. John H Carpenter Says:

    Of course you have to add “Hillary didn’t do it because if she did it would be a crime.”

  2. John Carpenter Says:

    Wait…Just like lying on the disclosure form would be illegal and refusing to do the disclosure would be illegal, paying for campaign expenses out of a non-campaign account and then declining to report that as a contribution to the campaign is also illegal. Simply put, there is no legal way to spend money on your election campaign without disclosing that fact. I doubt trump would be ponying up any money if it was not entirely driven by the election.

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