Congress charged President Donald Trump with obstruction of justice for
firing former FBI Director James Comey, that would trigger a
constitutional crisis, Harvard Law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz
"I think if Congress ever were to charge him with
obstruction of justice for exercising his constitutional authority under
Article II, we'd have a constitutional crisis," Dershowitz told Fox News' "Fox & Friends" program.
cannot charge a president with obstruction of justice for exercising
his constitutional power to fire Comey and to tell the Justice
Department who to investigate and who not to investigate."
His comments were in response to those made by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who on Sunday told NBC News' "Meet the Press" program "what we're beginning to see is the putting together of a case of obstruction of justice."
President Donald Trump was quick to weigh in on Dershowitz' opinion, tweeting that the interview was a "must watch."
further commented that presidents throughout the nation's history have
exercised their constitutional powers on investigations, said
"We have precedents that clearly establish that," he
said. "When George Bush, the first, pardoned Caspar Weinberger in order
to end the investigation that would have led to him, nobody suggested
obstruction of justice."
To bring such charges, there must be evidence of "clearly illegal acts," Dershowitz continued.
[Richard] Nixon, hush money was paid," he said, "[There was] telling
people to lie, destroying evidence. Even with [Bill] Clinton they said
that he tried to influence potential witnesses not to tell the truth.
But there's never been a case in history where a president has been
charged with obstruction of justice for merely exercising his
Dershowitz said that he hopes special
counsel Robert Mueller, who is in charge of the probe into possible
links between Russia and Trump's 2016 campaign, does not press charges
against the president.
"That would cause a constitutional crisis
in the United States, and I hope Mueller doesn't do that," said
Dershowitz. "Sen. Feinstein simply doesn't know what she's talking
about, when she says it's obstruction of justice, to do what a president
is completely authorized to do under the Constitution."
also has the authority to speak to members of Congress, ask that the
investigation be wrapped up, said Dershowitz, but Congress has the power
to invoke the Constitution's provision for separation of powers.
can't have obstruction of justice by each party exercising their
authority," said Dershowitz. "The president could have pardoned [former
national security adviser] Michael Flynn if he were really thinking
about trying to end this investigation."
Had that happened, Flynn would not have cooperated with the prosecution, or had been indicted, said Dershowitz.
think the fact that the president hasn't pardoned Flynn, even though he
has the power to do so, is very good evidence there's no obstruction of
justice going on here," he added.