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Published: Thursday, January 30, 2020 @ 5:06 PM
— As Senators broke little new ground on Thursday with questions for House prosecutors and the White House legal team in President Donald Trump's Senate impeachment trial, Democrats tore into the Wednesday argument of retired law professor Alan Dershowitz, denouncing his claim that a President could not be impeached for virtually any act dealing with his re-election.
"What we have seen over the last couple days is a descent into constitutional madness," said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), as Democratic Senators served up a soft ball on one of the first questions of the day, allowing Schiff to take after Dershowitz.
"The only reason you make that argument is because you know your client is guilty," said Schiff. "That is an argument made of desperation."
Rep. Adam Schiff responds to Alan Dershowitz's "astonishing" argument yesterday on quid pro quo: "What we have seen over the last couple days is a descent into constitutional madness." https://t.co/nSPWmzfvQC pic.twitter.com/4UVobbmHh3— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) January 30, 2020
Later in the question and answer period, Schiff again took on the Dershowitz arguments, playing back the videotape for Senators to watch of the well known former professor from a day earlier.
Democrats titled the video, "DESCENT INTO CONSTITUTIONAL MADNESS."
After replying to questions for the White House legal team several times on Wednesday, Dershowitz was not present on the Senate floor for Thursday's Q&A session.
At one point on Wednesday, Dershowitz said of the office of the President, "The President is the Executive Branch. He is irreplaceable."
In a series of posts on Twitter Thursday morning, Dershowitz claimed that his remarks were misinterpreted by the media and legal critics.
They characterized my argument as if I had said that if a president believes that his re-election was in the national interest, he can do anything. I said nothing like that, as anyone who actually heard what I said can attest.— Alan Dershowitz (@AlanDersh) January 30, 2020
One of Alan Dershowitz's impeachment trial arguments is drawing widespread criticism from legal scholars and presidential historians. https://t.co/JYYVWW9b4w— AP Politics (@AP_Politics) January 30, 2020
"If a President does something which he believes will help him get elected, in the public interest, that cannot be the kind of quid pro quo that results in impeachment," Dershowitz said Wednesday.
In arguments on Thursday, Schiff said what Dershowitz told the Senate would take the nation back to where things were with President Nixon in Watergate.
"We may be in a worse place," Schiff said about the current controversy with President Trump, "because this time, that argument may succeed."