Alan Dershowitz, a member of President Trump’s legal team, told the Senate during arguments Monday that even if President Trump explicitly orchestrated a quid pro quo by dangling Ukrainian military aid, as alleged in a leaked excerpt of John Bolton’s book, that would still not constitute an impeachable offense.
The New York Times reported Sunday that in his upcoming book, former national security adviser John Bolton says President Trump told him personally in August that the provision of military aid to Ukraine was contingent on the opening of an investigation into Joe Biden.
“Even if a president, any president, were to demand a quid pro quo as a condition to sending aid to a foreign country, obviously a highly disputed manner in this case, that would not by itself constitute an abuse of power,” Dershowitz said.
“Quid pro quo alone is not a basis for abuse of power,” the former Harvard law professor continued. “It’s part of the way that foreign policy has been operated by presidents since the beginning of time. The claim that foreign policy decisions can be deemed abuses of power based on subjective opinions about mixed or sole motives, that the president was interested only in helping himself, demonstrates the dangers of employing the vague subjective and malleable phrase of abuse of power as a constitutional criteria for the removal of a president. Based on this reasoning, the new information the Times said appears in Bolton’s book “would not constitute an impeachable offense,” Dershowitz said.