tv Alan Dershowitz Bob Shrum Impeachment Debate CSPAN February 24, 2020 12:00am-1:13am EST
cybersecurity and the security of all americans. >> what's the communicators, monday at 8:00 p.m. eastern come on c-span2. >> when the senate devils in monday at 3:00 p.m. eastern, wisconsin senator tammy baldwin delivers the traditional reading of washington's farewell address. later in the week, the senate takes procedural votes on two antiabortion members. -- measures. the house is back from legislative work on tuesday, with their first votes expected on monday. -- on wednesday. later in the week, a bill that would ban all flavored tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. watch live coverage of the house on c-span and the senate on c-span2. attorney alanse dershowitz debates democratic consultant robert shrum on the politics of impeachment, the me too movement, and anti-semitism. the beverly hills temple of the arts hosts the event.
>> we are thrilled to have them here. tonight we have a three-part program. part one debate, part two dialogue, and part three discussion. because we have to learn what our differences of opinion are on a range of subjects and how we can create common ground so we can communicate with one another and how we are best able to reach one another in this very stratified and divided society that we live in. that is why tonight's program will have three parts. i have asked that part one, a debate on the politics of impeachment, but each respondent, professor dershowitz and professor bob strom speak for 10 minutes each. some he said why so short? when i was taught public speaking by a wonderful teacher who used an analogy related to
he used to say if you haven't struck oil in 10 minutes, quit boring. we will hopefully enable you to strike oil very quickly, then we will have a point and counterpoint on this issue. this issue that has been so divisive. and we would like to hear more about it. i will be replacing judge kaczynski for part two, which will be a discussion and dialogue on a number of important issues that affect us, and the last part of which will relate to rising anti-semitism . i will turn things over to judge kaczynski who will begin the program by asking the first respondent to discuss the issue of the politics of impeachment. who would like to begin? you have the floor. >> i'm happy to begin. [applause]
i am a liberal democrat who voted for all of the people that bob worked for. my political mentors in many way s were ted kennedy. i worked on the mcgovern campaign. i worked on all of the democratic campaigns. i worked hard for the election of hillary clinton. i worked for the defeat of president donald trump in an election but i strongly, strongly opposed his impeachment. [applause] i believe that duly elected presidents should be removed from office only when there is a broad-based consensus and bipartisan support for impeachment and removal. the only president in american history who was properly subject to impeachment was richard nixon. it never came to that because it was so clear that he had committed impeachable offenses that he voluntarily resigned.
andrew johnson was improperly impeached, bill clinton was improperly impeached. i was part of the bill clinton defense team and testified in front of congress against his impeachment. i was the only person who spoke in the senate against the impeachment of donald trump who also spoke against the impeachment of bill clinton. in fact the only other time i was on the senate floor was when i stood up and defended at alan cranston, the great liberal democratic senator of california. for me, impeachment is never and should never be a partisan issue. i think everybody has to pass what i call the shoe on the other foot test. what i asked the senators to do, i said to each of them, please imagine that the person being impeached was of the opposite party, and ask yourself what neutral principles would justify impeachment. then i went through what one of
my rabbis called a talmudic dialogue about the six words that were the subject of the debate on the senate floor, the six words work "and other high misdemeanors." everybody knows what reason means. it is in the constitution. everybody knows what bribery means. it's a common term that had a meaning at common-law at the time constitution was written. but what is more of a high crimes and misdemeanors mean. obviously there is the simple facial meaning of the term. when you have two words, treason and bribery, and the word other, other high crimes and misdemeanors, the word of the word other requires that crimes and misdemeanors be akin to treason and bribery. that is the obvious intended meaning, so that high crimes, we know that means crimes like extortion and bribery and
perjury, which bill clinton was accused of committing. what about misdemeanors? you look at what misdemeanors meant in common-law. misdemeanors were a species of crime. they were a crime. at common law there was some thing called a capital misdemeanor. you could be executed for committing a misdemeanor. that is how serious misdemeanors were. so there is a heavy burden of proof on those who would defy the plain meaning of the terms. o'er the high crimes and misdemeanors. what happened is a bunch of sophists on the other site tried -- on the other side led by the democratic leaders tried to give an interpretation of those words that was simply partisan. partisan in effect and partisan in intent. what they said was, well, misdemeanors means what it meant when the british impeached people, forgetting that the british never impeached a prime minister, never impeached a king
or anybody at an important level. impeachment was used in england for very low level or medium level administrators. when the framers tried to introduce the british system through the use of the term maladministration, madison said no, we can't do that. that would turn the united states a republic into a british-style parliamentary democracy, where the president serves at the pleasure of the legislature. in great britain, the prime minister, the head of state can be thrown out of office by simple majority vote of the parliament, and madison said we don't want that in this country. we want a strong executive, not an executive subject to the whim or pleasure of the legislature. the argument was overwhelming in
its logic, overwhelming in its historical basis, overwhelming in its epistemology, yet virtually every professor in the united states rejected that argument. larry tribe called it bonkers. others set i was becoming senile for making that argument. yet if it had been president hillary clinton and she had been impeached on the same grounds every single one of those professors would've told me how brilliant i was, they would have built a statute to me on martha's vineyard. it was such blatant hypocrisy for them to switch sides. in the 19th century when johnson was impeached, the dean of the columbia law school said of course you need a crime. the weight of authority is on the side of the crime. the former justice of the supreme court who defended johnson said, of course you need a crime. even if if i'm wrong,
history were to support the other side, the idea that we don't have a debate about this am a that a just result in name-calling, that thousands of professors, most of them have no idea what they are talking about, are prepared to sign a petition saying that my views are wrong, a bunch of professors led by your congressman, congressman in this area, led by the congressman in new york and schumer, actually got up on the floor of the senate and said that i was not a constitutional law expert. having taught constitutional procedure as part of criminal procedure for 50 years, having litigated over 100 constitutional cases, having written dozens of articles and books about the constitution, they claimed i was not a constitutional expert because i came out on the wrong side of the issue. if i had been defending hillary clinton they would've been praising my constitutional expertise. one more point, then i will sit
down. the worst offenders were the two congressmen plus senator schumer. the worst offender was cnn and let me explain why. and i'm going to ask for your advice tonight. here's what happened. ted cruz through the chief justice asked me a simple question. what about quid pro quo? is that an impeachable offense? here is my full answer and you can see it online, you can hear it, not on cnn, you can see it on any honest channel. here was my answer. i said i'm honored to have come back from the white house where i saw the unrolling of the peace plan. i said what if in the peace plan, i gave a series of hypotheticals, what if in the peace plan, the israelis were told that unless you stop the settlements, you are not getting any money? that would be quid pro quo. the palestinians were told
unless you stop terrorism you're not getting any money. that would be quid pro quo. there is nothing wrong with quid pro quo unless it involves something that is illegal. but if it's illegal, then a quid pro quo is impeachable. if it involves corrupt conduct , if it involves self-dealing or a kickback, then it would be illegal but if it was not anything illegal, the mere fact i didn'tblic figure, limited to the president, any member of congress or any mixedd official, had a mode event was thinking that only about the public interest but his own electoral interest, that mixed motive could not be subject to an impeachment without any illegal conduct. so here is what cnn said. they took it out of context, they eliminated the part about criminal and corrupt and they said dershowitz said if it -- if a president thinks his election is in the national
interest, he can do anything, including shoot his opponent, rigged the machines, this was your friend paul who said that, doctored they interview. it was as if i said the following, let me tell you what i don't believe. i don't believe a president can do anything. and cnn puts on a president can do anything, dershowitz said, leaving out i don't believe. my question to you is this, and i leave you with this question. i am a first amendment believer. whos one of the law clerks wrote the opinions in new york times versus sullivan, but i do not believe the first amendment protects a willful deliberate malicious doctoring of a tape to make somebody say the exact opposite of what he said. my question to you is, should i sue cnn? [applause]
>> whatever you are comfortable with. i must express my admiration for professor dershowitz. he left just enough time within his time to allow for the standing ovation. [laughter] >> i every -- i expect every bit as much of a standing ovation. i'm a little doubtful about that because before the event i was in the holding room, and the reception, i'm going to have to move it out. you got it?
i was in the holding room and there were all these trump for president buttons. there were all of these pamphlets from the republican jewish coalition. so i don't think i'm exactly at home. i'm on the west side, i am in beverly hills. i think you are kind of in a typical crowd for this part of town. i also have some bad news for professor dershowitz and those of you who applauded him. adam schiff will get reelected to congress by a record margin. [crowd booing] we will talk about civility a little bit later but i think undisputed will fact.
it was interesting to me, and i'm not going to argue the legal case at length with alan dershowitz. i am in no position to do that. i went to harvard law, thank you. that was kind. i went to harvard law school. the only thing i did of any note was when the ames competition, the court competition, i would note that on these legal issues, and i was told we were going to talk about the political implications of impeachment, which i'm going to talk about. mr. dershowitz rehearsed his speech to the senate and added an attack on cnn. he did note that a lot of people disagreed with him. the exact quote from the new york times is most of the scholars disagree with me. i think they're wrong. i think they are right. we could have a debate about it isut i don't think
fair, for example, to question the motives of people to the extent of saying that if hillary clinton had been impeached for doing what donald trump did, almost people would have necessarily been on the other side. when you start using lines, i'm sorry, guys. you may not want to hear it but you are not going to like what you are november from the voters, either. i'm going to jump in -- >> i'm perfectly happy with what keep -- >> keep it civil. use don't think we should words like a park or. we should not use words like questioning people's motives. i do not think that it advances public dialogue to join president trump in quoting cnn my adviceng cnn and to you as a nonpracticing lawyer would be, don't sue them, you
will lose. impeachment rile, and this is the quote i think you were talking about, i think i have, what do you want? i have no idea what you are talking about and i may be the better for it. >> let's have some civility. this is rude. we are here to listen and learn. i apologize. >> no problem. i sort of knew coming in here that this was going to the -- what this was going to be like. but you asked me to do it so i am going to do it. >> i'm giving you an extra two minutes. >> i don't need it. i think this is the exact quote from professor dershowitz. if a president does something that he believes will help him get elected in the public interest, that cannot be the
kind of quid pro quo that results in impeachment. he has parsed that statement now, or he explained that statement, but i think it is profoundly off-base. in fact, earlier when he used the word extortion as grounds for impeachment, i think with -- what the president did to the ukrainians was exactly extortion. beyond that, he argued that a mere abuse of power was not grounds for impeachment. what if a president started a conflict in october of the election year to get reelected because he has warmaking powers, and evidence came out that his motive was purely political? he would've had the power but he would've abused the power. that is exactly in my view what should be impeachable. now i want to talk about the aftermath of all of this. if you decide that a president
who obstructs justice can't be him -- can't be indicted, and a president who abuses power cannot be impeached, then you give the president a license to engage in wholesale abuse. since the trial, that is what donald trump has done. we have seen that with roger stone and the purging of law enforcement officials. i think there are some people who agree with me and they actually listen to professor dershowitz. i'm perfectly happy to take any of your questions, and happy to debate any of you but i will make my case. we have seen the purging of law enforcement officials and others who testified in the impeachment proceedings, demands for re-examination of the michael flynn case, a statement that he had the right to interfere and -- in justice department criminal cases. and i saw an interview that professor dershowitz gave on breitbart radio where he said well, obama did this, and i hold in my hand a 302 that indicates
that there's going to be a lawsuit about this, but he didn't say what the lawsuit was, gave no evidence, we don't know what would be in the lawsuit and it reminds me of joseph carthy going to west virginia and saying, i hold in my hand the names of 200 officials in the state department who have communist ties. >> we are not questioning motives, but we are calling me mccarthy. that is really good. >> i didn't call you mccarthy, i said that was a mccarthy tactic. what is the case? find out very soon. >> isn't that great. >> it is great. i have a client to represent to -- who has not given me the authority to disclose the specifics, but i will which mccarthy did not do. i have the 302 which i would be happy to show you which pinpoints the fact that the president of the united states
started the investigation. it is not mccarthyism. >> he said this was done on behalf of george soros. that's one of the worst right-wing memes we have going around this country today. >> but it is true. >> you know what? you and donald trump are under the mistaken assumption that if you believe something it is true. this has to be settled in a court of law. >> it will. >> yes, and you will lose. politically, what are the consequences of all of this? in the quinnipiac poll, voters say 55-40 that acquittal did not clear trump of wrongdoing. is 55-40.pendents, it the president's approval is at 43%. it hasn't budged since -- i'm sorry. to cite theoing gallup poll. in the real clear politics
average, his approval is 45%. >> they want you to talk into the microphone. >> ok. in the reuters poll 49% agreed impeachment was the right thing to do and only 41% disagreed. 49 -- 39% thought that the president was innocent of the charges brought against him. that inlike to look at terms of the 2020 election. first, i would cite the clinton precedent and what happened in the year 2000. after that impeachment, after the trial, after he was acquitted, he had a very high job approval and a very low personal approval. if you talked to focus groups, they just wanted it all to be gone. their kids had seen things on television they didn't want them to see. that opened the way for george w. bush, and i'm sure people in the republican coalition don't mind this, to run on the proposition that he was going to
change very little, but he was going to have a tax cut to share the prosperity, but he was going to preserve the budget surplus. but he would restore honor and dignity to the white house. that was all about the clinton impeachment. i think the same overhang is likely for trump. he is the only president since polling began never to be above 50% approval. i think impeachment reinforces public reaction to a pattern of continuing presidential misconduct. he has actually broken the historic connection so far between approval on the economy and job approval in general. there is about a 20% higher job approval for him on the economy than there is job approval in general. i willing -- i will conclude by saying my view is that trump cannot win the election. but the democrats can lose the election.
do you do this at synagogue every week? for example, the health care question in medicare for all, medicare for all could invert the democratic advantage on health care where issues like pre-existing conditions helped provide a democratic victory in 2018. trump will run a scorched-earth campaign against the democratic nominee and if those positions repel voters otherwise and -- inclined to vote democratic trump could be reelected. not for his virtues if i can use that word, but because the democrats once again lose the un-lose a bull election -- un-losable election. have a number of to respond to, but i have a question. i didn't understand, you made a
distinction between the impeachment of president clinton , who he defended, and president trump who he defended. this is a question. what president clinton was accused of doing was in fact [indiscernible] what what iering have a very simple answer. >> the constitution says high crime. and what clinton did was a low crime. it was a crime of personal misconduct, not a crime of governmental misconduct. it was much like what happened to alexander hamilton. alexander hamilton, you may remember if you are a scholar of history or if you have seen the remember, was seduced by a woman while he was secretary of the treasury and the woman's husband amended extortion in
payments, which he paid. those are not impeachable offenses, although what adultery was a felony at the time. the extortionist went to hamilton and said, unless you gave me more money, i will say you got the money from the treasury department and use that money to pay the extortion. of course he didn't get the money from the treasury department, and he issued a pamphlet which was embarrassing to him and his family in which he admitted the affair, but said he paid the money personally. actually he paid the money from his wife's fund which was ironic. all of the founders had one -- framers had one thing in common, they married rich women. he was one of them. know she was't paying extortion money. clinton committed a low crime. i want to throw question back at my distinguished opponent. i want to ask you this directly. official, an elected official says to himself, i want to take an action, i want to vote in a certain way, i think
it will help the national interest but i think it will also help my election, is that a crime or an impeachable offense? it is a rhetorical question because of course it is not. that is exactly what i said. and you have totally distorted what i said. let me read you -- >> i quoted you. >> you didn't. >> i did. >> you didn't. you left out the words before and after. you quoted me as saying this is what i don't believe, a president can do anything and you quoted me as saying a president can do anything. you did exactly what cnn did. you left out the following words, if the quid pro quo were illegal. you deliberately left out those words. if you put those words in, what it says is if the president does something illegal which he
, if i had said that, which he believes will help him get elected, that would be the issue. what i said was, if a president does something perfectly legal, which he believes will get him elected, that can't be the kind of quid pro quo that results in impeachment. shame on you for repeating the sin of cnn. you may have persuaded me because you are an honest and decent man whose motives i won't challenge, but because you have indulged in the same kind of gutter politics as cnn has, then i may very well have to sue cnn to make sure people like you can never repeat the canard that i said a president can do anything. i challenge you to read my entire quote to the audience, not do what cnn did. go ahead. read it. not the excerpt, read the quote.
>> i'm going to say several, no. listen, guys. listen. we can either have a discussion and we can be civil, which alan was not, or i can respond in kind. i find it shameful that someone i admired for years represented the single most reprehensible person ever to secondly, talk about mccarthyism. i'm going to talk. i didn't interrupt you. don't interrupt me. secondly. secondly. when you listen to his explanation about , i defy anybody in this audience to figure out what the hell he was saying. the quote says 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.
i know what he is saying, he is saying he has to commit a crime. i don't agree with that. i don't think president clinton should have been impeached at all. i don't think high crimes and misdemeanors means crimes in the conventional sense, and if abuse of power is not an impeachable offense than democracy is in this country is in terrible trouble. obviously, the rhetorical question that alan asked, if a public official says to himself i'm going to vote this way because i'm going to give myself -- get myself reelected and that's in the national interest, obviously that's not an impeachable offense. >> that's exactly what i said. >> would you like to have the stage to yourself, i think you would love it. let me finish. >> i would like to hear truth from the other side. >> you think you have the truth just like donald trump thinks he has the truth but you don't get to decide. so either be quiet or i'm not going to say a word.
we can have a dialogue. >> that is your choice. >> no, your choice is to shut up and maybe the judge can get you to shut up. my final point which i was making, and i don't think in the balance of time that there is any inequity here, if there is it's on the others the podium. if a public official does that, i don't think it's an impeachable offense, but if congress had appropriated money that is supposed to go to the ukraine for its military defense and the president withholds that money and the signals are sent to the ukrainians is that they are not going to release it until there is an investigation of joe and hunter biden, i think that is an impeachable offense. >> lets remember one thing that trump said, that it is despicable that i was the lawyer for the president of the united states. that is the most mccarthyite statement i have ever heard. i grew up during -- during
mccarthyism when lawyers were held responsible for their clients. the next thing he will say is that it is despicable that i represented michael milken, that it was despicable i representative michael. it is despicable i am trying to help benjamin netanyahu. >> that i agree with, by the way. >> mccarthyism squared. now it is despicable that a lawyer represents benjamin netanyahu, despicable that a lawyer represents the president of the united states, that is a new meaning to mccarthyism. [applause] rabbi is repairing the stage. we promised you an exciting debate and i think you got it. a round of applause for both of our participants. [applause] >> thank you, judge kaczynski. i don't think there's enough
manischewitz in california to give us calming on this issue, i want to ask the audience, and i know there are a lot of passions, we will get to the issue of passion and politics and the breakdown of communication, which unfortunately we are seeing a little bit of on the stage, but people's reputations, and their havenal reputation they built over a lifetime are very precious and valuable. i would like to ask both of you to stick to the issues of the issue at hand. what i want to transition to now is the subject of the me too movement. many of you know that professor dershowitz wrote a book called "guilt by accusation." i'm sure that professor bob shrum has seen some of the cases at usc that have occurred where
women were abused by people whom they put their trust in. the cases of harvey weinstein, epstein, bill cosby, many of you have seen that women have been subject to significant abuse. i guess some would say it is as old as the casting couch in hollywood, but the fact is that we live in a different era where women's rights are in the forefront and there has been this tremendous explosion that has built up for decades of people feeling abused. women feeling abused by men of power. the question for me is as the pendulum swung too far, or is it acceptable? i will tell you a couple quick examples and then i would like to hear your take. one example is a number of men in the congregation telling me
i'm not going to hire women anymore, i will hire guys i , don't want to take a chance of a sexual harassment lawsuit because of something i said, i complement a woman's appearance and i am told by my legal counsel that you can't do that, you can say you have a beautiful dress on but you cannot say you look beautiful. as a rabbi i recently had an experience where three months ago, one of the women who works in the office was on the phone crying, i said what happened? she said my father just died. i gave her a hug. carla, our labor lawyer says, you can't do that rabbi, you have to ask permission, may i give you a hug? has this swung too far and are we at the point that it was caricatured in the curb your enthusiasm episode where larry david put his camera down, his iphone on the table as he was beginning to kiss his date and
said, i want to make sure you are in complete agreement with me kissing you? the question i want to ask both, and i will start with professor s hrum, has the movement swung too far? are we in a place in society where we can get accused and convicted, and where the fear of this women's retribution is making people do things like not forng women and hiring men positions that they are perfectly capable of fulfilling? mr. shrum: first it is ironic that there are three men on the stage discussing this. there should be women up here discussing this. [applause] shrum: secondly, i have to observe that you had better tell your friend if he is a pattern and practice of not hiring women he is in violation of federal civil rights laws and had better be careful. third, i think it has been -- i
understand the frustration some people have had, i understand that people can be falsely accused. i think that has happened, but for time immemorial, women have not been believed, women have not been listened to, these complaints have been brushed off, and i think that the me too movement is good for our society. i think it makes the country a better place. do i think that those things can be carried too far? of course. do i think that mere accusation should make someone guilty? of course not. we are also in a situation, this is not just the me too movement, is is what has gone on, for example, in the catholic church. we are in a situation where there are circumstances under which there is a cascade of accusations, not one lone
accusation, but a cascade of accusations. you cannot find out in a criminal court whether this happened, so you go forward as the church has finally done in the case of the cardinal, to defraud him and send him out to some place in kansas. >> finally. mr. shrum: i agree. it has taken forever but we have denigrated women and denigrated their complaints and i think it is wrong and we have to change it. we can't get to the point where we say everybody is guilty simply because one person accused them of something. you need to investigate and find out. look at roger ailes. finally the dam broke. i don't know how many of you have seen the movie, finally the dam broke and fox conducted an investigation, and he was clearly guilty. there was no criminal process.
there was not even civil process, although there has been a series of lawsuits settled, and he was fired. i think that was the right thing to do. i would not rollback this movement. i would continue to insist that people should be treated in a responsible way, that one accusation unsubstantiated does not prove a whole case against somebody. [applause] mr. dershowitz: i believe with -- i agree with much of what bob said. i support the me too movement. i think it is too little too late in many ways. i think it's important that we take women's accusations. -- accusations very seriously. onces the philosopher said, every flaw starts as a movement, then it becomes a business and ultimately a racket. what we are seeing now are lawyers with highly questionable legal ethics, like david boys, will has made a business out of falsely accusing people.
i was one of his victims. he set up a complete shakedown plan in which a woman that i never met, never heard of, never knew existed falsely accused me and after telling the fbi she didn't have sex with me, after telling her best friend she never met me, after an email saying she never met me, all of which were known to the lawyers, after which her own lawyer said to me, it is impossible that you could have been in the place she said that you were. she is wrong, simply wrong. after getting the former head of the fbi to do a complete independent investigation to conclude it was wrong, they are still coming after me, even though it is clear without any doubt that i never had any contact with this woman at the 92nd street y at which i have spoken in the last 25 years. i was the second most frequent
speaker in their history. y has canceled me and said i can never speak there again. i couldn't speak on behalf of israel. i had a new book on behalf of israel. mr. shrum: that's why you're here. mr. dershowitz: yes because you are better than the 92nd street y. we know you are innocent, but you are accused. we don't want trouble. you can't speak here anymore. the same thing as true today on college campuses. i have nothing to hide. i have been with my wife who is here tonight since the day that i met jeffrey epstein airing the -- during the relevant period. i've never touched another woman, i don't hug, i don't flirt, i don't go out with people. i don't do any of that. nonetheless i was picked.
why was i picked, because i am a famous guy and because the lawyers understood that if they accused me publicly, they could go to leslie wexler, the owner of victoria's secret and say the same woman that accused dershowitz publicly seven times has accused you seven times, including making her wear victoria's secret type lingerie, and there are ways of resolving this. and they had a meeting. personally, david had a musing with leslie wexler's lawyers and -- david had a meeting with leslie wexler's lawyers and after the meeting's name disappeared from all of the court pleadings. the lawyer said we believe him, we think he is telling the truth. if you believe leslie wexler, you believe your own client has made up stories about him. all of this is coming out now. what is most speakable is that -- what is most despicable is
that david boys and the other lawyers are destroying the me too movement. they are putting forward accusations that they know or should know are absolutely false, and that discredits truthful people. he is not a hero of the me too movement, he is a villain of the me too movement. now we are having lawsuits and he is suing me for defamation, i am suing him for defamation, but the woman is claiming that i raped her, even though i never met her, and the idea that she admits she says that it was consensual, it didn't happen, but she says that because i knew that she was being enslaved by others, even if i had only consensual conduct that would constitute rape. we have motions now to dismiss that, but the idea that somebody who has never done anything wrong sexually ever -- i have never harassed a person, i've
never even told a bad joke. any of those things. when it comes to this aspect of my life, i can say like somebody says perfect attendance, i have been perfect. and yet i have been accused and people still believe that, and i've been accused by lawyers who should know that they are making false accusations. are false accusations. movement'she me too excesses, of the people who are exploiting the movement and trying to turn it into a racket. [no audio] -- [applause] mr. dershowitz: if you want to read about it, my book called "guilt by accusation" lays out the whole thing. $1.95 on kindle. you can see that there is not an iota of evidence that supports these false accusations. >> we will go point counterpoint and move on to the next subject. mr. shrum: perfect is probably
not the what i would use, given that it has been used a lot recently by someone else to describe something that was entirely in perfect. i'm not here to adjudicate what went on with professor dershowitz or didn't. i understand his acute sensitivity here and i make no judgment about the outcome of this situation. i know david boise, i have not seen him in years. i know him to be an honorable person, y'all don't know him, i understand that you are on dershowitz'srecto side. i know him to be an honorable person and i don't believe that he lied. the denial of public forums is a much more difficult thing. forum was denied to alan i think if the public dershowitz simply because they said we don't think he did anything but it would be "trouble," i think that is wrong.
[applause] mr. shrum: i also think that whether people are invited to speak on a campus, whether it relates to this issue or some other, that in many cases, evil are making very individual judgments based on very specific cases. if the 92nd street y did this , as i said, just because he would be trouble, that is a mistake. if they did this because they're worried it might be true and i want to be careful here, i understand that. finally, i think everybody is entitled to a lawyer, and i left out one thing. alan got very upset because i said it was despicable that he represented the worst president in american history. anctually think of something old line in the law that everybody is entitled to a
lawyer, but they are not entitled to this lawyer. you make choices. this relates to the me too movement. one of the things that has happened to professor dershowitz is because he represented jeffrey epstein, and because he got a very good deal for a very bad guy, people assume he must be guilty of this other stuff. i think that is wrong. i think lawyers, when they go to fight for a client, once they choose to represent that client, ought to fight as hard as they can and get a good his deal as they can. but i think that is partly why he is caught up in this. mr. dershowitz: you bring up a very good point. you are entire to a lawyer but not me. i've taught many years of ethics at harvard. i taught many students that you are entitled to a lawyer. how can i say, without being a hypocrite that you are entitled to me. i job is to represent the most
unpopular. the people that have difficulty getting a lawyer because i have tenure. i could not be fired. i was in the soviet union in the 1970's representing all those people because they could not get lawyers and the soviet union. i have to tell you, i am going to continue to represent the most despised, the most unpopular. and you know what, it's the most second critical appraisal was not the o.j. simpson case, it was when i represented o.j. simpson case, it was when i represented bill clinton. a lot people said what a disgraceful thing. you are representing the most horrible president in terms of his personal life and what he did in the oval office. i got such horrible accusations for helping bill clinton. again, the shoe fit comfortably on both feet. [applause] mr. shrum: i have to say i would not compare sharansky with donald trump. >> i would like to go to this
issue of not guilty by accusation, but something that troubles me, which is guilt by association. just because you represent the president of the united states should not make you, as it has for professor dershowitz, persona non grata in certain circles. we all have a right to associate with the policies of a president whom we may find odious. a lot of people had it in for bill clinton. a lot of people had it in for barack obama. being on the side of one of those presidents should not make you a pariah. for me, the guilt by association is very troubling. it made me think of a circumstance. last night, we had a professor here from stanford, university.
the professor studied primates in the jungle, and human behavior. mr. shrum: should have been here tonight. >> let me tell you, he studied republican and democratic primates. what he found was something really fascinating. , evene found was that though there is a tendency to consider someone of a different color alien, when that person puts on a baseball cap and you are from l.a. and it says los angeles dodgers, or a baseball cap that says san francisco, the skin color goes out the window. and there actually can even be areas, which he described in an episode in world war i where soldiers got out of the trenches during christmas eve and started celebrating together and they didn't want to go back and fight each other the next day until
their commanding officers forced them to go back to battle. if i'mogy is, look, driving down the road, and i see a family or a group of people in a broken down car, and the car has a maga sign on it, i will help that family. i don't care what the maga sign says. and if i see a bernie sanders sticker on the car, i will stop and help that family, and on a level of human compassion, we have to start putting aside this guilt by association tendency that seems so prevalent in our society that we ban people from speaking and we ban people from the opportunity of expressing their opinion. mr. shrum: i think that's absolutely right. i am the director at usc of something called the tenter for -- center for political future. my codirector is someone with whom i have waged many campaigns
on opposite sides and we have managed to maintain a friendship all through that. we have had speakers all through campus aseakers on varied as the man you gave an interview to on breitbart, stephanie cutter, nancy pelosi. i guess the rabbi's words were not heard. nancy pelosi and mark short, the chief of staff for the vice president of the united states. i had the former president of the national rifle association and we had a perfectly civil conversation, if i can use the word perfect. i didn't agree with him, a lot of students did not agree with him but nobody said he had no right to speak. and i am utterly opposed to saying people have no right to speak. mr. dershowitz: i have a question, you had all these people, the vice president, people trying to get donald trump elected president, did you ever call them despicable the
way you said it was despicable for me to represent the president of the united states? why do you draw lines between calling me despicable because i was a lawyer standing up for the constitution of the united states, but it is ok to not call despicable the people trying to get trump elected? i'm not trying to get trump elected, i'm trying to leave it to everybody to decide who to vote for. i'm trying to defend the constitutional right of all americans and you call that despicable? mr. shrum: that is not a question, that the speech. let me tell you something, you did not defend the constitution of the united states. you kicked the constitution of the united states into the gutter and i feel that very strongly and that's why i said it was despicable. you did not have to choose to represent this man, he does not
come up to the standard of the kind of powerless people you are talking about representing the four. i know people here don't agree with me, but i am not giving an inch on this. >> reasonable people, please, no shouting. reasonable people can agree to disagree and can say that defending an interpretation of impeachment and the constitution does not necessarily paint you with a red brush of guilt. i think that is, for me, the distinction that is significant, at the theater when we agreed to have this forum, we received a lot of facebook postings, how dare you have professor dershowitz in a debate or in a dialogue or a discussion, how dare you? you know what's interesting? when we had rachel maddow on her new book, unchallenged, when we had bernie sanders speaking on his book, unchallenged. we didn't get those facebook
posts, we didn't get those negative comments. so i am deeply troubled that just the idea of having this kind of conversation, heated as it has become is something that we should not do. that to me is not acceptable. mr. shrum: you should do it and it is right to do it. when lisa asked me if i would do it and then you asked me, i did not part, i said yes i would do it. i think that makes sense. i thought we had moved on from our earlier discussion about impeachment to talking about other issues. so i don't want to go back over all of this again, i think we both had our say. i do think there is an interesting question which maybe you will ask. we are talking about how everybody should be able to speak in these public forums and on campus. what about the bds movement? >> yes, thank you. that is a perfect transition.
now i know why you were a speechwriter. let's move on to that subject. because, the campus is an issue where freedom of speech is under assault. in a lot of forums where we have heard people from different political persuasions seek to speak, their voices have been silenced. there is a movement that has , as many of us have studied it, has been underway for over a decade called the bds movement, boycott, divestment, and planneds, which was a consorted, orchestrated, premeditated movement to isolate israel. there have been a lot of people who said, i'm not really attacking the jewish people, i'm just attacking israel. well, they forget to mention that happens to be the state of the jewish people. they are making a distinction
that for a lot of us doesn't add up. it does not make sense. what has been your experience in terms of rising anti-semitism and the bds movement? first of all the bds movement is an anti-free speech movement. let's start with that. it's anti-free speech. how do i know that? when oxford university invited me to debate bds, they invited the head of the bds movement. he said he refuses to debate dershowitz because he is a subject to bds because he is a jewish zionist. start out with bds is an anti-speech movement. i support the right of people to advocate bds. i support the right of people to advocate not renting houses to black people, jewish people, gay people. you have the right to advocate, you have a right to advocate anything. but if you dare not to rent to a
as you said, or if you dare not to rent to a gay person, you have committed a crime. i oppose the fact that bds is discriminatory. in fact, bds is not advocacy, it is, we will discriminate. we will not buy goods from, we will not have speakers from, we will not allow universities to work together. -- together with is really universities, it is the act of discrimination. not the advocacy of discrimination which is problematic. which is why i think that the bds movement itself is anti-civil liberties, anti-free speech and anti-semitic. why is it anti-semitic? because it only selects one country. there is no such thing as the bds movement, like the gay movement or feminist movement. bds doesn't apply to china. it doesn't apply to iran. it doesn't apply to belarus. it is a tactic directed only against the nationstate of the
jewish people and only against the jewish residents of israel. bds doesn't apply to arab residents, muslim residents, christian residents. it only applies to jewish residents. so, i am in favor of banning the act of discriminating based on national origin, based on religion, but i am not in favor of banning advocacy of bds as bds is not actually practiced. i helped the president of the drafting of his recent executive order which was a great boon to opposing, making anti-semitism and anti-zionism on-campus akin to anti-feminism, anti-gaia, all of the other bigotry's. but i insisted, and i did not have to fight for this, everybody agreed that the law should say this executive order
must be interpreted consistent with existing law which means the first amendment. nothing in the executive order can in any way undercut the first amendment. i support the first amendment. i think it comes before anything else but the first amendment does not protect actual acts of discrimination which is what it is. mr. shrum: i was going to say i entirely agree. i have a couple of other comments about it and then a question. first of all, i entirely disagree with bds. i cannot imagine ever supporting it under any circumstances. i've been to israel 40 or 50 times. i am not jewish.
i did -- a campaign when he defeated netanyahu which is probably why i hope mr. dershowitz fails. but the movement to boycott south africa was just about one country. i think it is wrong on the merits. it's wrong on the notion that somehow or other we will dictate the policy of a state like israel, single them out, make them the bad people. south africa deserved to be singled out. israel does not deserve to be singled out. i think that there are harder cases. while i tend to be a free speech absolutist, and i can remember dating with my friend larry five years ago whether or not the nazis should be permitted to march in skokie.
i think it becomes a more complicated question when you get to universities. i don't know the answer fully but i would not be party to inviting a nazi to speak at the university of southern california. i would not be party to inviting a holocaust denier to speak at the university of southern california. i do think we have to draw some lines. bds is not in that category. i don't agree with them, i think they are wrong. close my business is miracles. miracles do occur. i have one other question for you. having worked on that executive order, can you get him to reverse his decision to repeal
the executive order? >> i think it should be reversed. there should be no toleration for discrimination, based on sexual orientation. i'll do everything in my power to make sure that does not happen. do you think the democratic party, with the emergence of the influenceaving more in the democratic party? can they be counted on to fight against? there were votes in the house and the senate. those in the house, many democrats voted in a way that appeared to some not to be against bds. . -- >> what was the legislature?
>> it was complicated. it was not a clear vote, but it of thear that all pro-israel people voted one way and a lot of the non-pro-israel people voted the other way. stick to the squad. what do you think the leadership towards theuld be strong support for bds? >> i think the resolution was and using complicated it as a litmus test is a big mistake. very narrow view in the democratic party. i think democrats are pro-israel and will continue to be pro-israel.
we'll continue to stand up for israel and much two-year defense -- your regret, the democratic nominee will get 70% to 75% of jewish voters in december. de support bernie sanders for president? >> i will support any democratic nominee. not because i necessarily think that they are all great, but because i think that donald trump is the worst, most dangerous president in american history. around theack again circle, but let me say this about squad. . i was involved in holding a fundraiser in los angeles. engel, after the anti-somatic comments of omar
refused to boldly criticize her in front of the foreign relations committee and furthermore refused to kick her off that committee, i called eliot engel and i said, how is it possible that you could not find a way to stand up and condemn omar, who is on your committee? >> his answer was very telling. constituentsof my andof puerto rican origin they said if i do that, she will personally come in and campaigned for my defeat, in my own district. intimidationt of going on here. that goes on to the point that i was making about guilt by association.
>> he took into account his own political electability and changed a position that would have otherwise been a position against her, but because of his own election, changed his mind. >> we are talking about when the congress appropriated the money, they said you have to give the money. he held them off as blackmail. that is my view. i would like to stop talking about impeachment. about thehing ultimate political impact. alexander cortez got -- cortez
got elected. the party leader in queens had the district for many years and first got it when it was a catholic district. he took it for granted and he lost in a low turnout primary. i think the press is fascinated with aoc. i think she is a bit player in the democrat party. do not think she will become a major force in the party. she loves standing there with bernie sanders, and i think that as we look down the road, all of that is going to dissipate. democrats -- look, democrats have always been pro-israel. i know the republican jewish coalition is here, but democrats have been pro-israel. it was not, for example, democrats who sold warplanes to saudi arabia when they were mortal enemies of israel.
it was the reagan administration. so let's not partisanize this. jews in israel are so much better off when they do not become a partisan issue between the two parties. >> i agree with that, but the democrats are now showing a different attitude. elizabeth warren will not come to aipac. bernie sanders went to england and campaign for jeremy corbyn who was a virulent anti-cement. -- anti-semi. -- anti-semite. that we announce here today, i have never in my life voted against the democratic candidate for president. i will not vote for bernie sanders, no matter who his opponent is. i could not pull the lever for man who has supported and anti-semitic candidate in britain. he didn't have to go to britain. he went there, he endorsed him, he campaigned for him, and he has forever lost my support.
>> a lot of people share that opinion, but let me say this. i would like to wrap it up with a wonderful quote. you know this from jewish tradition, but it's one i have heard echoed by many friends of mine who were catholic priests. common decency precedes the bible. common decency precedes even the bible, the way we talk to one another, communicate with one another, even when violently disagreeing on points of law. the actual term common decency stems from the way of the earth. it's the way of the earth for us to be able to communicate with one another, especially when we disagree. i want to thank both of my guests here tonight. let's give them a nice, warm thank you as we shake hands. >> thank you very much. thank you both.
>> we can violently disagree, but i think we have some respect for each other. >> yes, we do. thank you. >> suspends washington journal live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. ofday morning, a discussion the week ahead in washington and campaign 2020. the hills national political reporter, al weaver and we will talk about the use of stop and frisk with the cato institute. march washington journal -- watch washington journal.
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