U.S. President Donald Trump has turned to some legal heavyweights to help defend him in his Senate impeachment trial with the addition on Friday of former independent counsel Ken Starr, who paved the way for former President Bill Clinton's 1998 impeachment, and prominent lawyer Alan Dershowitz.
Dershowitz argued on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday that he will be arguing in the Senate that abuse of power and obstruction of Congress do not amount to impeachable offenses, even if proven.
Jeffrey Toobin, a former federal prosecutor and CNN's lead legal analyst, said in the segment that Dershowitz “is saying, and you correct me if I am wrong, is that even if everything that the Democrats allege is true, there's still no impeachable offense here, and so that means there is no need for witnesses, is that right?"
Dershowitz responded, "Well, that is partly right. I mean, if a person is indicted on something that not a crime, you don't call the witnesses."
Toobin and Dershowitz clashed in a different CNN segment the day before with Toobing asking Dershowitz, “Alan, why are you playing these semantic games? Whose side are you on? I mean, you're part of the defense team. Why? Are you embarrassed?”
Dershowitz responded, “I'm on the side -- I'm on against -- I'm against impeachment. I'm clear about that. I think it would be unconstitutional. It would set a terrible precedent for this president to be impeached for these alleged articles of impeachment. So, I feel very strongly. I will make a strong argument against impeachment.”
The team defending the Republican president will be led by White House counsel Pat Cipollone and Trump private attorney Jay Sekulow, the White House said.
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Trump adviser and former Florida attorney general Pam Bondi and former independent counsel Robert Ray will also be on the team, according to the source familiar with the team's composition.