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Conservatives Roundly Criticize Elizabeth Warren, Say Dershowitz Took Her to ‘Legal Woodshed’


Noted O.J. Simpson and Jeffrey Epstein lawyer, Harvard Law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz, made an hour-long case on Monday that even if President Donald Trump did what he is accused of–abuse of power and obstruction of Congress–that’s not an impeachable offense. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) immediately responded by saying the presentation was “nonsensical.” Dershowitz, and a number of the president’s conservative supporters, shot back.

Warren, Dershowitz’s former Harvard colleague, tweeted on Monday that his argument was “contrary to both law & fact.” She said separately that “criminal law professor” Dershowitz’s “characterization of the law simply is unsupported.”

“He is a criminal law professor who stood in the well of the Senate and talked about how law never inquires into intent and that we should not be using the president’s intent as part of understanding impeachment,” Warren said. “Criminal law is all about intent. Mens rea is the heart of criminal law. That’s the very basis of it. So it makes his whole presentation just nonsensical. I truly could not follow it.”

Others promptly echoed these thoughts.

But Dershowitz responded on Tuesday afternoon, saying Warren’s inability to follow his argument–that you need a crime to impeach–says more about her than him.

“Warren doesn’t understand the law. My former colleague, Senator Warren, claims she could not follow my carefully laid out presentation that everybody else seemed to understand. This says more about Warren than it does about me,” Dershowitz tweeted. “She also willfully mischaracterized what I said, claiming that I spoke about ‘intent.’ I challenge her to find that word anywhere in my presentation.”

“I talked about the difficulty of discerning mixed motives. If Warren knew anything about criminal law she would understand the distinction between motives – which are not elements of crime—and intent, which is,” he continued. “It’s the responsibility of presidential candidates to have a better understanding of the law.”

Many conservatives, whether they be in Congress, on cable news, or practice law, immediately backed up Dershowitz. They said, una voce, that Dershowitz had taken Warren to the “legal woodshed.” They also criticized Warren for pejoratively referring to Dershowitz as a “criminal law professor.”

Dershowitz said on Monday that he would have made the same argument if Hillary Clinton were the one impeached.

Dershowitz’s remarks in 1998 suggested otherwise, but he says he wasn’t wrong then–just more correct now.

[Image via PBS screengrab]

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Matt Naham is the Senior A.M. Editor of Law&Crime.