01:20 GMT17 January 2021
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    Donald Trump has mocked his Attorney General Jeff Sessions for indictments of Republicans. On Twitter, Trump claimed that the indictments by the Justice Department could end up hurting the party in the midterm elections. Sputnik discussed this with Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz, a bestselling author of "The Case Against Impeaching Trump".

    Sputnik: How can these latest statements impact the already-strained relations between Trump and Sessions?

    Alan Dershowitz: Well, first of all, I think it was improper for the president to criticize the attorney general for indicting Republicans on eve of the election. The justice department is supposed to be apolitical and completely neutral, and we don't want to have a president telling the justice department to indict Democrats but not to indict the Republicans, or if they're going to indict the Republicans to wait after the election. That, it seems to me, is an improper influence on the justice department.

    READ MORE: 'Fix is In': Trump Close to Firing Jeff Sessions — Report

    The president has the legal right to do it, but it’s not the right thing to do, it doesn’t send the right message to the justice department. Look, there is a toxic relationship between the president and the attorney general; the president and the attorney general don't get along with each other, the president believes that the attorney general betrayed him by recusing himself from the Russia probe.

    So we’re going to see this kind of thing until after the midterm elections, and at that point maybe we’ll see Sessions resign or the president fire him, and then we'll have a big controversy as to whether he did it in order to influence the investigation of himself.

    Sputnik: Why hasn’t Trump fired the attorney general already if he’s that unhappy with him?

    Alan Dershowitz: I think he’d like to and he has the power to, but I think he realizes that: a) (there will be) enormous pushback both from the public and the media and b) that he’d have a hard time replacing him. Anybody he nominates, the Democrats will do anything in their power to prevent that nomination from being confirmed; that will be especially the case after the midterms if the Democrats pick up a vote or two in the Senate which would make it even more difficult.

    Sputnik: Who would be best placed to replace Jeff Sessions if he was to be replaced? And what kind of impact could it have on the Russian probe?

    Alan Dershowitz: Almost half a century ago when Richard Nixon ended Watergate and when Gerald Ford became president, he picked the president of a university, the dean of a law school to become attorney general, somebody was non-political, non-partisan, somebody who had the respect of everybody in the United States, a man named Edward Levi, and that worked very, very well. Would Trump ever do that? I don’t think so, but he has to pick somebody who is above reproach. If he picks anybody who is seen as a crony or a partisan, I think it would be hard to even get some Republicans to confirm the nomination.

    Sputnik: Now how can these disagreements that are currently happening at the moment impact on the upcoming midterm elections? Do you have a take on that?

    Alan Dershowitz: I don’t think it’s going to have a big impact on the elections, elections tend to be decided based on the local matters, on economics, it could have a small impact, but I think in general we're seeing a little bit of a trend towards the Democrats, whether it’s enough to retake the House of Representatives or to take the Senate is very much up in the air, but it will all depend on (voter) turnout. One of the reasons why Trump won the last election was that turnout was much lower than it was when Obama ran for president.

    Jeff Sessions was an early supporter of Trump, Trump nominated him and I think he thought he would be a perfect attorney general: loyal, experienced, somebody who is very much admired in the Senate, but then he recused himself and that came as a total surprise to the President and a blow.

    I think the president has a point there, probably, Sessions should have told him before he got the job that if the Russia probe gets close to him he would have to recuse himself, and then I think the president never would’ve given him the job, he would’ve appointed somebody else, somebody who couldn’t recuse himself.

    Sputnik: Some experts have noted that if Donald Trump does indeed fire Jeff Sessions it could be seen as an obstruction of the justice that could lead to the president's impeachment, what’s your take on that, is that really the case, is it an impeachable offense?

    Alan Dershowitz: It is not, I’m categorical about that, and I wrote a book called "The Case Against Impeaching Trump" where I proved that in order for it to be an impeachable offense it has to be a crime. You can’t impeach a president for acting on his power under the constitution, and firing Sessions is within the power of the president.

    In fact, an earlier president was impeached for firing a cabinet member, Andrew Johnson, and the Senate didn’t vote to remove him. I’m certain that firing Sessions would not possibly be an impeachable offense. Whether the Democrats, if they gain control of the House will impeach him is a political question, but constitutionally there would be no right to impeach him.

    The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect Sputnik's position.





    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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