The purpose of the Jan. 6 House select committee and its primetime hearings is to make sure that former President Donald Trump will never be able to run for office again, but lawmakers on the panel aren't changing anyone's minds and the process.
And it won't likely end with the Justice Department bringing criminal charges against Trump, Harvard law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz said on Newsmax Friday.
"I think there's an enormous difference between doing something which is wrong politically, and I do think that President Trump's actions on Jan. 6, based on what I know, were wrong," Dershowitz, the author of the new book "The Price of Principle: Why Integrity Is Worth the Consequences," told Newsmax's "National Report."
"He should not have given the speech he gave. He should have told the people to go home earlier."
However to elevate Trump's actions to charge him with a crime, "you have to stretch the existing law or use phony criminal statutes, like RICO or conspiracy that can be stretched to fit almost anything," and Attorney General Merrick Garland should not be doing that and likely won't, Dershowitz said.
"He's a very dignified, distinguished person with a long background," he said of Garland.
"I just don't think he's going to allow the Justice Department to be weaponized against one party by another." Further, bringing criminal charges against Trump would "set a precedent" that will "lie around like a loaded gun, ready to be used by the other side and anybody else," said Dershowitz. "That's just not the American way."
Meanwhile, the Jan. 6 committee, consisting of all Democrats except for Reps. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., and Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., are partisan, said Dershowitz. However, he stressed that if the Republicans had a similar panel, "it would be equally one-sided."
Instead, it would have been better if there was a neutral commission, like the one that investigated the 9/11 attacks, "in which all sides were represented and all witnesses were cross-examined" than the type of hearings being held by the Jan. 6 committee, he added.
"This was not a hearing," Dershowitz said. "It was a narrative, a show that was staged, and it was entirely political. The goal was to make sure that Donald Trump could never run again."
Dershowitz, a Democrat, said if Trump runs for president in 2024, he won't be voting for him, but then again, he added, "I voted against him twice."
"I'm a liberal Democrat, but I want fairness and due process," said Dershowitz. "We're not getting that from this hearing. We're getting a one-sided narrative whose conclusions were established before a single witness was called."
He further said he doesn't think the hearings will change Trump's mind about running again in 2024, as they "have his back up against the wall."
"Look, he knows that Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger were hand-picked by the Democrat leaders because they were Republicans in order to lend artificial credibility to the hearing," said Dershowitz.
"Imagine if the Republicans did the same, if they picked two very conservative Democrats, who they could count on to vote their way every time and say, Aha — see? The committee has Democrats and Republicans," he continued. "That's why the rules of Congress require that the minority party gets to pick its own members.
"The majority leader or the speaker of the House doesn't get to pick the Republican members and that's what's happened here. You know it would be as if the prosecution gets to pick the jury in a criminal case. That's just unprincipled and wrong."
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Sandy Fitzgerald ✉
Sandy Fitzgerald has more than three decades in journalism and serves as a general assignment writer for Newsmax covering news, media, and politics.
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