Abuse of power was "widely discussed" as an impeachable offense in the Constitution, but it was rejected for "constitutional criteria" as vague and broad, legal expert Alan Dershowitz will argue as a pro bono attorney on President Donald Trump's legal team.
"If you want to include the abuse of power, amend the Constitution," Dershowitz told CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360" on Friday in a panel discussion with anti-Trump lawyer Jeffrey Toobin.
"It won't get 10 votes in Congress, because half of the presidents of the United States have been accused by their political opponents of abuse of power. It's much too open-ended and too broad, and it would turn us into a parliamentary democracy, where Congress has too much power over the president."
Dershowitz said he will serve on Trump's legal team for the Senate trial, but "only to argue about the constitutional criteria" of the House Democrats' articles of impeachment, abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. He also vowed he will not accept a "penny" for himself in payment, and if he did he would donate it to charity.
"I worry about the weaponization of impeachment," Dershowitz told Toobin and host Anderson Cooper.
"These two articles don't rise to the level of an impeachable offense," he added when asked to take a position for or against Trump. "I'm against impeachment. I'm clear about that. It's unconstitutional. It would set a terrible precedent for this president to be impeached for these alleged articles of impeachment.
"I'm there to try to defend the integrity of the Constitution. That benefits President Trump in this case."
Dershowitz, a vocal nonpartisan, said he is staying out of all other arguments in the case, and speaking only to the words the framers put in place for impeachment – to which Toobin argued Dershowitz is trying to avoid defending the president.
"Let me be perfectly clear: I'm an advocate – I'm an advocate against impeachment – but I am politically neutral," Dershowitz said. "That is, I would make the same argument if it was a Democrat or Republican, and I don't let my political preferences interfere with my constitutional analysis.
"The country is helped when they hear from someone like me, who is a liberal Democrat who has always voted Democrat.
"I don't take my cases based on whether its a Democrat or a Republican, and I pass the shoe on the other foot test," he added.
"I don't think that's true of all of my colleagues or all of the folks on CNN, or on Fox or anybody else."
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