tv Alan Dershowitz Bob Shrum Impeachment Debate CSPAN February 26, 2020 1:35pm-2:51pm EST
defense secretary mark esper and joint chiefs of staff chair general mark milley just wrapping up their testimony on the president's fiscal 2021 budget request for the department of defense. if you missed any of their testimony, you can watch the hearing in its entirety on c-span2 tonig:00 tonight at 8:0 eastern.
next, criminal defense attorney alan dershowitz debates democratic consultant robert shrum on the politics of impeachment, the "me too" movement and anti-semitism. the beverly hills temple of the arts hosts the event. >> well, tonight should be a humdinger. i'm looking forward to it. to moderate, we have nothing less than a judge, judge alex kosinski who is seated in the center. many of you know him, he was appointed to the united states circuit court for the ninth circuit on november 7th, 1985, and served as chief judge from 2007 to 2014, graduating from ucla and from ucla law school, receiving a jd in 1975.
and prior to his appointment to the appellate bench judge kosinski served as chief judge of the united states claims court from '82 to 85 and special counsel to the merit systems protection board. and he retired from the bench in 2017 after 35 years of judicial service. [ applause ] judge kosinski is married to marcy jane tiffany and has three children, yale, wyatt, and clayton, and three grandmother, quinn, owen, and anna. we thank you for being here, judge kosinski. [ applause ] now, we mentioned ucla, so we must give usc equal time. and we're really honored to have robert shrum, who is the carmen h. and louis warshaw chair in
practical politics and director of the usc center for the political future. [ applause ] professor shrum is director of the center. and he's a former strategist and consultant who was described as, quote, the most sought-after consultant in the democratic party by "the atlantic monthly." he served as speechwriter to new york mayor john lindsay from 1970 to '71, and speechwriter and press secretary to the late senator edward kennedy from 1980 to '84. he served as senior adviser to the gore/lieberman campaign in 2000 and the kerry/edwards campaign in 2004. other clients include barbara mikulski and joe biden in their senate campaigns, bob casey in
his run for governor and tom bradley in his run for mayor of los angeles. author and professor robert shrum. [ applause ] and we're really honored to have with us alan dershowitz, professor dershowitz -- [ cheers and applause ] -- a brooklyn native who has been called one of the nation's most distinguished defenders of individual rights, an international treasure, the best known criminal lawyer in the world, and has been named the jewish state's lead attorney in the court of public opinion. he is the felix frankfurter professor of law emeritus of harvard law school, a graduate of brooklyn college and yale law school, and joined the harvard faculty at age 25, becoming a full professor at 28, the youngest in the school's history, and 50 years of teaching over 10,000 students. [ applause ]
prolific author, recipient of numerous awards, and i don't know if you remember this, professor dershowitz, but the yeshiva that you went to in high school and that i went to in high school were competing, in what was called the inter-yeshiva conference. you have went to bta, myself to long island. we're thrilled to have them here tonight. we have a three-part program. part one, debate. part two, dialogue. and part three, discussion. because we have to learn what our differences of opinion are on a whole range of subjects and how we can create common ground so that we can communicate with one another and how we are best able to reach one another in this very stratified and divided
society we live in. and that's why tonight's program will have three parts. i've asked that part one, which is a debate on the politics of impeachment, that each respondent, professor dershowitz and professor shrum, speak for ten minutes each. somebody said why so short. when i was taught public speaking by a wonderful teacher who used an analogy related to oil wildcatting, he used to say, if you haven't struck oil in ten minutes, quit boring. so we're going to hopefully enable you to strike oil very quickly. and then we'll have a point and counterpoint on this issue. this issue that's been so divisive, that we would like to hear more about. i'll be replacing judge kosinski for part two, which will be a discussion and dialogue on a number of important issues that affect us.
and the last part of which will relate to rising anti-semitism and the bds movement. so right now i'll turn things over to judge kosinski who will begin the program today by asking the first respondent to discuss the issue of the politics of impeachment. who would like to begin? >> professor dershowitz, you have the floor. >> well, i'm happy to begin. [ applause ] i'm a liberal democrat who voted for all the people that bob worked for. my political mentors in many ways where ted kennedy. i worked on the mcgovern campaign. i worked on all the democratic campaigns. i worked hard for the election of hillary clinton. i worked hard for the defeat of president donald trump in an election. but i strongly, strongly, strongly opposed his impeachment. i believe that -- [ applause ]
-- duly elected presidents should be removed from office only, only when there is a broad-based consensus and bipartisan support for impeachment and removal. the only president in american history who was properly subject to impeachment was richard nixon. and it never came to that because it was so clear that he had committed impeachable offences that he voluntarily or maybe not so voluntarily resigned. andrew johnson was improperly impeached. bill clinton was improperly impeached. i in fact was part of the bill clinton defense team and testified in front of congress against his impeachment. i was the only person who spoke in the senate against the impeachment of donald trump who also spoke against the impeachment of bill clinton. in fact the only other time i was on the senate floor was when i stood up and defended alan cranston, the great liberal
democratic senator of california. so for me, impeachment is never and should never be a partisan issue. i think everybody has to pass what i call the shoe on the other foot test. and what i asked the senators to do, i said to each of them, please, imagine that the person being impeached was of the opposite party, and you are of the opposite party. and ask yourself what neutral principles would justify impeachment. and then i went through what one of my rabbis called a talmudic dialogue about the six words that were the subject of the debate on the senate floor. the six words were "and other high crimes or other high crimes or misdemeanors." everyone knows what treason means, it's in the constitution. everybody knows what bribery means, it's a common term that had meaning in common law at the time the constitution was written.
but what does "or other high crimes and misdemeanors" mean? obviously there is the simple facial meaning of the term. when you have two words, treason and bribery, and then the word "other," the word "other" requires that crimes and misdemeanors be akin to treason and bribery. that's the obvious intended meaning. so that high crimes, we know that means crimes like extortion, crimes like bribery, crimes like perjury which bill clinton was accused of committing. what about misdemeanors? you go back and look at what misdemeanors meant in common law. misdemeanors were a species of crime. they were a crime. at common law there was something called a capital misdemeanor. you could actually be executed for committing a misdemeanor. that's how serious misdemeanors were. and so there's a heavy, heavy burden of proof on those who would defy the plain meaning of
the terms "or other high crimes and misdemeanors." what happened is a bunch of sophists on the other side tried to give those words a meaning that was partisan in effect and intent. what they said was, well, misdemeanors means what it meant when the british, when the british impeached people, forgetting that the british never impeached a prime minister, never impeached a king, never impeached anybody at a very important level. impeachment was used in england for very low level or medium level administrators. and then when the framers tried to introduce the british system through the use of the term maladministration, which one of the framers said let's make that a criteria for impeachment, madison said no, no r, we can'to that, that would turn the united states, a republic, into a british style parliamentary
democracy where the president serves at the pleasure of the legislature, remember, in great britain and israel, the president or the prime minister, the head of state, can be thrown out of office by a simple majority vote of the parliament. and madison said, we don't want that in this country, we want a strong executive, not an executive subject to the whim or pleasure of the legislature. the argument was overwhelming in its logic, overwhelming in its historical basis, overwhelming in its epistemology, and yet virtually every professor in the united states rejected that argument. larry tribe called it bonkers. others said i was becoming senile for making that argument. and yet if it had been president hillary clinton and she had been impeached on the same ground every single one of those professors would have told me how brilliant i was and they would have built a statue to me on martha's vineyard.
[ applause ] it was such blatant hypocrisy for them suddenly to switch sides. in the 19 thchlth century when n was impeached the dean of the columbia law school said of course you need a crime, the weight of authority is on the side of a crime. the former jufrstice of the supreme court who with defended johnson said of course you need a crime, but even if i'm wrong, even if history were to support the other side, the idea that we don't have a debate about this, that it just results in name calling, that thousands of professors, most of whom have notified what they're talking about, are prepared to sign a petition saying that my views are wrong, a bunch of professors led by your congressman, congressman in this area, and led by congressman, uh, in new york, and by schumer, actually got up on the floor of the senate and said that i was not a
constitutional law expert. having taught constitutional procedure as part of criminal procedure for 50 years, having litigated over 100 constitutional cases, having written dozens of articles and books about the constitution, they claimed i was not a constitutional expert because i came out on the wrong side of the issue. if i had been defending hillary clinton, they would have been praising my constitutional expertise. and then just one more point and then i'll sit down. the worst offenders were the two congre congressmen plus senator schumer but the worst offender was cnn. let me explain why. so -- [ applause ] -- and i'm going to ask for your advice. i'm going to ask for your advice here tonight. here's what happened. ted cruz through the chief justice asked me a very simple question. what about quid pro quo? is that an impeachable offense? and here's my full answer, and you can see it online, you can
hear it, you can see it, not on cnn, you can see it on any honest channel, here was my answer, i said, i'm very honored to have just come back from the white house where i saw saw theg of the peace plan. i said, what if in the peace plan, i gave a whole series of hypotheticals, what if in the peace plan the israelis were told that unless you stop the settlements you're not getting any money. that would be a quid pro quo. the palestinians were told, unless you start terrorism you aren't going to get any money. that would be all quid pro quo. there is nothing wrong with a quid pro quo unless it involves something that is illegal. but if it's illegal, then a quid pro quo is impeachable. if it involves corrupt conduct. if it involves self dealing. if it involves a kick back. then it would be illegal. but if it was not anything illegal, the mere fact that a public figure and i didn't limb limit it to the president, any member of congress, any elected
official had, a mixed motive and was thinking not only about the public interest but about his own electoral interest, that mixed motive could not be subject to an impeachment without any illegal conduct. so here's what cnn said. they took it out of context. they eliminated the part about criminal. they eliminated the part about corrupt. and they said, dershowitz said, if a president thinks his election is in the national interest, he can do anything, including shoot his opponent, rig the machines, and this was your friend paul begalia who said that, and cnn simply doctored the interview. it was as if i said the following. let me tell you what i don't believe. i don't believe a president can do anything, and cnn puts on, a president can do anything, dershowitz said, leaving out "i don't believe," so my question to you is this, and i leave you
with this question, i am a first amendment believer, i was one of the law clerks who wrote the opinions in "the new york times" versus sullivan but i do not believe the first amendment protects a willful deliberate malicious doctoring of a tape to make somebody say something exact opposite of what he said. so my question to you is, should i sue cnn? [ applause ] >> i must express my admiration for professor dershowitz. he left just enough time within his time to allow for a standing
ovation. [ laughter ] >> mr. shrum, i expect every bit of a standing ovation. [ laughter ] >> i'm a little doubtful of that, because before the event, i was in the holding room, and the reception -- >> here, you got it? >> i got it. i was in the holding room, and there were all of these trump for president buttons. and there was all of these pamphlets from the republican jewish coalition, so i don't think i'm exactly at home. i'm on the west side. i'm in beverly hills. i think you're kind of an atypical crowd for this part of town.
i also have, i also have some bad news for professor dershowitz and for those of you who applauded him, adam schiff will get re-elected to congress by a record margin. we're going to talk about civility a little bit later, but i think that's an undisputable fact. secondly, it was interesting to me, and i'm not going to argue the legal case at length with alan dershowitz, i'm in no position to do that, i went to harvard law, thank you, that was kind, i went to harvard law school, and the only thing i did of any note was when the ames competition which is the moot court competition, i would note that on these legal issue, and i was told we were going to talk about the political implications of impeachment, which i'm going to talk about, alan sort of i
think rehearsed his speech to the senate, and then added an attack on cnn. he did, he did note that a lot of people disagreed with him. the exact quote from "the new york times" is most of the scholars disagree with me. i think they're wrong. i think they're right. and we can have a debate about that. but i don't think it's fair for example to question the motives of people to the extent of saying that if hillary clinton had been impeached for doing what donald trump did, all those people would have necessarily been on the other side. i think when you start using lines, i'm sorry, guys, you may not want to hear, it but you're not going to like what you hear in nover from the voters either. i think -- >> professor shrum, keep it
civil, please. >> i was going to say, i'm perfectly happy to have a civil discussion here and i do think we should not use words like hypocrisy, we should not use words like questioning people's motives, and i do not think that it advances public dialogue to join president trump in quoting cnn and in trashing cnn, and alan, my advice to you, as a nonpracticing lawyer, would be don't sue them, you'll lose. now, during the impeachment trial, and this is the quote i think you were talking about, and i think i have, i think i have -- what do you want? what's he talking about? i have no idea what you're talking about? and i may be the better for it. >> please, let's have some civility. this is rude. we're here to listen and learn.
i apologize. >> no problem. i sort of knew coming in here that this was going to be like this. but they asked me to do it, so i said i'd do it. anyway -- >> i'm giving you an extra two minutes. >> i don't need if. the exact quote, if a president does something that he believes will do something to help him get elected in the public interest, that cannot be the kind of quid pro quo that results in impeachment. >> now he explained that statement now but i think it is profoundly off base. in fact, earlier when he used the word extortion as a grounds for impeachment, i think what the president did the ukrainian was exactly extortion. but beyond that, beyond that, he argued that a mere abuse of power was not a grounds for
impeachment. well, what if a president started a conflict in october of the election year to get re-elected, and he has war making powers, and evidence came out that his motive was purely political? he would have had the power, but we have abused the power. it is exactly in my view what should be impeachable. now, i want to talk about the aftermath of all of this. if you decide that a president who obstructs justice can't be indicted, and a president who abuses power can't be impeached, then you give the president a license to engage in wholesale abuse. since the trial, that's what donald trump has done. we've seen that with roger stone. we've seen that with the purging of law enforcement officials. and you know, i think there are some people who have agreed with me, and they also listened to professor dershowitz. i'm perfectly happy to take any of your questions at any point, i'm perfectly happy to debate
any of you, but i'm going to make my case. [ applause ] >> we've seen the purging of law enforcement officials and others who testified in the impeachment proceedings, demands for reexamination of the flynn case, a statement that he has the right to interfere in justice department criminal cases, and i saw an interview that professor dershowitz gave on breitbart radio where he said well obama did this and i hold in my hand a 302 that indicates that there is going to be a lawsuit about this. but he didn't say what the lawsuit was. he gave no evidence. we don't know what would be in that lawsuit. and it reminds me of joseph mccarthy who went to wheeling west virginia and said i hold in my hands the names of 200 officials in the state department who have communist ties. so we're -- >> we're not questioning motives but we're calling me mccarthy. that's really good. >> no i didn't call you a
mccarthy, i said that is a mccarthy-ite tactic. what's the case? >> you will find out about it very soon. >> oh, isn't that great. >> it is great. >> let me -- >> i have aa-client to represent who has not given me the authority to disclose the specifics but i will disclose the specifics, which mccarthy did. i have a 302, which i will be happy to show you, which pinpoints the fact that the president of the united states started the investigation. >> by the way. >> >> you may not like it. it is not mccarthyism. >> he said it was done on behalf of george soros, that is one of the worst great wing mems that we have going around this country today. >> but it's true. >> you know what, alan? you and donald trump are under the mistaken assumption that if you believe something, it's true. this actually has to be settled in a court of law. >> it will. >> yeah, and you'll lose.
politically, what are the consequences of all of this? in the quinnipiac poll, 55 to 40 voters say acquittal did not clear trump of wrong doing. among independents it's 55 to 40. the president's approval is at 43%. it has not budged since -- i'm sorry. it has not, i know, so you're going to cite the gallup poll. so in the real clear politics average, his approval is at 45%. in the -- >> they want you to talk into the mic. >> into the mic? >> in the reuters ipsos poll, 49% of the people believed that impeachment was the right thing to do and only 41% disagreed. only 39% thought the president was innocent of the charges brought against him. so i'd like to look at that in terms of the 2020 election. and first, i would cite the clinton precedent and what happened in the year 2000. after that impeachment, after
the trial, after he was acquitted, he had a very high job approval, and he had a very low personal approval. and if you went out and talked to focus group, they just wanted it all to be gone. their kids had seen things on television they didn't want them to see. that opened the way for george w. bush, i'm shush the people in the republic coalition here won't mind this, to run on the proposition that he was going to change very little, he was going to have a tax cut to share the prosperity, but he was going to preserve the budget surplus, but he would restore honor and dignity to the white house. that was all about the clinton impeachment. i think the same overhang is likely for trump. he's the only president since polling began never to be above 50% approval. and i think impeachment reinforces the public reaction to a pattern of continuing
presidential misconduct. he has actually broken the historic connections so far between approval on the economy and job approval in general. there's about a 20% higher job approval for him on the economy than there is job approval in general. i'll conclude by saying, my view is that trump can't win the election. but the democrats can lose the election. do you do this at synagogue every week? actually, for example, the health care question and medicare for all, medicare for all could invert the democratic advantage on health care. where issues like pre-existing conditions help drive a democratic victory in 2018, trump will run a scorched earth campaign against the democratic nominee and if that nominee's
positions or records propel voters to otherwise vote democratic, trump will be re-elected. not for his virtues, if i can use that word, but because the democrats once again lose the unlosable election. [ applause ] >> professor dershowitz gets a chance to respond. i know you have a number of things to respond to but i have a question that i may be able to work in because i didn't understand. >> yes. >> you made a distinction between the impeachment of president clinton -- >> yes. >> who you defended. >> yes. >> and president trump who you defended. >> yes. >> and again, this is a question. >> sure. >> what president clinton was accused of doing was in fact, doing -- >> that's right. >> and i am just wondering, on the theory of -- >> yeah, i had a very simple answer. >> whether it is impeachable or not, why is that not impeachable?
>> because the constitution said was high crimes. and what clinton did was a low crime. it was a crime of personal misconduct, not a crime of governmental misconduct. it is much like what happened to alexander hamilton. alexander hamilton, you may remember, if you're a scholar of history, or if you've seen the play, remember it was seduced by a woman while he was secretary of the treasury and the woman's husband then came and demanded extortion payments, which he paid. those were not impeachable offense, although adultery was a felony at the time. but then the extortionist went over to hamilton, and said, unless you pay me more money, i will say you got the money from the treasury department. and use that money to pay the extortion. and of course, he didn't get the money from the treasury department. and he issued a pamphlet which was very embarrassing for him and his family, in which he admitted the affair, admitted the extortion but said he paid the money personally, actually he paid the money from his
wife's funds which made it ironic of course, and the framers all had one thing in common, they married very rich women and his wife didn't know she was paying the extortion money. but i want to throw a question back at my distinguished opponent. i want to ask you this question directly. if a public official, an elected official, says to himself, you know, i want to take an action, i want to vote in a certain way, i think it will help the national interest, but i think it will also help my election, is that a crime or impeachable offense? it's a rhetorical question. because of course it's not. that's exactly what i said. and mr. shrum you have totally distorted what i said. let me read you what i said. >> i think i quoted you. >> no, you didn't. >> i did. >> no, you didn't. what you did is you left out the words before and the words after. you quoted me as saying this is what i don't believe, a
president can do anything, and you quoted me as saying, a president can do anything. you did exactly what cnn did. you left out the following words. if the quid pro quo were illegal. you deliberately left out those words. and if you put those words in, what it says, is, if a president does something illegal, if i had said that, which he believes will help him get elected, that would be the issue. now, what i said was, if a president does something perfectly legal, which he believes will get him elected, that cannot be the kind of quid pro quo that results in impeachment. shame on you for repeating the sin of cnn. you may have persuaded me, because you are an honest and decent man whose motives i won't challenge, but because you have
indulged in the same kind of gutter politics as cnn has, then i may very well have to sue cnn, to make sure that people like you can never repeat the canard that i said a president can do anything. i challenge you to read my entire quote to the audience, not do what cnn did. go ahead. here's the quote. the whole quote. read it. not just the excerpt. read the quote. >> i'm going to say several -- no, listen, guys, listen, guys, we can either have a discussion, and we can be civil, which alan just was not, or i can respond in kind. i find it shameful that someone i admired for years represented the single most reprehensible person ever to sit in the oval office as president of the united states. secondly, talk about, talk
about -- >> secondly. >> talk about mccarthyism. >> i'm going to talk. i didn't interrupt you. don't interrupt me. secondly, when you listen to his explanation about that quote, i defy anybody in this audience to figure out what the hell he was saying. the quote says, and it's exact, if a president does something which he believes will help him get elected in the public interest, that cannot be the kind of quid pro quo that results in impeachment. i know what he is saying. he is saying he has to commit a crime. i don't agree with that. i don't think that the president, president clinton should have been impeached at all, i don't think high crimes and misdemeanors means crimes in the conventional sense, and i think if abuse of power is not an impeachable offense, then democracy in this country is in terrible, terrible trouble. obviously, the rhetorical question that alan asked if a public official says to himself, i'm going to vote this way, because i'm going to get myself
re-elected and that's in the national interest, obviously that is not an impeachable offense. >> that's exactly what i said. >> you know, alan, would you like to have the stage to yourself. i think you'd love it. i think you'd love it. so let me finish. >> i'd like to hear truth from the other side. >> alan, you know, you think you have the truth. >> i do. >> just like donald trump thinks he has the truth. >> mccarthyism. >> but due get to decide. so, but you don't get to decide. so either be quiet or i'm not going to say a word. >> that's your choice. >> we can have a choice. >> no, your choice is to sut up and maybe judge kozinski can maybe get you to shut up. >> in my view -- >> the final point i was making and i don't think in the balance of time that there is any inequity here and in fact, if there is any, it is on the other side of this podium, if a public official does that, you know, i don't think it is an impeachable offense, but if congress has appropriated money that is
supposed to go to ukraine, for its military defense, and the president withholds that money, and the signals are sent to the ukrainians, that they're not going to release it until there's an investigation of joe and hunter biden, i think that's an impeachable offense. >> okay. let's just remember one thing that shrum said and that is that it is despicable that i was the lawyer for the president of the united states. that is the most mccarthy-ite statement i've heard. i grew up during mccarthyism. when lawyers were held responsible for their clients. the next thing he's going to say is that it was despicable that i represented michael mill ken. it was des despicable sherranskd it is despicable that i represent benjamin netanyahu. mccarthyism squared. and now it is despicable that the lawyer represents benjamin netanyahu the president of israel and it is despicable that
a lawyer represents the president of the united states. that is a new meaning to mccarthyism. >> i think, had i been, reclaiming the stage, we've promised you an exciting debate, and i think you got it. let's have a round of applause for both of our participants. [ applause ] >> thank you, judge kozinski. i don't think there's enough manner chevits, in california to give us a little calming now on this issue, and i want to ask the audience, i know there are a lot of passions, and we're going to to get to this issue of passion and politics, and the breakdown of communication, which unfortunately we're seeing a little bit of, up here on the stage, but you know, people's reputations and their personal, their personal reputations that they have built over a lifetime, are very precious, and valuable,
so i would like to ask both of you to stick to the issues of the issue at hand, and what i want to transition to now is the subject of the me too movement. many of you know that professor dershowitz wrote a book "guilt by accusation," i'm sure professor shrum has seen with some of the cases at usc that have occurred where women were abused by people they put their trust in, and the cases of harvey weinstein, of epstein, bill cosby, many of you have seen that women have been subject to significant abuse, and i guess some would say it is as old as the casting couch in hollywood, but the fact is, we live in a different era now, where women's rights are in the forefront and there's been this tremendous explosion that's built up over, i think decades
of people feeling abused. women feeling abused by men of power, especially men who are predators, and the question for me becomes and i'd like both of you to comment on this, has the pendulum swung too far? or is it acceptable? and i'll tell you a couple of quick examples, and then i'd like to hear your take. one example is a number of men in the congregation telling me, i'm just not hiring women anymore, i'm going to hire guy, i'm not hiring women, i don't want to take a chance of a sexual harassment lawsuit because of something i said, i compliment a woman's appearance and i'm told by my legal counsel you can't do that, you can say you have a beautiful dress on today but you can't say you look beautiful, i as a rabbi recently had an experience where three months ago one of the woman who was in the office, when i came in, was on the phone crying, and
i said amy, what happened, my father just died, and i went over and gave her a hug, and our labor lawyer said you can't do that, you have to ask a permission, can i give you a hug. have we swung too far. and is it the curb your enthusiasm where larry david put his camera down, his iphone on table as he was beginning to kiss his date and said i want to make sure you're in complete agreement with me going ahead and kissing you. so the question i want to ask, both, and i'll start with professor shrum has the movement swung too far? are we in a place, in a society, where we can get accused and convicted and where the fear of this women's retribution is making people do things like not hiring women and hiring men for positions that they're perfectly capable of fulfilling? >> first, i have to say that
it's ironic that there are three men up here on this stage discussing this. there should be women up here discussing this. secondly, i have to observe that you better tell your friend, if he's got a pattern and practice of not hiring women, he's in relation of the federal civil rights laws, and better be careful. third, i think it has been, you know, i understand the frustration some people have, i understand that people can be falsely accused, i think that's happened, but for time immemorial, women have not been believed, women have not been listened to, these complaints have been brushed off, and i think that the me too movement is good for our society. i think it will make the country a better place. now, do i think that those things -- thank you. do i think that those things,
and the elements of that can be carried too far? of course. do i think that mere accusation should make someone guilty? of course not. but we also are in a situation, and this isn't just the me too movement now, this hassen what what has gone on for example in the catholic church, we are in a situation where there are circumstances under which there is a cascade of accusations, not one lone accusation, but a cascade of accusations, there may be a statute of limitations, you can't find out in a criminal court whether this happened, and so you go forward either as the church has finally done, for example, in the case of cardinal mccarrick, to basically defrock them out and send them out to some place in kansas. >> finally. >> finally. i agree. i think it took forever. but it is true forever, we have denigrated women, we have denigrated their complaint, and i think it's wrong, and i think we have to change it, we can't
get though to the point where we say everybody is guilty, simply because one person accused them of something. you need to investigate it. you need to find out. but look at roger ales. i mean there were, finally the dam broke, i don't know how many of you have seen the movie but finally the dam broke and fox conducted and investigation, and he was clearly guilty, there was no criminal process, there wasn't even civil process, although there have been a series of lawsuits settled, and he was fired, and i think that was the right thing to do. so i would not roll back this movement. i would continue to insist that people ought to be treated in a responsible way that one accusation that unsubstantiated does not prove a whole case against somebody. >> thank you. professor dershowitz. >> i agree. i agree with much of what bob
has said. i support the me too movement. i think it is too little too late in many ways, i think it is very important that we take women's accusations very seriously, but as eric once said, every cause starts as a movement, and then it becomes a business and then ultimately a racket. and what we're seeing now are lawyers with highly questionable leeth ethics like david boyce, who have made a business out of falsely accusing people. i was one of his victims. he set up a complete shakedown of plan, in which a woman i never met, never heard of, never knew existed, falsely accused me, after telling the fbi she didn't have sex with me, after telling her best friend she never met me, after writing emails saying she never met me, all of which were known to the lawyer, after which she, her own lawyer, david boyce in a
surreptitiously recorded tape recording saying to me alan, it is impossible, that you couldn't have been in a place that you said you were. it was wrong. and after an fbi investigation concluded it was wrong, they are still coming after me, even though it is so clear without any doubt that i never had any contact at all in the women and in the speaker, for 25 years, i was the second most reflected, after elly weasel, the 92nd street why canceled me and i couldn't speak and i couldn't speak on behalf of israel, i had a new book on israel, and i was not invited to speak me. >> that's why you're here. >> that's why you're here, because you're better than the 92nd street why. >> and what they said, we know you're innocent, and we know you're innocent but you're accused and if you're accused we
don't want trouble and you can't speak here anymore and the same is true on college campuses. i'm back. i'm lucky. i have nothing to hide. i have been with my wife who is here tonight since the day i met jeffly epstein during the relevant period, i have never touched another woman, i don't hug, i don't flirt, i don't go out with people, i don't do any of that, and nonetheless, i was picked, why was i picked? because i'm a famous guy. and because the lawyers understood that if they accused me publicly, they could then go to leslie wexner, the owner of victoria's secret, and the owner of the limited too, and say to leslie wexner, you know, the same woman that accused dershowitz publicly seven times has accused you seven times, including making her wear victoria's secret lingerie, and there are ways of resolving this. and they had a meeting.
personally, david boyce had a meeting, with lexly wexner's lawyers and after the meeting, leslie wexner's name disappeared from all of the court proceedings, he was never accused, the lawyer said we believed leslie wexner, we think he is telling the truth, well if you believe leslie wexner, that means you believe your own client has made up stories about him. so all of this is coming out now. all of this will come out in court. land is most despicable is that david boys and the other lawyers are destroying the me too movement. because they're putting forward accusations that they know or should know are absolutely false. and that discredits truthful people. he is not, boyce is not a hero of the me too movement, he is the villain of the me too movement. and now we're having lawsuits, he is suing me for defamation, i'm suing him for defamation, and the woman is claiming now that i raped her, even though i never met her, and the idea of how i raped her, she admits she says, the sex was consensual.
but, which it didn't happen. but she says that because i knew that she was being enslaved by others, even if i had only sexual, consensual conduct, that would constitute rape. we have motions now to dismiss that. but the idea that somebody who has never done anything wrong sexually, ever, ever, ever, i have never harassed a person, i have never even told a bad jokes, any of those things, and when it comes to this aspects of my life, i can say, like somebody says, perfect attendance, i have been perfect. and yet, i am being accused and people still believe that, and i have been accused by lawyers who know or should know that they're making a false accusation. so beware of the me too movement excess, of people who are exploiting the me too movement and trying to turn it into a
racket. >> all right. thank you, alan. >> if you want to read about it, obviously, my book "guilt accusation" lays out the whole thing, it has all of the documents, a buck 95 on kindle, you can read the whole thing, and you'll see there isn't an iota of evidence, not an iota of evidence that in any way supports these false accusations. >> we are going to go a little point -- counter point and then move on to the next subject do. you have anything? >> perfect is probably not the word i have used given it has been used a lot recently by someone else to describe something that was entirely imperfect. i'm not here to adjudicate what went on with professor dershowitz or what didn't go on, i understand his acute sensitivity here and i make no judgment about the outcome of this situation. i know david boyce. i haven't seen him in years. but i know him to be an honorable person. and i don't believe that he, i mean you all don't know him, i understand professor dershowitz
aside, i'm just going to say i know him to be an honorable person, and i don't believe that he lied down. the denial of public forums is a much more difficult thing. i think that if the public forum was denied to alan dershowitz at the 92nd street y, simply because they said we don't think he did anything, but it would be quote-unquote trouble, i think that's wrong. i also think that whether people are invited to speak on a campus, whether it relates to this issue or some other, that in many cases, people are making very individual judgments, based on very specific cases. and the 92nd street y did this, as i said, just because he would be trouble, that's a mistake. if they did it because they worry it might be true and i
want to be very careful here, then i understand that. finally, i think everybody is entitled to a lawyer. and i left out one thing. alan who has now picked up my word despicable got very upset because i said it was despicable that he represented the worst president in american history. i actually, i think of something that an old line in the law, that everybody's entitled to a lawyer, but they're not entitled to this lawyer. and you make choices. this relates to the me too movement. because i think one of the things that has happened to professor dershowitz is because he represented jeffrey epstein, and because he got a very good deal for a very bad guy, people assume he must be guilty of this other stuff. i think that's wrong. i think lawyers, when they go to fight for a client, ought to fight, once they choose to represent that client, ought to
fight as hard as they can in order to get as good of a deal as they, can but i think that is partly why he is caught up in this. >> let me respond to a very good point, you're entitled to a lawyer but not me. and let me tell you why. i taught legal ethics, at hard, 10,000 students that you're entitle to law, and how can i say without being a hypocrite that you're plot entitled to me. myon is to represent the most despised, the most unpopular, those have difficulty getting tenure, and i was in the soeft in the 1970s representing slanski and sock rov and all those people because they couldn't get lawyers in the soviet union and i have to tell you, i'm going to continue to represent the most despised, the most unpopular, and you know what, the second most critical appraisals of me was not the oj simpson case, it was when i represented bill clinton, because a lot of people said, what a disgraceful thing, you
representing the most horrible president in terms of his personal life, and what he did in the oval office, i got such horrible accusations, for helping bill clinton, so you know, again, the shoe has to fit comfortably on both feet. >> i'd like to -- >> i've got to say, i would not compare shranski and donald trump. >> i'd like to, i'd like to go to this issue of not guilt by accusation, but something that troubles me, which is guilt by association. just because you represent the president of the united states, should not make you as it has professor dershowitz, persona non grata in certain circles, we all have a right to be heard, we all have a right to be defended in court, we all have a right to associate with the policies of a president, who we may find
odious. a lot of people had it in for bill clinton. a lot of people had it in for barack obama. being on the side of one of those presidents should not have made you a pariah. so for me, the guilt by association is very troubling. and it made me think of a circumstance, last night, we had a professor here, robert supulski from stanford university, and professor supulski studied primates in the jungle, and he also studied human behavior -- >> he should have been here tonight. >> and let me tell you, he studied republican and democratic primates, and what he found, and what he found was something really fascinating. what he found was that even though there is a tendency to consider someone of a different color alien, when that person
puts on a baseball cap, and you're from l.a., and it says los angeles dodgers, or a baseball cap that says san francisco, the skin color goes out the window. and they're actually can even be areas in which he described in an episode in world war one where soldiers got oust trenches during christmas eve and started celebrating together and they didn't want to go back and fight each other the next day until their commanding officers forced them to go back into battle. so my analogy is, look, if i'm driving down the road, and i see a family or a group of people in a broken down car, and the car has a maga sign on, it i'm going to stop and help that family. i don't care what the maga sign says. and if i see a bernie sanders sticker on the car, i'm going to stop and help that family. and i think on a level of human compassion, we have to start putting aside this guilt by
association tendency that seems so prevalent in our society, that we ban people from speaking, and we ban people from an opportunity of expressing their opinion. >> i think it's absolutely right. i'm the director of something in usc called the center for the political future. my co director is mike murphy, the republican political consultant, with whom i waged many campaigns, not on the same side, but on opposite sides. and we manage to maintain a friendship all through that. we've had speakers on campus as varied as jeff pollock who you just gave an interview to on breitbart, and stephanie cutter, and nancy pelosi, well i guess the rabbi's words were not heard. nancy pelosi, and mark short, who is the chief of staff for the vice president of the united states.
i had the former president of the national rifle association. and we had a perfectly civil conversation, if i could use the word perfect. i didn't agree with him, a lot of the students didn't agree with him, but nobody said he had no right to speak. >> okay so -- >> and i utterly opposed saying people have no right to speak. >> so i have a question. you have all of these people, the vice president's person, people who were trying to get donald trump elected president, did you ever call them despicable the way you said it was despicable for me to represent the president of the united states. >> no, because -- >> why do you draw lines between calling me despicable because i was a lawyer standing up for the constitution of the united states, but it's okay to not call despicable people who are actually fright get trump elected? you know, i'm not trying to get trump elected. i'm striving to leave it to everybody to decide who to vote for. i'm trying to defend the constitutional rights of all americans. and you call that despicable?
>> wait a minute. wait a minute, no, no, wait a minute. that is not a question, it's a speech. and let me tell you something, you did not defend the constitution of the united states. you kicked the constitution of the united states into the gutter. i feel that very strongly. and that's why i said, it was despicable. you did not have to choose to represent this man. he does not come up to the standard of the kind of powerless people you were talking about representing before. i know people here don't disagree, or don't agree with me, but i'm not giving an inch on this. >> reasonable people, reasonable, please, no shouting, reasonable people can agree to disagree, and can say that defending, an interpretation of impeachment, and the constitution, does not necessarily paint you with a red brush of guilt, and i think that's for me the distinction that is significant here at the
theater, when we agreed to have this forum, we received a lot of faist facebook postings, how dare you have professor dershowitz in a debate or in a dialogue or a discussion, how dare you, and you know what is interesting? when we had rachel maddow here on her new book, unchallenged, and when we had bernie sanders speaking on his book, unchallenged, we didn't get those facebook posts, and we didn't get those negative comments, so i'm deeply troubled that just the idea of having this kind of conversation, heated as it has become, it something that we should not do. that to me is not acceptable. >> you should do it. you should do it. it was right to do it. when lisa asked me if i would do this, and you asked me if i would do this, i didn't pause, i said yes, i would do it. and i think that makes sense.
i thought we had moved on from our earlier discussion about impeachment, to talking about other issues. so i don't want to go back over all of this again. i think we both had our say. i do think there is an interesting question here which maybe you're going to ask. we're talking about how everybody should be able to speak in these public forums and on campus. what about the bbs movement? >> yes. thank you very much, that's a perfect segue and transition, now i know why you were a speech writer. >> uh-huh. >> so let's move on to that subject. >> okay. >> because the campus is also an issue where freedom of speech is very much under assault. and a lot of forums, where we've heard people from different political persuasions seek to speak, their voices have been silenced, there is a movement that as many of us have studied it, has been underweight for
over a decade, called the bds movement, boycott, i don't investment and sanctions, which was a planned concerted orchestrat orchestrated pre-meditated movement to isolate israel, and there have been a lot of people who said, well, you know, i'm not really attacking the jewish people, i'm just attacking israel. well, they forget to mention that happens to be the state of the jewish people, and so they're making a distinction that for a lot of us doesn't add up. it doesn't make sense. so what's been your experience, professor dershowitz, on campus, in terms of rising anti-semitism, and the bds movement. >> first of all, the bds movement is an anti-free speech movement. let's start with that. it's anti-free speech. how do i know that? when oxford university invited me, the oxford union, the oldest debating society in the world to
debate bds, they invited the head of bds and they refused to debate dershowitz and he is subject to bds because he is a jewish zionist, so start out with bds as an anti-speech movement. i support the right of people to advocate bds. i also support the right of people not renting houses to black people, white people, gay people, you have a right to advocate but if you dare not to rent to a person, as you said, or dare not to rent to a gay person, you have committed a crime. so what i do is i oppose the fact that bds is discriminatory in fact. bds is not advocacy. it is we will discriminate. we will not buy goods from. we will not have speakers from. we will not allow universities to work together with israeli universities. it is the act of discrimination. not the advocacy of discrimination. which is problematic.
and which is why i think the bds movement itself is anti-civil liberties. anti-free speech. and down bottom anti-semitic. why is it anti-semitic? because it only selects one country, there's no such thing as the bds movement, like the gay movement, or the fem next movement, bds zptd doesn't apply to china, it doesn't apply to iran, it doesn't apply to belarus. it is a tactic directed only the nation state of israel and only the jewish residents of israel, it doesn't apply to arab residents, muslim residents, christian resident, it only applies to jewish residents. so i am in favor of banning the act of discriminating based on national origin, based on religion, but i am not in favor of banning advocacy of bds, as long as bds is not actually
practiced, as long as discrimination is not actually practiced. i helped the president with the drafting of his recent executive order, which was a great boon to opposing, to making anti-semitism and anti-zionism on campus akin to anti-feminism, anti-gay, anti, all of the other bigotries, and includes it within the bigotry, but i insisted that, and i didn't have to fight for this, everybody agreed, that the law should say, the executive order should say, this executive order must be interpreted consistent with existing law, which means the first amendment. so nothing in the executive order can in any way undercut the first amendment. so i support the first amendment. i think the first amendment comes before anything else. but the first amendment does not protect actual acts of discrimination, which is what bds is. >> professor shrum? >> i was going to say, i was going to say i entirely agree
with that, and surprise all of you, i have a couple of other comments about it, and then a question. first of all, i entirely disagree with bds. i do not and cannot imagine ever supporting it. under any circumstances. [ applause ] i have been to israel 40 or a times. i'm not jewish. i did a hubarak's campaign when he defeated benjamin netanyahu which is probably why i hope alan fails with netanyahu, but i don't think what is wrong with bds, that it is just about one country, the movement to boycott south africa was just about one country. i think bds is wrong on the merits. it's wrong on the whole notion that somehow or other, we're going to dictate the policy of a state like israel, single them out, make them the bad people. south africa deserved to be singled out.
israel does not deserve to be singled out. [ applause ] i think there are harder cases. while i tend to be a free speech absolutist, and i can remember debating with my friend larry tribe years ago whether or not the nazis should be permitted to march in skokie, and of course, that was a public street, i think it becomes a much more complicated question, when you get to universities. and i don't know the answer fully, but i certainly would not be party to inviting a nazi to speak at the university of southern california. i would not be party to invited a holocaust denier to speak at the university of southern california. so i do think we have to draw some lines. bds is not in that category. i don't agree with them. i think they're wrong. i think the comment of professor dershowitz that oxford was
completely wrong. but i think we do have to draw some lines and say that there are some people that we do not have to lend a forum too. >> so you see, my business is miracles. you see this commonality and agreement here? miracle does occur. occasionally. >> well, let me -- >> and the miracle now -- >> i have one other question for you, having worked on that executive order with the president, can you get him to reverse his decision to repeal the executive order banning discrimination against gay people in employment by federal contractors? >> i think that should be, i think it should be reversed, absolutely. i think that there should be no toleration for discrimination based on sexual orientation. i'll do anything in my power to avoid, to make sure that that doesn't happen. but i want to throw a question back at you. you're against bds. do you think the democratic party, particularly with the emergence of the squad, as having more influence in the democratic party, do you think
the democratic party can today be counted on as it used to be be able to be counted on to fight against the bds? remember that there were votes in the house, and votes in the senate, and the votes in the house, many, many, many democrats voted in a way that appeared at least to some not to be against bds, and i think part of it was pushed by the four new members of the squad, all of whom clearly favor bds. >> what was the, what was the legislation? >> it was legislation, it was, it was complicated. so there wasn't a clear vote, but the, but it was clear that all the pro-israel people voted one way, and a lot of the non-pro-israel people voted the other way. it was a kind of referendum on israel. but let me stick to the squad. what do you think the democratic attitude, party leadership attitudes should be towards the
squad's strong support for bds? >> one, i think the resolution was incredibly complicated. and to use it as a litmus test is a complete mistake. two, i think the squad represents a singularly minority view in the democratic party. very narrow view in the democratic party. i think democrats are pro-israel. will continue to be pro-israel. will -- you know, guys, you're kind of hopeless. will continue to stand up for israel. and much to your regret, the dumb, democratic nominee will probably get 70 to 75% of jewish voters in november. let me just say something about -- >> can you support, could you support bernie sanders for president? >> i will support, i will support any democratic nominee, not because i necessarily think they're all great, but because i think donald trump is the single worst most dangerous president
in american history. >> we're back, we're back, we're back again, back around the circle, but let me say this about the squad. i was involved in holding a fundraiser for a new york congressman elliot engel here in los angeles, and when elliot engel, after the anti-semitic comments of ilhan omar, who refused to boldly criticize her in front of the foreign relations committee which he chaired and furthermore refused to kick her off that committee, i called elliot engel, and i said, elliot, how is it possible that you couldn't find a way to at least stand up and condemn ilhan omar who is on your committee? and his answer sadly, bob, was very telling. he said, 50% of my constituents
are of puerto rican origin. and aoc said that if i do that, she will personally come in and campaign for my defeat in my own district. so there's a lot of intimidation going on here. and that goes back to the point i was making about intimidation, and guilt by association. >> isn't it interesting -- >> by the way -- >> isn't it interesting that what you just said basically is that engel has committed what would be an impeachable offense us because he took into account his own political electability and changed the position that would otherwise have been a position against her, but because of his own election, his o own electability, he changed his mind. come on. >> alan's a bit mono-maniacal here. what we're talking about, in the
case of trump, was that congress appropriated the money, the people, the budget office said you have to give the money, he refused to give the money, he held them up as blackmail against hunter biden and joe biden. that's my view. now i'd like to stop talking about impeachment. i think it's ridiculous to keep going back to it. and we had nothing from professor dershowitz on what he thinks the ultimate political impact of this will be. >> look, alexander ocasio-cortez got elected with 10,000 votes. how does d-she get elected. joe crowley who was the party leader in queens, and who had that district for many years, first got it when it was an irieye irish catholic district. the district changed. he took it for granted and paid no attention and lost in a very low turnout primary. i think the press is fascinated with aoc. i think she is a big player in the democratic party. i do in the think she will become a major force in the party. she loves standing there with bernie sanders.
and i think that as we look down the road, all of that is going to dissipate. democrats, look, democrats have always been pro-israel. i know the republican jewish coalition is here. but democrats have been pro-israel. and it was not for example democrats who sold warplanes to saudi arabia when they were mortal enemies of israel. it was the reagan administration. so let's not partisan-ize this. let's in fact, jews, the jews in america and israel are so much better off when they don't become a partisan issue between the two parties. >> i agree with that. but i think it may become a partisan issue, because more than the four democrats are now showing a very different attitude. liz warren won't come to apac. bernie sanders went to england and campaigned for jeremy corbyn, who is a virulent
anti--semite. let me say i have never in my life voted against a democratic candidate for president. i will not vote for bernie sander no matter who his opponent is. i could not pull a lever for a man who has supported an anti-semitic candidate in britain. he didn't have to go to britain. he went there. he endorsed him. he campaigned for him. and he has forever lost my support. >> a lot of people, a lot of people share, a lot of people share that opinion, but let me say this. i'd like to wrap it up with a wonderful quote, and you know this from jewish tradition, but it is one that i've heard echoed by many friends of mine who are catholic priests, it is common decency precedes the bible. and he says, common decency precedes even the bible. the way we talk to one another, communicate with one another,
and even when, as in the talmud, rabbis could violently disagree on points of law, the actual term, common decency, stems from the way of the earth. it's the way of the earth for us to from the way of the earth. it's the way of the ermg for ars to communicate. i want to thank both of my guests here tonight. let's give them a nice warm thank you and please shake hands. thank you very much. thank you. thank you. thank you. >> thank you. >> we can violently disagree, but think we have some common respect for each other. >> yes, we do. yes, we do. thank you. >> senators for disease control and prevention director dr. robt