With Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his team working on their final report on the investigation into Russia’s alleged involvement in the 2016 presidential elections, Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz predicted on Sunday that the report could end up having negative political implications for President Donald Trump.
In an appearance on ABC’s This Week, Dershowitz stressed that Mueller’s final report could be “devastating” to Trump, adding that he believes the president’s team is planning ahead by preparing a response to the report. As cited by the Hill, Dershowitz also predicted that Mueller most likely won’t accuse Trump of any crimes, though his report might leave the president “more legally vulnerable” with regard to business-related matters.
“The critical questions are largely political. When I say devastating, I mean it’s going to paint a picture that’s going to be politically very devastating,” the Hill quoted Dershowitz as saying.
Regarding the unlikelihood that Trump will face criminal charges based on Mueller’s findings, Dershowitz, who has frequently spoken in defense of the president, told This Week host George Stephanopoulos that collusion “is not criminal.” As noted by the Huffington Post, he also said that he doesn’t expect the special counsel to accuse Trump of teaming up with Russian officials to “defraud” the U.S. government.
“It’s too much of a stretch. What I think Mueller is going to do if he’s smart ― he’s not going to take the chance on being rebutted… he’s going to lay out the facts, leave it Congress to decide whether that rises to the level of an impeachable offense.”
As noted by the Hill, Trump’s legal team submitted written answers to some of the questions asked by Mueller, though the president had stated that he likely won’t appear in person for a face-to-face interview with the special counsel.
Talking about the recent appointment of Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general and his previous criticism of the collusion probe, Dershowitz told Stephanopoulos that this could make it difficult to determine if or when Mueller’s final report will be made public. He added, however, that if the decision is made to release the report, it will be done along with a response from Trump.
“The president will say, ‘Ah look, it’s political. There’s their account and there’s our account.’ And the American public will have to judge the credibility.”
In the 18 months since the start of Mueller’s investigation, Donald Trump has frequently levied negative comments regarding the probe, calling it a “witch hunt,” denying accusations of collusion with Russian officials, and accusing Mueller and his team of having conflicts of interest.
According to ABC News, a total of 32 people and three Russian companies have been indicted in relation to the investigation, with six of the individuals pleading guilty, and three receiving prison sentences.