Earlier this week, the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump passed by the House of Representatives moved to the United States Senate. In order to defend himself, Trump has hired an all-star legal team, with Alan Dershowitz, a scholar of constitutional law and criminal law, as its most prominent member.
On a number of occasions, Dershowitz has defended Trump against accusations of wrongdoing, frequently appearing on various cable news shows to do so. Dershowitz’s longtime colleague, Harvard Law School’s Laurence Tribe, is apparently baffled by his arguments. Per Raw Story, both men appeared Saturday on MSNBC.
Speaking with host Ari Melber, Dershowitz explained his role in the impeachment trial, offering a defense of the president. According to the impeachment articles passed by the House, Trump is guilty of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. But, neither of those is a “high crime” under the United States Constitution, Dershowitz argued on MSNBC.
Later in the day, on Chris Hayes’ show, Tribe shared his own opinion about the issue. “Well, I almost don’t know where to start. I mean, my colleague has it upside down,” he began, stating that Trump’s legal team appears to be relying on “alternative law” in order to defend the president.
“I knew that the Trump defense was going to rely in large part on alternative facts, but I didn’t know they were also going to use alternative law.”
“There is no — there is no legal principle that says something has to violate a federal criminal statute in order to be impeachable,” he said, explaining that “there were no federal criminal statutes” when the authority to impeach and remove the president was put in the Constitution.
Tribe then ripped into Dershowitz, calling him “wacko.”
“Alan is just completely wacko on this. I don’t understand why the president thinks it will help him to have this kind of bizarro defense,” he said.
WATCH: Constitutional scholar Laurence Tribe on Alan Dershowitz’s use of “alternative law” in his Trump defense:
— All In with Chris Hayes (@allinwithchris) January 18, 2020
Dershowitz is not the only prominent member of Trump’s “reality show” legal team, as CNN analyst Susan Hennessey put it. Ken Starr, best known for his role in investigations into former President Bill Clinton, will also be defending Trump in the Senate’s impeachment trial.
According to Hennessey, however, the president’s high-publicity strategy could backfire. Both Dershowitz and Starr have been involved in a number of controversies over the years, she pointed out, which could make it easy for Trump’s opponents to blast and discredit both men.
According to top Republicans in the Senate, the GOP’s goal is to finalize the trial before the February 4 State of the Union address.