Democrats played a video of Trump ally Lindsey Graham’s comments during former President Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial to rebuke a Republican talking point about Trump’s impeachment.
House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, one of the House impeachment managers, played a 1999 video of Graham arguing that “high crimes” as described by the Constitution do not “even need to be a crime” to impeach a president.
"What's a high crime? How about an important person hurt somebody of low means. That's not very scholarly, but I think it's the truth," Graham said in the video. "I think that's what they meant by 'high crimes.' Doesn't even have to be a crime. It's just when you start using your office and you're acting in a way that hurts people, you have committed a high crime."
"There are many reasons why high crimes and misdemeanors are not and cannot be limited to violations of the criminal code,” Nadler said.
Trump attorney made same statement:
Alan Dershowitz, who serves on Trump’s legal team, argued in 1998 that "if you have somebody who completely corrupts the office of president and who abuses trust and who poses great danger to our liberty, you don't need a technical crime.”
Dershowitz now claims that he was wrong.
He told CNN earlier this week that “without a crime, there can be no impeachment.”
He claimed that you don’t need a "technical crime," just "criminal-like behavior akin to bribery and treason.”
He added that he “wasn’t wrong” in 1998, he just has a “more sophisticated basis for my argument now."
CNN legal analyst rips argument:
CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin slammed the argument.
"What is clear is that Alan was right in 1998 and he's wrong now," Toobin said. "The idea that you can only impeach a president for criminal or criminal-like behavior is absurd on its face."
Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe also told CNN that Dershowitz is wrong and appears to be “selling out, I don’t think for money but just for attention.”
"He's perfectly entitled to defend the president, although I don't like that he pretends he's defending the Constitution instead of the president,” Tribe said. “He's not the Constitution's client."