President Donald Trump was quite happy with what Harvard Law Professor Emeritus Alan Dershowitz had to say when he appeared on Tucker Carlson‘s show Thursday night. Soon after Carlson’s show aired on Fox News, the president tweeted out this quote from Dershowitz that dealt with the allegation that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein considered getting Trump’s cabinet to use the 25th Amendment to remove him from office. Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe confirmed that this happened after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey. Trump may not be too pleased, however, to learn that what Dershowitz said appears to undermine his defense of Trump in the past.
“Trying to use the 25th Amendment to try and circumvent the Election is a despicable act of unconstitutional power grabbing…which happens in third world countries. You have to obey the law. This is an attack on our system & Constitution.” Alan Dershowitz. @TuckerCarlson
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 15, 2019
“Trying to use the 25th Amendment to try and circumvent the Election is a despicable act of unconstitutional power grabbing” Dershowitz said.
Plenty of people on Twitter quickly noted the irony of claiming that using an amendment to the Constitution was somehow unconstitutional.
The admendments are part of the constitution, 1st, 2nd and 25th alike. So the exercise of the 25th amendment is the opposite of unconstitutional.
— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) February 15, 2019
The 25th Amendment is literally part of the Constitution.
— Renato Mariotti (@renato_mariotti) February 15, 2019
Of course, this is a seemingly self-contradictory premise, but it also flies directly in the face of Dershowitz’s own argument for why President Trump could not be charged with obstruction of justice for firing Comey. Dershowitz has insisted that because the president has the power to fire the FBI director, he cannot be charged with a crime for “merely exercising his power” under the U.S. Constitution.
If that’s the case, it should stand to reason that the same applies to other constitutional powers, namely those belonging to the cabinet under the 25th Amendment. If Trump can legally fire Comey no matter what—even if it was for the purpose of impeding or ending the Russia investigation—the cabinet should legally be able to oust a president if they deem him unfit, regardless of any underlying ulterior motive.
[Image via Fox News screengrab]