President Donald Trump‘s accusation that former FBI Director James Comey leaked classified information in his notorious memos, and therefore broke the law, has drawn criticism, including from law professor Alan Dershowitz, who appeared on Fox Business on Monday to discuss the matter.
Dershowtiz didn’t hesitate in calling Comeys actions “unseemly,” but warned against calling them “illegal” just yet. Dershowitz disagreed with Comey’s characterization of his memos as the notes of a private citizen. “He’s wrong about that,” Dershowitz said, explaining that as the notes were regarding meetings he had in the capacity of his role of FBI Director, the memos are the property of the United States.
Before hurling allegations of criminal wrongdoing, Dershowitz said a proper investigation would be necessary first. Until then, Comey’s critics are jumping to premature conclusions, which he says Trump’s critics are guilty of doing as well. “I think President Trump is making the same mistake that his critics make …. He’s rushing to judgment about whether something is illegal, and second, he’s trying to criminalize political differences.”
On that note, Dershowitz also wrote a piece for The Hill, titled, “Comey didn’t commit a crime — neither did Donald Jr.” The op-ed, while touching on the Comey issue, focuses on how allegations that Donald Trump Jr. broke the law by allegedly trying to get dirt on Hillary Clinton from a Russian attorney are overstated. While some attorneys have accused Trump Jr. of treason, Dershowitz says, “even if these allegations are true, this does not even come close to the legal definition of treason,” despite being politically questionable.
“When non-criminal conduct that is deserving of political criticism is investigated as criminal, both sides lose,” Dershowitz wrote. “Even more importantly, all Americans lose important civil liberties protections guaranteed by our Constitution.”