“I hear he’s correcting it on TV today. That seems to be Mr. Dershowitz’s pattern,” Schumer said at a news conference in the Capitol. “He gives a statement on the floor and then spends the next day correcting it. What a load of nonsense.”
According to what Schumer called “Dershowitzian logic,” President Richard Nixon would have been absolved of any wrongdoing during the Watergate scandal. The reasoning from Trump’s attorney, he added, “would unleash a monster. More aptly, it would unleash a monarch.”
Rep. Jason Crow (D-Colo.), another House manager, deemed Wednesday to be a “really astounding day” for the president’s defense during an interview Thursday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
“Maybe the most astounding thing came out of Mr. Dershowitz,” Crow said, adding: “I mean, that is just a very dangerous hole to go down.”
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) said she thought that even some of her Republican colleagues “quietly agreed” with her bleak evaluation of Dershowitz’s logic, which she considered “completely contrary to what this country is about.”
“Our country was founded on this idea that we were an independent democracy, that we didn’t want to be ruled by a king,” Klobuchar said. “And if you say things like that — like you can do anything you want and it doesn’t matter — just to further your election, you basically have a dictator. You have a king. You have no democracy.”
Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, also blasted Dershowitz in a tweet Thursday, writing: “I still can’t believe the President’s lawyer tried to convince the United States Senate that foreign election interference isn’t a crime.”
Appearing before reporters in the Capitol ahead of the second day of senators’ questions, Schiff again sharply criticized the White House defense team for making “the most incredible arguments born of desperation — arguments that, if the senators ever followed, would lead this country down the most destructive path.”
Meanwhile, Trump’s senior aides and congressional allies sought to contain the fallout from Dershowitz’s comments, which counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway was pressed on during a White House briefing Thursday.
“I actually am not going to discuss politics from the podium. I will tell you, I was very struck by his argument that no one is above the law, including the Congress,” Conway said.
Hogan Gidley, the White House’s principal deputy press secretary, described the legal argument to Fox News as “kind of a one-two punch” dealt by Dershowitz and White House deputy counsel Patrick Philbin, “saying, ‘Listen, you don’t want to start impeaching people on what’s inside their head.’ Meaning a lot of the senators in that chamber make decisions that would or could benefit them in an upcoming election.”
Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) maintained that Dershowitz was actually discussing “rooting out corruption and fighting corruption” in his argument before the Senate, telling CNN “that that is in the public interest.”
“I think that when you look at this, we have to realize that this boils it down to a policy disagreement,” Blackburn said, adding: “The policy disagreement is over foreign policy and how we approach foreign policy. That is at the crux of this entire thing.”
Myah Ward contributed to this report.