HH: Pleased to welcome to the program this morning Alan Dershowitz. Professor Dershowitz is the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law Emeritus at Harvard Law School, and of course one of the great Constitutional Law luminaries in America. Professor Dershowitz, welcome to the Hugh Hewitt Show.
AD: Well, thanks. You’re lucky to be in beautiful Aspen, almost as nice as Martha’s Vineyard, where I am today.
HH: Well, we are among the pampered right now, both you and I. Professor, let’s get right to it. Article III, Section 3, for the benefit of the Steelers fans out there, let me read it to them. “Treason against the United States shall consist only in levying war against them or adhering to their enemies giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act or on confession in open court. The Congress shall have the power to declare the punishment of treason, but no attainder of treason shall work corruption of blood or forfeiture except during the life of the person attainted.” Professor Dershowitz, it has been accused by including John Brennan and others that the President has committed treason. What do you think of that charge?
AD: It’s wrong. The Constitution defines only one crime, and that crime is treason. And it says it shall consist only, and basically it means that it has to be during wartime, levying war against a war, or during wartime giving aid and comfort. What President Trump is alleged to have done, you know, making the image of Putin stronger and helping him gain international credibility around the world doesn’t even come close to treason under the Constitution. Now to his credit, Brennan, who I like very much and is a very, very decent man, I think said his conduct was treasonous. I call that kind of treason lite, using treason as a kind of metaphor the way people say oh, that’s criminal when it’s not prohibited by any statute. And you know, the books I have been writing have been to try to draw that distinction between sin and crime. Nothing is a crime unless it’s specifically prohibited by the statute or the Constitution. The difference between us and the former Soviet Union is the Soviet Union, anything that was not specifically made legal was illegal. In the United States, only things that are specifically made illegal are illegal. Everything else is non-criminal and legal. You might not like what Trump did. I didn’t like what he did. But to call it treason is just wrong as a matter of Constitutional Law.