Dear Republican senators,
I will not try to convince you how to vote in the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump. I won’t even lecture you about the need for witnesses, in part because by the time you see this it will probably be too late. My request is far more humble and possibly far more consequential: When you vote to acquit Trump of the charges leveled against him, please, please, forthrightly reject the central argument of Trump attorney Alan Dershowitz.
According to Dershowitz, “abuse of power” is not an impeachable act. Seriously. Any abuse of power that doesn’t include a separate violation of criminal law is immune from impeachment, he contends. Indeed, any act—whether you call it abuse of power or corruption—is, for Dershowitz, fully within the president’s constitutional ambit.
So a president who gets fall-down drunk every day and fails to fulfill the barest minimum of his duties cannot be impeached because getting drunk isn’t a crime. Do you want to validate that nonsense?