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Durbin pushes back on Dershowitz claims: ‘Give me a break professor’

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) on Tuesday criticized one of President Trump’s impeachment defense lawyers, Alan Dershowitz, for his suggestion that it would not be helpful to have former White House national security adviser John Bolton testify during the Senate trial.

Part of Dershowitz’s argument before the Senate on Monday night centered on the fact that even if Bolton’s accusations that Trump tied aid for Ukraine to investigations of political rivals, reported as part of a leaked manuscript of his forthcoming memoir, are true, the alleged actions wouldn’t “constitute an impeachable offense.” He added that this meant there is no need for Bolton to testify before the Senate.

Durbin fired back in an appearance on CNN, saying that Bolton testifying is the “best way for us to have an outcome in this trial that is credible.”

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“I would just say, professor Dershowitz, Harvard law professor with great credentials in criminal law, standing before us waving Blackstone’s book and quoting him, to have him say to us, ‘Don’t bring a witness in, there’s nothing he could possibly say of importance or relevance,’ give me a break, professor,” Durbin said on CNN’s “New Day.” 

“You can say that in your classroom, but in the real world we believe people under oath telling the truth are the best way for us to have an outcome in this trial that is credible across America.”

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Senate Democrats have been pushing for witnesses as part of the trial, but Republicans have been reluctant to agree. A vote on whether to compel witnesses and documents is expected later this week, and Democrats need at least four Republicans to join them to pass the measure.

The New York Times reported Sunday night that Bolton claims in his forthcoming memoir that Trump held up Ukraine aid to pressure the president of that country to announce investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden, bolstering Democrats’ push for the former White House official to testify. 

Some Republicans have suggested agreeing to a trade: allowing Bolton to testify if Republicans can call Hunter Biden.

Durbin, like many of his colleagues, dismissed the idea. He doubled down on the fact that Hunter Biden has no knowledge of Trump’s decisions and the allegations at the center of the impeachment charges. 

“Listen, we’re not trading baseball cards, we’re not kids sitting around here picking our favorites and putting them in the middle of the circle. What we’re talking about are relevant material witnesses,” Durbin said on CNN. 

“This idea of bargaining, well we’ll give you one irrelevant witness for one relevant witness, baloney,” he added.

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