Rep. Swalwell, Attorney Dershowitz: Not Enough Evidence That Trump Has Committed Impeachable Offense

By Susan Jones | August 27, 2018 | 5:20am EDT
Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) (Photo: Screen capture/ABC's "This Week")

( - It's too soon to talk about impeachment, Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), a staunch Trump critic, told ABC's "This Week" on Sunday. "I think that we don't have enough evidence yet." But, Swalwell added, Democrats "shouldn't look the other way."

Appearing with Swalwell, retired Harvard Law School Professor Alan Dershowitz agreed that when it comes to high crimes and misdemeanors, "the evidence isn't there."

"The president or the candidate is entitled to contribute anything he wants to his own campaign," Dershowitz said. "So the only issue here is whether or not there was a failure to report the contribution. That failure to report is attributable to the treasurer of the campaign, not to the president."


Swalwell told host George Stephanopoulos:

As to your question, Democrats should not lead with impeachment, George. I think we should lead with the core issues people care about -- making sure that health care costs go down, that their paychecks go up, and that we scrub out corruption.

But shouldn't look the other way, and the best thing we can do is promise the American people, if we are given the majority that we will conduct the investigations the Republicans are unwilling to conduct, including this campaign finance violation, including the questions around his contacts with the Russians, and including his tax returns, which the American people have not seen, but I promise a Democratic majority will ensure they do see.

Stephanopoulos pressed Swalwell on whether a "conspiracy to violate campaign finance laws" is a high crime and misdemeanor:

"He is not above the law," Swalwell said about President Trump, "but I think that we don't have enough evidence yet."

Swalwell said if Democrats regain a majority in the midterm election, they would seek to interview Trump's former attorney Michael Cohen and Allen Weisselberg, the chief financial officer of the Trump Organization who has been granted immunity by prosecutors in the Southern District of New York.

"I think have thorough investigations, putting forth an impenetrable case to the American people, doing it in a bipartisan way, is the proper way to do this," Swalwell said. "But we're not there yet.

"And again we are going to talk about the issues people care about. And if we're given the subpoena power and the gavels in those committees, we can assure the American people we are going to do our job."

Dershowitz told Stephanopoulos that it's a "stretch" to say that Trump conspired to violate campaign finance law. He also noted that many campaigns, including Barack Obama's, have been fined for financial reporting violations.

"To make a conspiracy out of that when the law itself says the treasurer is responsible, not the candidate, is an example of precisely what we're seeing, trying to stretch the law to fit somebody who many Americans hope and want to see commit a crime or commit an impeachable offense.

"I agree with the congressman (Swalwell), let's wait to see what the evidence is," Dershowitz added.

Swalwell said the "best thing" President Trump could do is speak to Special Counsel Robert Mueller and answer all his questions. "The American people deserve to know if the president is as corrupt as the people who have pled guilty around him," Swalwell said.

Dershowitz disagreed: "Look, it would be good for the American public if President Trump sat down and said everything he knows, but it wouldn't be good for President Trump. And that's why his lawyers are so strongly recommending against it. His lawyers, particularly his private lawyers, are not supposed to consider what's best for America. The White House Council perhaps, yes, but his private lawyers are supposed to consider what's best for Mr. Trump.

"And it certainly is not best for Mr. Trump to sit down and allow himself to answer questions, even truthfully, that might be contradicted by Cohen or McGahn or somebody else, because that's a perjury trap."

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