Dershowitz: Indictment of Trump aide is illegal, done to 'make political points'

Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz
Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz

Alan Dershowitz, the famed legal mind who is the Felix Frankfurter professor of law, emeritus, at Harvard Law School, is charging the Joe Biden Department of Justice with acting illegally in indicting and arresting Peter Navarro, a former adviser to President Trump.

At the Gatestone Institute, where he is the Jack Roth Charitable Foundation Fellow, he explained, “The indictment of Peter Navarro for contempt of Congress violates several provisions of the Constitution and should be dismissed.”

Navarro was targeted by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s partisan committee assigned to “investigate” the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol.

It’s partisan because Pelosi refused to seat GOP members the minority party nominated, and instead picked a couple of Republicans who long have adamantly opposed Trump and his agenda, his accomplishments, and his ideas.

Dershowitz, explaining Navarro “has a strong claim of executive privilege that should be decided by the courts,” pointed out, “Either the Justice Department or Congress should seek a judicial ruling that Navarro’s claim of executive privilege is invalid. ”

He explained, “If the court rules that it is invalid and orders him to respond to the congressional subpoena, Navarro should have an opportunity to comply. If he fails to comply with a judicial order, he can either be indicted or held in contempt by the court. But absent a judicial order, he cannot lawfully be indicted for invoking executive privilege and refusing to reveal arguably privileged material just because a committee of Congress, controlled by Democrats, has voted that he should.”

He explained it isn’t enough to allow him to appeal after the fact, because information that has been revealed cannot later be erased.

His decision to claim privilege is not a crime, Dershowitz explained. “It is the constitutionally correct action.”

He explained the constitutional violations include due process, fair warning and executive privilege.

“It also violates the separation of powers, under which the courts have the authority to resolve conflicts between the legislative and executive branches over claims of executive privilege in response to legislative subpoenas.”

He warned, “The Biden Justice Department knows the law and it should not be acting lawlessly to make political points.”

“I do not support the events of January 6, 2021, as do many Americans. Congress has the right to investigate them and issue appropriate subpoenas, but they must comply with the Constitution,” he explained to Democrats running Congress.

“Legitimate ends do not justify illegitimate means, and issuing an indictment of a former executive decision without first obtaining a judicial order is an illegitimate tactic.”

He said the proper course for now is for Navarro to move to dismiss the indictment and the court to grant that.

He called for fairness and equal justice.

“The Bible admonishes judges not to ‘recognize faces.’ That command is the origin of the blindfolded statue of Lady Justice. But in our age of pervasive partisanship, too many judges peek out their blindfolds and rule differently based on the faces and political affiliations of the litigants. Every ruling and decision – whether by a judge or Justice Department official – must pass the ‘shoe on the other foot test,'” he said.

“It must be the same regardless of face, name, race, ethnicity, religion, gender or political affiliation. So the question must be asked: would this Justice Department have indicted a Democratic former executive official who claimed executive privilege in response to a Congressional subpoena?”

He suggested that question may be answered soon … “if the Republicans gain control of either house later this year and start issuing subpoenas for officials in the Biden White House.”

He said the Democrats’ actions under Pelosi’s direction also are a threat to ordinary citizens.

“Consider a citizen who refuses to answer congressional questions about conversations with her priest or medical doctor — or a lawyer who refuses to disclose confidential information he received from a client. If this indictment is allowed to stand, these citizens too could be indicted before their claims of privilege were adjudicated by a court. A dangerous precedent indeed — to the rule of law, the Constitution and the rights of all Americans,” he said.

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