First, an update.

Last week I wrote about the Seth Rich case – the DNC staffer who was murdered in Washington, D.C., last July.

A local television station in D.C. did a story about a private investigator who claimed Rich was feeding emails to WikiLeaks in the months before his death.

The TV station also quoted an unnamed “federal investigator” in its reporting.

At the end of the column, I wondered if this could be what has become known as “fake news.”

Well, according to reporting in the Washington Post this past week, the story couldn’t be corroborated and the named source had recanted. So it appears, at least on the merits of the Washington Post’s reporting, that it was in fact, fake news.

Fox News has retracted the story.

One would think a TV station in a market like Washington, D.C., would be a reliable news source. One would be wrong.


I saw an interesting interview featuring legendary attorney Alan Dershowitz last week.

He was interviewed by Tucker Carlson on Fox News Channel.

Aside from being an accomplished defense attorney – representing the likes of Mike Tyson, Patty Hearst, Claus von Bulow, O.J. Simpson and Jim Bakker – the 78-year-old Dershowitz also is the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law Emeritus at Harvard Law.

He has long been known as a supporter of the Democratic Party. During the interview, he identified himself as “proudly” voting for Hillary Clinton in 2016. He’s also a regular contributor and analyst on CNN.

The fascinating things about the interview were that Dershowitz said he didn’t think a special counsel should have been appointed to probe President Donald Trump because nobody has accused him or his campaign of breaking the law.

He also said President Trump did not obstruct justice by firing FBI Director James Comey.

Dershowitz: "Well, first, I'm here not as a supporter of Donald Trump. I voted for Hillary Clinton very proudly. I'm here as a supporter for civil liberties and construing statutes narrowly as they were written. I just don't see a crime here. I see perhaps some political wrongdoing. I see leaking information on both sides.

"But even if, for example, the campaign coordinated – which there is no evidence of – but coordinated activities with Russia. And even if Russia and the campaigns said, 'gee, wouldn't it be better if Trump were elected?' That's political wrongdoing, but it's just not a crime.

"Nobody can point me to a statute that would be violated. And a prosecutor is only allowed to look for evidence of a federal crime. And the reason I think Trump may benefit from this, is this will be a secret proceeding.

"Mueller is a very honorable guy, so he's not going to leak anything. And in the end, he's going to find no crime. Maybe he'll issue a report, which in my view would be improper, because he only hears half of the evidence. Only the prosecutor's part of the evidence. But he will say there is no crime."

Now, I’ve heard a lot of folks talk about treason, and Dershowitz didn’t specifically mention it during this interview. But one could, I think, accurately surmise that it must have crossed his mind as a possible statue that was broken.

Dershowitz continued:

"Maybe the worst-case scenario for the Trump administration is maybe [former NSA Director Michael] Flynn gets indicted for lying, the president probably pardons him at that point. But it's two years from now. Or a year and a half from now. And in the meantime, he has a reprieve. ... But now it's going to be done in secret behind closed doors. And all we get in the end is no indictment or a low level former official gets indicted ... and I think in the end that helps the Trump administration. ..."

Carlson pressed Dershowitz on his opinion:

"I want to get back to your first point which is there is, there is no crime being alleged. So, I'm hearing Democrats every night say, it's likely that the Trump campaign coordinated with the Russians on the timing of the WikiLeaks dump. There is no evidence of that, but if that turns out to be true, that's not a crime?"


"Of course not. Why would that be a crime? It would be like The Washington Post publishing WikiLeaks. As long as the Trump administration, or no individual told them to hack the DNC, that would be obviously very different, or gave them information that was useful in hacking the DNC, but just knowing that they hacked the DNC, taking advantage of that fact, it's not a crime."


"Why is there a special counsel?"


"Well, there shouldn't be. Look at the letter."

(Dershowitz was referencing the letter from the deputy attorney general to appoint the special counsel.)

"The letter says you should look into the Russian thing and anything that grows out of it. Nobody points to any kind of crime. And there can't be obstruction of justice for the president to fire Comey, that's his constitutional and statutory right to do that. Even if the president did say to Comey, 'let it go' when it comes to Flynn. Under the unitary theory of the executive, the president has a right to direct the Justice Department and the right to direct the FBI what to do."

At the end of the interview, Dershowitz said this:

"Look, if he (Trump) tore up a subpoena or erased tapes or put out a perjured testimony, that's very different. But just by exercising his constitutional rights, there is no obstruction of justice here and I don't see any crime here at all."

I guess this was the first time I heard anyone addressing this issue. I get that it’s only one legal scholar’s view, but he raises a pretty salient point: What crime is the special counsel investigating?

I wonder about the obstruction part, though. Is it really the president’s constitutional prerogative to quash an FBI investigation even when he might be the target of the investigation?

That doesn’t seem right, does it?

I suppose these are questions for greater legal minds than mine, but I just thought this was a fascinating interview.

I also think this investigation is going to be a cloud over the Trump administration for years.