Jonah Goldberg objects to Dershowitz’s defense of Trump that proposed that “abuse of power” is not an impeachable act unless it is accompanied by a violation of criminal law.

Goldberg offers the following argument:

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?

But being a drunk is not “abuse of power”; it’s the refusal to do the job of the President. It’s precisely not using “power” at all! Obviously, if a man elected or appointed to do X fails to do X, he can be fired. But Trump was not impeached for incompetence or failing to do his job.

The President is chief bureaucrat. He is bound by strict rules emanating from Congress and courts to behave in certain ways. For that lack of freedom he is compensated with power. And this power can be used however the President pleases, provided it does not violate the law.

“Abuse” of power therefore logically entails breaking some law. But Dershowitz argues precisely that no law was broken. And that’s all there is to it.

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