CNN’s Lockhart: Dershowitz’s ‘Un-American’ Claim Is What Hitler Used to Justify Genocide

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A week after being roasted for tweeting a fake conversation between Republican senators, CNN political commentator and former Clinton White House Press Secretary Joe Lockhart claimed Wednesday night during the Senate trial’s dinner break that an argument used by Trump legal team member Alan Dershowitz was “un-American” and akin to those used by “authoritarian people” to justify “genocide.”

OutFront host Erin Burnett asked Lockhart what he made of Dershowitz’s claim that a presidential action done “in the national interest...cannot be a quid pro quo that results in impeachment.”

 

 

Without hesitation, Lockhart stated that while he’s “worked on about a dozen campaigns” and they often believe their winning would be the best thing for the country, what Dershowitz argued went beyond that. Instead, it was “un-American.”

Lockhart went into another gear with his next assertion, which was that Dershowitz (a Jewish man no less) was peddling a policy peddled by some of the world’s worst dictators:

This is what you hear from Stalin. This is what you hear from Mussolini, what you hear from author — from Hitler, from all the authoritarian people who rationalized, you know, in some cases, genocide based on what was in the public interest. It was a startling — and I still can't believe he went on the floor of the Senate and made that argument.

Thankfully, conservative CNN political commentator Scott Jennings made sure to push back when given a chance to speak, stating that it’s not “appropriate, frankly, to compare the President of the United States to Stalin, Mussolini, Hitler, and people who commit genocide.”

“I mean, we can have political arguments about this, but I don't think anything this president's done, that the Democrats have done, that either of their legal teams have done rises to the level of Stalin, Hitler, and Mussolini and people who it genocide. I think that’s, to me, is not — is not a proper comparison honestly,” he added.

Of course, Lockhart denied making that comparison about Trump and would have “apologize[d]” if that were the case. 

That said, he doubled down (click “expand”):

I said that argument, that rationalization is exactly the rationalization that these authoritarian dictators make which is we will do these things because, yes, they're in my interest, but it's in the public interest. So, again, I — you know, I learned long ago not to disparage people without the receipts. So, Scott's right. You shouldn't compare the President to any of those people, but I didn't. I — I compared the argument and what's shocking about it is that Alan Dershowitz made it on the floor of the Senate

(....)

I didn't get this wrong because it is that argument that's so dangerous that you can commit any act as long as, in your head, you believe it's good for the country because you would have — you know — our political system would literally break down because you would have 535 lawless people all using the argument that I'm good for my constituents so I'm going to go or a President saying I'm running against this — or this guy is blocking my legislation. I'm going to get the IRS to audit their taxes because the legislation is good for the country. We can't have that. 

To see the relevant transcript from CNN’s Erin Burnett OutFront on January 29, click “expand.”

CNN’s Erin Burnett OutFront
January 29, 2020
7:11 p.m. Eastern

ERIN BURNETT: What did you make when you heard that? I mean, everybody did respond to that sort of saying what did he just say? 

JOE LOCKHART: Yeah. I mean, having worked on about a dozen campaigns, there is always the sense that, boy, if we win, it's better for the country, but that doesn't give you license to commit crimes or to do things that are unethical. So, it was absurd and what I thought when I was watching it was this is un-American. This is what you hear from Stalin. This is what you hear from Mussolini, what you hear from author — from Hitler, from all the authoritarian people who rationalized, you know, in some cases, genocide based on what was in the public interest. It was a startling — and I still can't believe he went on the floor of the Senate and made that argument.

(....)

7:13 p.m. Eastern

SCOTT JENNINGS: By the way, Erin, if I may, I have to respond to something that my friend Joe said and I'm not there to elbow him in the ribs. I don't think it's appropriate, frankly, to compare the President of the United States to Stalin, Mussolini, Hitler, and people who commit genoide. I mean, we can have political arguments about this, but I don't think anything this president's done, that the Democrats have done, that either of their legal teams have done rises to the level of Stalin, Hitler, and Mussolini and people who it genocide. I think that’s, to me, is not — is not a proper comparison honestly.

LOCKHART: And that is not the comparison I made. I did not compare the President. I said that argument, that rationalization is exactly the rationalization that these authoritarian dictators make which is we will do these things because, yes, they're in my interest, but it's in the public interest. So, again, I — you know, I learned long ago not to disparage people without the receipts. So, Scott's right. You shouldn't compare the President to any of those people, but I didn't. I — I compared the argument and what's shocking about it is that Alan Dershowitz made it on the floor of the Senate. Again, if I had inadvertently said — compared Trump to any of those people, Scott, I would say I got it wrong. I apologize. I didn't get this wrong because it is that argument that's so dangerous that you can commit any act as long as, in your head, you believe it's good for the country because you would have — you know —

BURNETT: As long as the ends justify the means, then you’re there. 

LOCKHART: — our political system would literally break down because you would have 535 lawless people all using the argument that I'm good for my constituents so I'm going to go or a President saying I'm running against this — or this guy is blocking my legislation. I'm going to get the IRS to audit their taxes because the legislation is good for the country. We can't have that. 

NB Daily CNN Video Joe Lockhart Benito Mussolini Erin Burnett Alan Dershowitz Adolf Hitler Joseph Stalin
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