Defense attorney and constitutional law scholar Alan Dershowitz said Monday that President Donald Trump is now facing “the most serious charge ever made against a sitting president” after reports that he shared highly classified information with Russia’s foreign minister and ambassador during a White House visit last week.
Trump described details about how ISIS hopes to use laptop computers as bombs on planes, The Washington Post first reported. Two former officials knowledgeable of the situation confirmed to CNN’s Jake Tapper that the main points of the Post story are accurate: The President shared classified information with the Russian foreign minister.
“I get great intel. I have people brief me on great intel every day,” one official with knowledge told the Post Trump said, before the President reportedly relayed specific classified intelligence.
Multiple administration officials denied the story, including national security adviser H.R. McMaster, who said, “I was in the room, it didn’t happen” and “at no time were intelligence sources or methods discussed and the President did not disclose any military operations that weren’t already publicly known.”
During an appearance on CNN’s “Erin Burnett Outfront,” Dershowitz said The Washington Post story would have severe implications if true and that other controversies surrounding the White House now pale in comparison.
“Let’s not minimize it,” he said. “Comey is in the wastebasket of history. Everything else is off the table. This is the most serious charge ever made against a sitting president of the United States. Let’s not underestimate it.”
Dershowitz also had a warning for Democrats, cautioning that it would be “a serious mistake” to conflate this with whether the Trump campaign had possible ties to Russian officials.
“We should not be talking about these other issues, we should be focusing only on this threat,” he said. “That’s where Republicans and Democrats can agree. Democrats should not be trying to take political advantage of this. This should be a national security issue pure and simple in isolation of everything else that went on before.”
But Dershowitz also noted the President is able to declassify information, and because of that, Trump would be “safe from criminal investigation” and “probably safe from impeachment.”
He added that “we may have to ban all laptops starting tomorrow” because of the alleged disclosure, calling the situation “an emergency.”