Law professor Alan Dershowitz, who is a member of President Donald Trump’s impeachment defense team, said in 2016 that he believed Trump was more corrupt than Hillary Clinton and more likely to continue being corrupt as president.
Dershowitz spoke on the Senate floor Monday in defense of the President.
He made the 2016 comments during an appearance on the Trending Today USA radio show when asked about The Clinton Foundation. Dershowitz vocally supported Clinton for president at the time.
“When you compare that to what Trump has done with Trump University, with so many other things, I think there’s no comparison between who has engaged in more corruption and who is more likely to continue that if elected President of the United States,” Dershowitz said. “So I think what we’re doing is we’re comparing, we’re saying, look, neither candidate is anywhere close to perfect, let’s vote for the less bad candidate.”
Trump University was not a licensed university, but a for-profit real estate seminar. Former students had alleged they were defrauded by the operation, and after the 2016 election, Trump agreed to pay $25 million to settle three lawsuits against the program. Trump repeatedly denied the fraud claims and said that he could have won at trial, but he said that as president he did not have time because he wanted to focus on the country.
In an email to CNN in response to a request for comment, Dershowitz said, “I was campaigning for Clinton. That’s what I believed at the time based on media reports. I didn’t know Trump. I knew Clinton.”
The White House declined to comment.
Dershowitz was highly critical of Trump during the 2016 election. NBC News reported on Sunday that in a 2016 book, the law professor called him a “destabilizing and unpredictable candidate” who “openly embraces fringe conspiracy theories peddled by extremists.”
In other radio media appearances reviewed by CNN’s KFile throughout 2016, Dershowitz said while he liked Trump as a person, he disliked Trump-the-candidate.
Dershowitz repeatedly criticized Trump for not disavowing the alt-right movement and worried Trump would “embolden and strengthen” fascist elements in society.
“I think he’s a canny politician and he knows he can’t win this election without the alt right – without getting people to vote for him, whose views he disapproves of. But he hasn’t had the courage to really stand up to the alt right in the way he should,” he said on The Jamie Weinstein Show in 2016.
“There is a kind of fascist mentality in the world today. I don’t worry that Donald Trump will try to govern that way. I do worry that he will embolden and strengthen some of the fascist elements in our society,” added Dershowitz.