Mueller does believe Trump obstructed justice, but 'he's just dead wrong': Dershowitz

ABC News Chief Legal Analyst Dan Abrams and Harvard Law Professor Emeritus Alan Dershowitz analyze the potential case for obstruction of justice laid out in the Mueller report.
8:17 | 04/28/19

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Transcript for Mueller does believe Trump obstructed justice, but 'he's just dead wrong': Dershowitz
So much turns on the question the evidence laid out by Robert Mueller on obstruction of justice. The special counsel site he couldn't charge the president but couldn't clear him either to the attorney general stepped in and here's what the president said about that on Friday. It's actually get overly thought about it based on the back our rated very general May Day at a media. Isn't it that was rob. But that conclusion contradicted even by one of Trump's usual defenders judging Andrew Pollack tunnel from Fox News. When the president as Corey little and ask his former campaign manager to get Mahler fired that's obstruction of justice. When the president asked is that White House counsel to get Muller fired and that lie about it that's obstruction of justice. When he has time again to go back to the special counsel and change his testimony. That's obstruction of justice when he dangled them. Pardon in front of Michael Cullen in order to keep Collins from testifying against him that's obstruction of justice. And. Our new poll shows a close division 47% say the president did obstruct justice 41% say he did not. Screen our legal experts ABC news chief legal analyst Dan Abrams and Harvard Law School professor Renaissance Dershowitz you for an in new take. And special counsel's findings an introduction to them our report welcome. To you both and and AM let me begin with the it's interesting that that the public is divided on this question because if you just look at Muller's report. Seems kind of equivocal do you believe that he ego was laying out the idea that president trump obstruct addressed. I don't think it's any question that Robert Muller believed that the president obstructed justice so then why would need said he made it clear in his introduction to the section on obstruction of justice he said number one a sitting president can't be indicted number two. We can't even accuse him of a crime in this report. Because that would be improper but if we could exonerate him we would and we can't. That sit enemy layout and I'm not saying it every single one of the ten or eleven instances that Mueller believes there was obstruction. But I think certainly with regard to dom began. If you read that carefully said he was asked the president to fiery router and then it's a lot about it and then to lie about the conversation. I think it is clear that Robert Moeller if this were different situation would it be saying. He instructed justice in the case it's on again. At that I think Mohler does believe that I think he's just did wrong. In my introduction I argue I think very compellingly. That you have to have an act this Reyes an act of a crime and the axis radius of a crime the act cannot be exercised their constitutional authority under. Article two the president has the authority to fire. Call me call me said that himself and the president had the authority. To do virtually every market takes on the argument directly in his report and he's wrong he's wrong. A EU could tip the best analogy any. He does not mention this in this book and this is an outrage that he doesn't mention it the largest this most important precedent. Is the decision by George H. W. Bush to pardon Caspar Weinberger he did that to stop the investigation. The special prosecutor said he did it to stop the investigation and yet nobody suggested obstruction of justice if the president. Has the power to pardon and the president has the power to fire so you can't both have the power to do it under the constitution and that BB. Act that gives rise to an obstruction blessed. To be clear Allen's position is minority position in the legal but it's right it may be right but it's a minority position legal community the let me ask you this on chart what about the fact that he in according to the report is telling against a lot. Right if Seattle is that a little bit different that's not about firing right there. Notre earache if if he told McGann to lie to a federal official that's what Nixon did and that's Nixon was guilty of obstruction. If they were evidence that the president told some a subordinate. To lie to who. A government official said to live now what do not obstruction of citizen not a crime to Siberia are where we have no power relations in America during an investigation right in the course of an investigation and so when the media come sniffing about and again issue right and the president allegedly instructs or asked him again to lie as far as you're concerned about as far as I'm concerned as far as the law is concealed in fields -- lost the majority position I don't know if I'd like to be interpretation I'm off jar deep position is that the law says it's a crime to lie to an FBI official it's a lot crime to lie to a grand jury. Nowhere does it say it's a crime to lie to the media. And under our system of law in less it's specified as a crime in the statute books it's not a crime we don't live in the Soviet Union where unless it's legal everything is illegal. We look in the country were less it specifically illegal immediate moral here but it's not illegal and that guy that is the media and I understand that's why we have broad laws right they're all the structure has not at this terrible laws and make every terrible literature I don't have cars that's why you may think they're terrible but the notion that there's not a law on the books is not since there is a law on the books and it's a question of whether it's into the law statute books would criminalize every politician in America today and it would give too much discretion to prosecute Allen to pick and choose which lies to go. Let me ask you PH and his addiction to another tier of high crime. Crimes and misdemeanors and even if you believe in the united that this could not be breaking the law firing firing come here asking motor be fired. Do you believe it is an abuse of power or as some have suggested that it will be showing the presence not. Basically asking the laws upholding his that's. A fair point but that's not an impeachable offense look what Bill Clinton did was a crime but not a high crime. And what president trump may have done was high but it wasn't a crime you need both here you need a high. Crime you can't find that in Lawler report any more than you could've found in the Starr report are high crime against Bill Clinton it would be a mistake to impeach. Either of them the Republicans made that mistake against Clinton the Democrats are hope will not make that mistake you can't. Problem when you combine Alan Dershowitz is there with president trumps your right Alan Dershowitz is there is there shouldn't have been a special counsel right and also that you can't obstruct justice if you're the president owner Rick let me finish and you're doing something you have the power that -- -- a matter of what the intent is etc. you don't get to OK until you get to -- Glaxo so that's that's Alan Dershowitz is theory united combine that with the president's theory to congress should not be engaging and oversight write these subpoenas shouldn't be valid none of his people should be compliant. I don't know what were okay but I'm sink take the two together trump and Dershowitz and suddenly you have no presidential accountability. Not zero. That's why you need to have checks and balances why it is appropriate for congress to issue a subpoena but this is a perfect case for checks and balances. The president has the right to oppose the subpoenas. And this courts have to be oversight over whether congress has overreacted to what you're seeing into using blanks and stonewalling on all the subpoenas to particularly on these questions dealing with a mother report. Is that end up constituting another destructive act absolutely not he's entitled to new and and the courts are entitled to strike him down and say no you can't do that and integrity courts are gonna do. They're gonna look at every subpoena. They're gonna say it is no broad opposition to responding to subpoenas but in this case may be congress went too far. That's whatever during the McCarthy period the court said congress went too far if the car if the courts conclude that the Democrats are using this or partisan advantage rather than for legitimate oversight then the. Courts will the time to think Imus on the president's side and political history book but what's a legal issue right it's because the courts will take awhile to resolve this and the question becomes enforceability right typically when congress believes someone. Has been give should be held in contempt of congress to send the department of justice and state Department of Justice you shouldn't force can put in the basin basement they can get tickets and it says he'll sergeant at arms out you know back in the candidates and the sergeant at arms out that's not gonna happen now look of a court tells the president to comply with a subpoena he he's gonna do it. Right now documents on hand and testimony I'm not so. Sure well we remember we do you have the both the Nixon case in the Clinton case in the courts do have the power imports have been is against the president but. They will look at every subpoena and they will see. Whether or not this was abuse of congress. We're living through a perfect example whether our system of checks and balances and separation browse works and if you put Dershowitz and tried together but resilience like Dershowitz yeah. I kept separate opposition chart on this initiative and that is all we have time for today thank you put.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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