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Alan Dershowitz, a member of President Trump's legal defense team for the impeachment trial, said on CNN's "State of the Union" that he will be arguing in the Senate that abuse of power and obstruction of Congress do not amount to impeachable offenses, even if proven.

Why it matters: Dershowitz said he will, in his oral arguments at the trial, contend that the House can only impeach a president who has committed "criminal-like" conduct — not political charges such as abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

  • House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff said on ABC's "This Week" that Dershowitz's argument is an "absurdist position" that someone would only make if the facts of the case were not on their side.
  • Rep. Jason Crow, who along with Schiff is one of the Democrats' seven impeachment managers, argued on CNN that if a president can't be indicted and abuse of power isn't impeachable, then "no president can be held accountable."

What they're saying: Jeffrey Toobin, a former federal prosecutor and CNN's lead legal analyst, said Dershowitz is making an argument against witness testimony in the impeachment trial.

  • "Alan is saying, and you correct me if I am wrong, is that even if everything that the Democrats allege is true, there's still no impeachable offense here, and so that means there is no need for witnesses, is that right?" Toobin said.
  • "Well, that is partly right," Dershowitz responded. "I mean, if a person is indicted on something that not a crime, you don't call the witnesses."
  • Dershowitz added that "the House has the ability to go back to call witnesses, and reframe the articles of impeachment in order to set out impeachable offenses."

Between the lines: Determining the role of witness testimony has been a point of major contention in the lead-up to the trial.

  • Some Republicans argue that Democrats should not be able to call witnesses in the Senate because they had the chance to call them in the House.
  • They also believe Trump has the power to invoke executive privilege over testimony from aides like acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney.

Yes, but: It would take just four Republicans to vote with Democrats to call witnesses like former national security adviser John Bolton, who has said he would testify if subpoenaed.

  • 66% of Americans said they wanted to hear from Bolton in the trial, according to a Quinnipiac national poll of 1,562 voters.

Go deeper: Trump's concede-nothing defense

Go deeper

House Judiciary Committee advances reparations bill in historic vote

Sheila Jackson Lee. Photo: Al Drago/Getty Images

The House Judiciary Committee voted 25 to 17 Wednesday to advance a bill that would create a commission to study reparations for Black Americans who are the descendants of slaves.

Why it matters: "No such bill has ever come this far during Congressional history of the United States," said Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), who sponsored the bill, per the Washington Post.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Officer Kim Potter arrested, charged with manslaughter in Daunte Wright's death

Kim Potter's booking photos. Photo: Hennepin County Sheriff's Office

Kim Potter, the former police officer charged with second-degree manslaughter in the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright, was released on a $100,000 bond on Wednesday, Hennepin County jail records show.

Why it matters: Sunday's shooting of the 20-year-old Black man in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, just 10 miles from where George Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer last year, has reinvigorated Black Lives Matter protests and led to three consecutive nights of unrest.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden names Erika Moritsugu as senior AAPI liaison

Erika Moritsugu. Photo courtesy: National Partnership for Women & Families

President Biden has named Erika Moritsugu as deputy assistant to the president and Asian American and Pacific Islander senior liaison, the White House announced Wednesday.

Driving the news: The decision follows weeks of pressure from AAPI leaders to include more Asian American representation at the Cabinet level and in senior administration roles.