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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

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
49 mins ago - Economy & Business

Biden's inflation danger

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President-elect Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus proposal has economists and bullish market analysts revising their U.S. growth expectations higher, predicting a reflation of the economy in 2021 and possibly more booming returns for risk assets.

Yes, but: Others are warning that what's expected to be reflation could actually show up as inflation, a much less welcome phenomenon.

Ina Fried, author of Login
3 hours ago - Technology

CES was largely irrelevant this year

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Forced online by the pandemic and overshadowed by the attack on the Capitol, the 2021 edition of CES was mostly an afterthought as media's attention focused elsewhere.

Why it matters: The consumer electronics trade show is the cornerstone event for the Consumer Technology Association and Las Vegas has been the traditional early-January gathering place for the tech industry.

The FBI is tracing a digital trail to Capitol rioters

Illustration: Sarah Grillo

Capitol rioters, eager to share proof of their efforts with other extremists online, have so far left a digital footprint of at least 140,000 images that is making it easier for federal law enforcement officials to capture and arrest them.

The big picture: Law enforcement's use of digital tracing isn't new, and has long been at the center of fierce battles over privacy and civil liberties. The Capitol siege is opening a fresh front in that debate.