CNN's Joe Lockhart calls Dershowitz's Trump defense 'un-American': 'This is what you hear from Stalin, Mussolini, Hitler'

CNN political analyst Joe Lockhart slammed Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz's "un-American" defense of President Trump at the Senate trial, comparing it to rhetoric heard from dictatorships like Joseph Stalin and Adolph Hitler.

Dershowitz made the argument to the Senate juror on Wednesday that politicians believe that their own elections are "in the public interest" and that Trump's efforts to withhold aid from Ukraine in exchange for an investigation into the Bidens in order to benefit him in the 2020 election cannot be a "quid pro quo" that results in an impeachment since the president believed he was acting "in the public interest."

During a panel discussion, Lockhart conceded that each campaign believes it's "better for the country" if they won, but that it "doesn't give you license to commit crimes or to do things that are unethical," calling the argument "absurd."

"This is un-American," Lockhart said. "This is what you hear from Stalin, this is what you hear from Mussolini, what you hear from an authoritarian like Hitler, from all the authoritarian people who rationalized, you know, in some cases genocide based on what was in the public interest. It was startling and I still can't believe he went on the floor of the Senate and made that argument."

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The former Clinton aide received pushback from CNN commentator Scott Jennings, who called the comparison between Trump and the dictators "inappropriate."

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"That's not the comparison I made," Lockhart shot back. "I said that argument, that rationalization is exactly the rationalization that these authoritarian dictators make which is 'We do these things because yes they're in my interest, but it's in the public interest.'"

He added, "So Scott's right, you shouldn't compare the president to any of those poeple, but I didn't. I compared the argument."