What Constitutes an Impeachable Offense?

August 30, 2018


After the president’s former lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was convicted of bank and tax fraud, questions swirled about whether the president had been implicated in criminal acts and what acts may be deemed impeachable offenses.

To shed light on when and how the Framers intended for the impeachment power to be used, Alan Dershowitz and Joshua Matz join host Jeffrey Rosen for a spirited debate. Dershowitz argues that commitment of a crime is a necessary, but not totally sufficient, condition for impeachment, while Matz counters that every crime is not necessarily an impeachable offense and an impeachable offense does not have to be a crime.

Note: A transcript of the podcast is linked here. This text may not be in its final form and accuracy may vary, and it may be updated or revised in the future.



Alan Dershowitz is Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law, Emeritus at Harvard Law School and the author of The Case Against Impeaching Trump, published earlier this summer. He has been called “the nation’s most peripatetic civil liberties lawyer” and one of its “most distinguished defenders of individual rights.” 

Joshua Matz is of counsel at Gupta Wessler PLLC and Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP where his practice specialties include appellate litigation and constitutional law. He is the author of To End a Presidency: The Power of Impeachment, which he co-wrote with Professor Laurence Tribe, and the publisher of Take Care, a blog that covers the Trump presidency and administration. 

Jeffrey Rosen is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Constitution Center, the only institution in America chartered by Congress “to disseminate information about the United States Constitution on a nonpartisan basis.” 

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