Harvard Law School professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz said Thursday that reports that White House senior adviser Jared Kushner was under FBI scrutiny on Russia pointed to an inquiry that was "being done backwards" and "raises great concerns about civil liberties."
"Usually, you can point to a statute and say, 'We're investigating crime under this statute,'" Dershowitz told Anderson Cooper on CNN before referencing special prosecutor Robert Mueller.
"What Mueller seems to be doing is saying: 'We don't like what happened. Maybe there was some collaboration. But I can't figure out what statute was being violated.'
"When Hillary Clinton was being investigated, at least we knew what the statute was."
Jamie Gorelick, Kushner's lawyer, said that her client would cooperate with the probe.
"Mr. Kushner previously volunteered with Congress what he knows about these meetings," she said in a statement. "He will do the same if he is contacted in connection with any other inquiry."
Dershowitz had some advice for Gorelick, whom he said was a former student.
"I would say, first to the investigators: 'Before you talk to my client, I want to know what your authority is. What your jurisdiction is.'"
Laking that foundation, Dershowitz likened the Kushner inquiry to the words of Joseph Stalin's secret police chief, Lavrentiy Beria: "Show me the man and I’ll find you the crime."
"I don't like criminal investigations to start on hoping that once you have the target, maybe we'll find the crime, maybe we'll find the statute – and if we can't find the statute, we'll stretch the statute to fit the person.
"I don't want to ever see that come to America."