AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
All right. Following this conversation, we're going to hear from NPR's White House correspondent, Franco Ordoñez.
Welcome back, Franco.
FRANCO ORDOÑEZ, BYLINE: Thank you.
CORNISH: What struck you about what you heard from Mr. Dershowitz?
ORDOÑEZ: Well, what stuck out to me is how much he tried to downplay his role in all this and promote his independence. You know, he talked a lot about how he was a liberal Democrat. He noted that he did not share many of the views of the president on many of his policies, such as immigration and abortion. You know, and he's clearly - but the reality is he's clearly playing a very significant role, helping deliver the opening statement for the legal team against impeachment. I also found it interesting that Dershowitz talked about the Epstein controversy with the president. He said he wanted to make sure President Trump was OK with having him involved.
CORNISH: Can you remind us the status of that case?
ORDOÑEZ: Well, this is a case that could prove complicated. The optics are something that are, you know, somewhat dangerous for Dershowitz and Trump. Jeffrey Epstein was awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges. Authorities say he killed himself in prison. One of Epstein's victims, as Mary Louise pointed out, said in a court filing that he was - that she was pressed to have sex with Dershowitz. He, of course, has repeatedly denied these allegations. And these are claims he made in the interview that he has also said before. At this point in the legal case, both sides are suing each other for defamation. I should note that we've reached out to the lawyer for the woman who accused Dershowitz. The lawyer was not immediately available for comment.
CORNISH: Finally, what does Dershowitz bring to the case for President Trump, outside of this controversy?
ORDOÑEZ: Well, he's been a longtime staunch defender of President Trump. He's good on television, which we know the president likes and values. And he's also joined by a team of other lawyers - Ken Starr, Robert Ray, who were also involved - who were involved in the Clinton investigations that led to president - former President Clinton's impeachment, as well as Pam Bondi. She's the former attorney general and another vocal defender, who we often see on Fox News. So there's a lot of players. He kind of rounds out this team that's, you know, in some ways as good on television as they are in the courtroom.
CORNISH: That's NPR's Franco Ordoñez at the White House.
Thanks for that context.
ORDOÑEZ: Thank you so much. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.