Fox News senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano
argued Wednesday that the “easiest” impeachment offense for Democrats to identify is obstruction of Congress, adding that “reasonable minds cannot disagree” with his assessment “without rejecting history.”
“I believe that the Democrats have credibly argued that [President Trump
] committed impeachable offenses,” Napolitano told “America’s Newsroom” on Fox News. “The easiest one, because this existed in Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton
— is obstruction of Congress.
“So by directing his subordinates to refuse to comply with the lawfully issued subpoenas — whether it’s for testimony or for documents — that’s an impeachable offense,” Napolitano said. “We know that from history. Every time the House of Representatives has looked at that, with respect to a president, it has found it to be impeachable.”
“On that, reasonable minds cannot disagree without rejecting history, rejecting constitutional norms,” concluded Napolitano, a former New Jersey Superior Court judge.
The House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday held its first impeachment hearing, one day after the House Intelligence Committee released the report on its findings of an investigation of Trump.
The committee examined Trump’s communications with Ukraine, and accused Trump of abusing the power of his office for personal and political gain.
Judiciary heard from three witnesses — three invited by Democrats and one by Republicans.
In a later appearance on Wednesday, Napolitano took issue with the Republican impeachment witness, law professor Jonathan Turley, who had argued that Democratic efforts to impeach Trump were “woefully inadequate” and would set “a dangerous precedent.”
“I disagree with my dear friend — I’ve worked with him and I’ve testified alongside of him, Jon Turley — on the significance of obstruction of justice, he is forgetting that the House has the sole, s-o-l-e power of impeachment,” Napolitano said.
“It doesn’t need to go to a court for approval. It doesn’t need to go to a court to get its subpoenas enforced,” he continued. “When the president receives a subpoena, or in this case Mick Mulvaney
, Mike Pompeo
, receive a subpoena and they throw it in a drawer, they don’t comply or challenge because the president told them to, that is the act of obstruction.”
Mulvaney is the White House chief of staff, while Pompeo is the secretary of State.
The Intelligence report did not include any recommendations for articles of impeachment, but it focused on what it said was obstruction by the administration, including through not allowing witnesses to testify, and through the intimidation of some witnesses.
If Trump is impeached in the House of Representatives, a two-thirds majority would be needed in the Senate for removal. Under that unlikely scenario, 20 GOP senators would need to defect in a Senate trial vote.
This story was updated at 4:35 p.m.