Fox’s Napolitano says Trump articles of impeachment could include bribery, obstruction

Fox News senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano said in a recent interview that he believes the evidence uncovered in the House’s ongoing impeachment inquiry into President Trump is enough “to justify about three or four articles of impeachment” against him. 

“The Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee have unearthed enough evidence, in my opinion, to justify about three or four articles of impeachment against the president,” he said during a podcast interview with Reason’s Nick Gillespie. 

When pressed by Gillespie about what impeachment articles he thinks House Democrats will introduce against Trump, Napolitano began by listing bribery, an offense Speaker Nancy Pelosi has already accused Trump of committing in his dealings with the Ukraine.

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“Here’s what I think they will advance,” Napolitano said, referring to House Democrats. “One is bribery. … The technical definition of bribery is the failure to perform an official duty until a thing of value comes your way.”

Napolitano said he thinks House Democrats will introduce the charge based on what he called Trump’s “failure” to disperse U.S. military aid to the Ukraine earlier this year. House Democrats have accused Trump of withholding the assistance in order to obtain political favors.

“They will argue that the president’s failure to disperse funds that the Congress ordered be dispersed until the recipient of the funds agreed to investigate a potential political opponent is an act of bribery,” Napolitano said. 

“That is enough, in my opinion, to make it over the threshold of impeachable offenses. I don’t think it’s enough to convict [Trump] of bribery, but it’s enough to allege it for the purpose of impeachment,” he continued. 

The second charge, Napolitano predicted, would be that of “high crimes and misdemeanors” and “election law violation.”

“The third crime will be obstruction of justice. The fourth will be interference with a witness,” he went on, adding that the “the fifth may be lying under oath.”

Napolitano pointed to recent reports that Democrats are looking at Trump’s potential obstruction of former special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe to suggest the fifth charge. 

“The last article of impeachment that I believe they’re contemplating, it’s the same one with which they charged President Nixon and President Clinton, and that is obstruction of Congress by refusing to permit officials of the executive branch to testify and refusing to permit those officials to have access to their own documents,” Napolitano said.

“Because the House can write its own rules and because those rules say that a committee has subpoena power, you need the authority of the full House, and because there are no defenses except those which come from the Constitution, the president cannot interfere with the investigation of himself without risking this charge,” he said.

“So, when Clinton said to Betty Curry, his secretary, ‘Don’t tell them,’ and when Nixon said to [John] Ehrlichman, [H.R.] Haldeman and [John] Dean, ‘Don’t tell them,’ and some of them did, they were still charged with this,” the legal analyst continued. “The obstruction doesn’t have to succeed from the presidential perspective. It only has to be articulated.”

“So, this is at least the Democratic argument,” he added.

It has been nine weeks since Pelosi announced the House would be formally launching an impeachment inquiry into Trump. This week, the House Judiciary Committee is set to hold its first hearing in the investigation to determine whether evidence that has been collected so far in the inquiry warrants bringing forward articles of impeachment against Trump.

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Written by Alan Smith

Alan Smith

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