As his impeachment trial proceeds this week in the Senate, President Donald Trump can not even count on Fox News to provide him with an unbroken base of support. Their contributor Judge Andrew Napolitano has now come out with an opinion piece published on the Fox News website itself in which he declares that he believes that there is definitely enough evidence to remove Trump from office, although there’s no real sign that a single Republican in the Senate will actually consider that option. Still, he has used the president’s favorite mainstream cable news outlet to declare that Trump is guilty.
In stark contrast to the flippant, dozens of tweets-long Twitter tirades and other public meltdowns that Trump has engaged in targeting impeachment investigators, Napolitano insists that the impeachment proceedings have been “deadly serious business based on well-established constitutional norms.”
He added that he even believes Trump could be charged with specific violations of the federal criminal code, although that’s not included in his articles of impeachment.
‘In Trump’s case, though the House chose delicately not to accuse the president of specific crimes, there is enough evidence here to do so. Federal election laws proscribe as criminal the mere solicitation of help for a political campaign from a foreign national or government. There is no dispute that Trump did this.’
Indeed — Trump’s well-documented plot to pressure Ukraine into investigating his opponents is at the core of the impeachment case against him. And according to Napolitano, that scheme and its aftermath include at least two other crimes as well: bribery and contempt of Congress, the latter of which covers the president’s relentless refusal to comply with Congressional subpoenas and other demands for material.
‘What is required for removal of the president? A demonstration of presidential commission of high crimes and misdemeanors, of which in Trump’s case the evidence is ample and uncontradicted.’
As he notes, despite arguments to the contrary from the president’s defenders, it’s not even necessary for articles of impeachment against a president to cite specific violations of the criminal code — although Napolitano believes that those are present here as well. Trump has whined on Twitter about Napolitano before, but that’s not exactly about to silence him.
The issue gets at something broader, which the Fox News contributor also references. In short, Republicans have seemingly abandoned their commitment to the rule of law en masse in favor of relentlessly protecting the president. As the trial got underway, Trump ally and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) explicitly admitted that Republican support for the president hinged on the political benefits they thought they’d get.
In remarks that went viral across Twitter in the hours after he delivered them, House Intel Committee Chairman and impeachment case manager Adam Schiff (D) summarized:
‘Donald Trump must be convicted and removed from office. Because he will always choose his own personal interest over our national interest. Because in America, right matters. Truth matters. If not, no Constitution can protect us. If not, we are lost.’
And yet, Republicans keep sticking by the president.
Donald Trump must be convicted and removed from office.
Because he will always choose his own personal interest over our national interest.
Because in America, right matters. Truth matters.
If not, no Constitution can protect us.
If not, we are lost. pic.twitter.com/USfx6v9KsT
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) January 24, 2020