Fox News senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano said Thursday that Republican complaints about the “secrecy” of closed-door impeachment hearings don’t hold water because the process is “consistent with the rules” that a “Republican majority” signed into law.
Judge Napolitano’s appearance on Fox & Friends Thursday morning came a day after a group of Republican members of the House, some of whom did not serve on the investigating committees, stormed one of those secure depositions, chanting “let us in.” The stunt temporarily delayed Wednesday’s hearing.
Trump and his Republican supporters have repeatedly argued that the Democratic-led impeachment inquiry has been conducted improperly because the testimony of witnesses has been carried out in close-door hearings.
In response to Trump and his Republican supporters’ argument that the Democratic-led impeachment inquiry has been conducted improperly because the testimony of witnesses has been carried out in close-door hearings, Napolitano said: “I read the House rules, and as frustrating as it may be to have these hearings going on behind closed doors—the hearings over which Congressman Schiff is presiding—they are consistent with the rules.”
“They can make up any rules they want?!” Brian Kilmeade replied.
“Well, they can’t change the rules, they follow the rules,” Napolitano said.
“When were the rules written last?” the legal expert asked. “In January of 2015. And who signed them? John Boehner [the Republican speaker of the House]. And who enacted them? A Republican majority,” he asserted.
“The rules say that this level of inquiry, this initial level of inquiry, can be done in secret,” Napolitano said, effectively dismantling the primary talking point of both Fox News and the Trump White House. “Secret evidence doesn’t work in this world, so eventually there will be a public presentation of this,” he added, “at which lawyers for the president can cross-examine these people and challenge them.”
“So I get it, the Republicans are frustrated, they wanted to make a point and they made their point, but this is just not the most effective way to show respect for what your colleagues are doing,” Napolitano said.
Napolitano added, “I know this is going to sound weird, these are not the impeachment hearings. The impeachment hearings have to be held in public by the House Judiciary Committee. This is the initial interview of witnesses to see what they have to say, to determine whether or not they are even worthy of presenting evidence of impeachment.”
“And they’ll continue to go on and on and on until they find something on the president, right?” Ainsley Earhardt chimed in.
“Yes, that’s what police and prosecutors do,” Napolitano explained. “They come to a conclusion that the person is probably guilty and then they look for evidence to either support or negate that. That’s what Congressman Schiff is doing and he’s following the rules—as frustrating as those rules are.”
Andrew Napolitano: "As frustrating as it may be to have these hearings going on behind closed doors … they are consistent with the rules. … When were the rules written last? In January of 2015. And who signed them? John Boehner. And who enacted them? A Republican majority." pic.twitter.com/Zl10ZNugf4
— Bobby Lewis (@revrrlewis) October 24, 2019