Fox News legal analyst Andrew Napolitano published a column Thursday in which he outlined the case that President Donald Trump repeatedly tried to unlawfully obstruct special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
In his editorial, Napolitano argued that Attorney General Bill Barr was wrong to clear Trump of obstruction charges, as it’s very clear from Mueller’s report that the special counsel believes that the president obstructed justice.
In fact, Napolitano takes Barr to task for his view that you cannot obstruct an investigation that does not find that you committed an underlying crime.
“The nearly universal view of law enforcement, however, is that the obstruction statute prohibits all attempted self-serving interference with government investigations or proceedings,” he writes. “Thus, as Georgetown Professor Neal Katyal recently pointed out, former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was convicted of obstruction for interfering with an investigation of his extramarital affair, even though the affair was lawful.”
Napolitano further argues that someone’s attempt to obstruct justice doesn’t have to be successful for it to be a criminal offense.
“If my neighbor tackles me on my way into a courthouse in order to impede a jury from hearing my testimony, and, though delayed, I still make it to the courthouse and testify, then the neighbor is guilty of obstruction because he attempted to impede the work of the jury that was waiting to hear me,” he writes.
The Fox News legal analyst concludes that Democrats would be well within their rights to start up impeachment hearings based on the Mueller report, though he hedges about whether they would successfully get enough Republicans on board to ever convict the president.
Still, he argues, this does not excuse Trump’s behavior as outlined in the Mueller report.
“Ordering obstruction to save himself from the consequences of his own behavior is unlawful, defenseless and condemnable,” he writes.