The ultimate purpose of House Republicans illegally storming a SCIF was to reinforce a narrative they have been cultivating to turn the public against impeachment: The hearings are secret and therefore Democrats must be hiding something from the American people.
But Thursday’s edition of “Fox & Friends,” conservative former judge and Trump-skeptic legal analyst Andrew Napolitano demolished that talking point in conversation with anchors Brian Kilmeade and Ainsley Earhardt.
“Let me tell you what I did, Kilmeade, I read the House rules,” said Napolitano. “And as frustrating as it may be to have these hearings going on behind closed doors, the hearings for which Congressman Schiff is presiding, they are consistent with the rules.”
“They can make up any rules they want,” scoffed Kilmeade.
“They can’t change the rules,” said Napolitano. “They follow 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.”
“What do the rules say?” said Earhardt.
“The rules say this level of inquiry, this initial level of inquiry can be done in secret,” said Napolitano. “What happened in the Nixon impeachment? My former boss. I was his page in the House of Representatives. Peter Rodino, instead of holding the hearings in secret, interviewed the witnesses in secret. Congressman Henry Hyde in the Clinton impeachment, witnesses interviewed in secret and presented in public. Congressman Schiff, with a different set of rules, chooses to do initial set of interviews in secret.”
“Secret doesn’t work in this world,” Napolitano added. “Eventually there will be a public presentation of this. At which point lawyers for the president can cross-examine these people and challenge them. This is like presenting a case to a grand jury, which is never done in public. So, I get it. The Republicans are frustrated. And 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.”
Trump’s latest and most ludicrous con job
Donald Trump is con artist in chief of the United States. His many apparent and impeachable crimes, such as the Ukraine scandal, collusion with Russia and violations of the Emoluments Clause, flow from that fact. Of course, Trump’s long con involves millions and perhaps even billions of dollars. But Trump’s big score, his ultimate goal, is permanent control of the presidency of the United States and the power for him and his family and allies to engage in legal theft indefinitely.
This article first appeared on Salon.
I was an impeachment skeptic. Here’s why I’m now convinced Trump must be removed
Despite all the uncertainty surrounding impeachment, we can capture the current moment succinctly: President Trump’s fate hinges on whether Republican senators are more fearful of losing in a primary or in the general election. Now that the live impeachment hearings are about to fuel nationwide prime-time programming, those senators’ fears are likely to intensify.
While that dynamic will determine whether Trump will be removed from office, it doesn’t tell us whether he should be. I am generally an impeachment skeptic. My recent book—Impeaching the President: Past, Present, Future—argues that impeachment should be regarded as a last resort that, as a general proposition, is inappropriate in a president’s first term. The American people are capable of rendering judgment and should be given the first crack.
Nicolle Wallace tells Colbert why she cursed at Fox News host Laura Ingraham — and that she left the GOP
MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace appeared on Stephen Colbert's "Late Show" Wednesday after spending hours analyzing the impeachment hearings that began that morning.
One of the first things Colbert asked about was the recent smackdown from Wallace about Fox News host Laura Ingraham and her guests going after Col. Alexander Vindman. Ingraham proposed that because Vindman was born in Ukraine that he was somehow a traitor to the United States for coming forward about President Donald Trump's admitted crimes.