“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,” Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst Andrew Napolitano tells Nick Gillespie in a wide-ranging podcast.
Since joining Fox News in the early 2000s, no cable news personality has been more uncompromisingly libertarian than Andrew Napolitano, a former New Jersey Superior Court judge and best-selling author who now serves as senior judicial analyst at Fox and host of the Liberty File on the streaming service Fox Nation. During the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama, the judge inveighed against the growth of the federal government and overreach by the executive branch. Now, Donald Trump has earned Napolitano’s ire.
The allegations are not “enough to convict [the president] of bribery” in a court of law, Napolitano says, “but it’s enough to allege it for the purpose of impeachment” since impeachment is “not legal [but] political.” The judge adds that while he thinks impeachment is “absolutely constitutional,” it is also “probably morally unjust.” Besides bribery, he lays out four more likely articles that he thinks House Democrats will bring against Trump.
“The second charge will be high crimes and misdemeanors, election law violation,” says Napolitano. “The third crime will be obstruction of justice. The fourth will be interference with a witness and the fifth may be lying under oath.”
Over the past few months, Napolitano has emerged as one of Trump’s harshest critics, claiming back in May that the Mueller Report demonstrated that the president had clearly obstructed justice. In response to the judge’s comments, the president issued a series of angry tweets accusing Napolitano of seeking a seat on the Supreme Court and personal favors (the judge denies all claims in this exclusive Reason interview).
Though he thinks the recent House hearings provide grounds for impeachment, the judge finds it unlikely that the Republican-controlled Senate will vote to remove the president—and that the bigger problem is the way federal government continues to arrogate power to itself.
“No American president in the post–Woodrow Wilson era has stayed within the confines of the Constitution,” says Napolitano. “And each president has more authority than his predecessors, for the simple reason that Democratic Congresses give power to Democratic presidents and Republican Congresses give power to Republican presidents. That power stays in the presidency. So Donald Trump actually has more authority than Barack Obama did, who had more authority than George W. Bush did, etc.”
Napolitano argues that the federal government stays in power by “bribing” states and individuals with giveaways. The result, he says, is unsustainable debt that will ultimately undermine the economy and with it, social order. “The decline of certain types of cultural gatekeepers that said no [to] certain lifestyles obviously is liberating,” notes Napolitano. “But the same technology which lets me put the works of Thomas Aquinas in my pocket also lets the government follow me wherever I go and record whatever conversation I have with Gillespie or whoever I’m talking to, the Constitution be damned.”
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For a video version of this interview, go here.
Audio production by Ian Keyser.