Fox News’ Judge Napolitano has suggested President Donald Trump is losing the argument that the impeachment inquiry is unfair, because he is refusing to send lawyers to participate in it.
Speaking on Fox News on Monday, legal analyst Andrew Napolitano suggested that the president himself shouldn’t participate in the hearings, but warned against the White House opting out of the process entirely but refusing to send lawyers along.
“The rules about which the president is complaining were written by a Republican House of Representatives in 2015, so I think the president would be very unwise not to send lawyers there,” he said.
“He shouldn’t go himself—that would be unseemly for him to sit there while people are testifying against him or while legal scholars are arguing over what is and what is not.”
“The Democrats are not doing anything that the Democrats did not do to Nixon or the Republicans didn’t do the Bill Clinton. But I think he makes a mistake when he refuses to participate. It is a valid vote by the House of Representatives that authorized this. He also loses the argument that it’s unfair if he doesn’t take the opportunity to participate himself,” he added.
His comments come following the news that the White House will not participate in Wednesday’s Judiciary Committee hearing.
“We cannot fairly be expected to participate in a hearing while the witnesses are yet to be named and while it remains unclear whether the Judiciary Committee will afford the President a fair process through additional hearings,” White House Counsel to the President Pat Cipollone said in a letter to Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler.
“More importantly, an invitation to an academic discussion with law professors does not begin to provide the President with any semblance of a fair process. Accordingly, under the current circumstances, we do not intend to participate in your Wednesday hearing,” the letter added.
Wednesday’s hearing will be the first of the impeachment inquiry before the Judiciary Committee, the inquiry having transferred from the Intelligence Committee following several months of fact-finding prompted by a whistleblower complaint about a phone call between Trump and Ukraine.
In the phone call, Trump is accused of pressuring Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate his potential political rival Joe Biden and his son Hunter. Aid to the country was withheld around the time of the call, but Trump and his allies have denied there was any pressure or quid pro quo suggested in the call.
“It seems clear that the president pushed an agenda which had the Ukrainians trying to do something against the president’s political opponent and while he pushed that agenda, he held up $391 million in aid,” Napolitano said.
“It’s not black and white. In my view it is clearly impeachable because it includes two crimes: the crime of bribery… the other crime is asking for campaign aid from a foreign national. That is a crime in and of itself, just asking. They’re free to say that’s not an impeachable offense, but they’re not free to say it didn’t happen because the evidence that is did happen is overwhelming,” he added.
Newsweek has reached out to the White House for comment.