After Republican members of the House literally stormed the gates of the impeachment hearings on Wednesday, Judge Andrew Napolitano stopped by Fox & Friends Thursday morning to deliver a harsh wake-up call: Democrats are just “following the rules”—rules written by Republicans.
“I read the House rules,” Napolitano said. “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.
Speaking more slowly, Napolitano told him, “Well, they can’t change the rules, they follow the rules.” He went to explain that those rules were last written in January 2015 when Republicans held the majority and the Speaker of the House was John Boehner.
“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.
As the Fox & Friends hosts continued to protest, he 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.”