Fox News analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano said Monday that Democrats should re-open the impeachment inquiry to consider adding articles or to question more witnesses on the basis of alleged new evidence.
Pelosi’s “frustrating” strategy
In a discussion of the current congressional stalemate over impeachment, Napolitano said he agreed with the frustration felt by Republican senators like Lindsey Graham (R-SC) over the delay House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has imposed on the impeachment trial process. The House Democrats voted to pass the articles of impeachment in December, but Pelosi has not yet forwarded the articles to the Senate.
“I think her strategy is rather obvious and I know how frustrating it is to Sen. Graham,” the judge said.
“She’s trying to coerce the Senate into changing its rules so that the House prosecutors that she will send over there can call witnesses who had not testified in the Judiciary or Intelligence Committee hearings,” he added.
House should “re-open the impeachment”
Asked if that had been the job of the House — calling all desired witnesses to testify prior to drafting and voting on articles of impeachment — Napolitano agreed and proceeded to offer up his unsolicited advice for both Democrats and Republicans.
“If I were a Democrat in the House, I would be moving to re-open the impeachment on the basis of newly-acquired evidence that is these new emails of people getting instructions directly from the president to hold up on the sending of the funds,” he said. “That would justify holding on to the articles of impeachment because there’s new evidence, perhaps new articles.”
The Washington Examiner noted that Napolitano was referring to emails released to the public last month that showed a White House budget official contacting a counterpart in the Defense Department to inform them of the temporary delay to military aid to Ukraine.
One of those communications came just hours after President Donald Trump’s now-infamous July 25 phone call to the Ukrainian president, though the process for a hold had begun prior to that.
The judge continued: “If I were a Republican in the Senate, I would go about my business as if there had been no articles of impeachment because until those articles of impeachment come over to the Senate, there is nothing for the Senate to do.”
Asked to consider the constitutional perspective of the delay in transmitting the articles, Napolitano said, “The framers did not contemplate the House sitting on these articles. They contemplated a trial at which the president would get the same due process rights as any defendant does at any trial in any federal court in the United States.”
Ball remains in House Democrats’ court
Judge Napolitano is actually correct, both in that Senate Republicans should simply ignore the House-passed articles of impeachment until they are officially sent over as well as in his assertion that House Democrats should re-open their impeachment inquiry if they want new documents and additional witness testimony to be considered as evidence for the existing articles or for potential additional articles.
As things stand at the moment, however, Democrats have no room to complain about what the Senate does, and the Senate has no reason to waste any time on impeachment until the House fulfills its end of the process.