Fox News senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano said there is more than enough evidence for the Senate to remove Donald Trump from office, insisting that any Republican senator who has told the president he will be acquitted is “unworthy of sitting as a juror” during the trial.
Napolitano, who previously served as a New Jersey Superior Court judge, has become a frequent critic of Trump and his administration, repeatedly saying that the president’s impeachment by the House of Representatives was merited. In an editorial published by Fox News on Thursday, he dismisses arguments made by Trump’s defenders, saying that there is clear evidence that the president abused his power.
“It leaves us with valid, lawful, constitutional arguments for Trump’s impeachment that he ought to take seriously,” Napolitano wrote, after explaining the legal basis for the president’s impeachment. “That is, unless he knows he will be acquitted because Republican senators have told him so. Whoever may have whispered that into his ear is unworthy of sitting as a juror and has violated the oath of impartial justice and fidelity to the Constitution and the law,” he argued.
“What is required for removal of the president?” the former judge asked. “A demonstration of presidential commission of high crimes and misdemeanors, of which in Trump’s case the evidence is ample and uncontradicted.”
Several Republican lawmakers, most prominently Senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, have said publicly that they do not plan to be “impartial” during the trial. They have also claimed that there is no legitimate case against the president, suggesting he will almost certainly be acquitted.
Most analysts agree that it is highly unlikely the president will be removed from office. Such a vote requires a two-thirds majority, so at least 20 GOP senators would have to vote against the president along with the chamber’s 45 Democrats and two independents.
Alan Dershowitz, a retired Harvard law professor who will be making an argument in Trump’s defense during the trial, has said that Trump’s actions, even if all the allegations are verified, are not impeachable. Dershowitz claims that a president has to commit an explicit crime to be removed from office, a view that many constitutional scholars dispute. Napolitano, while not mentioning Dershowitz, dismissed the argument.
“The Constitution prescribes the basis for impeachment as treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors. However, this use of the word crimes does not refer to violations of federal criminal statutes,” he wrote. “It refers to behavior that is so destructive of the constitutional order that it is the moral equivalent of statutory crimes.”
Despite being a prominent commentator on Fox News, which many view as overtly supportive of the president and Republicans, Napolitano, along with several other contributors, has been a regular Trump critic. Because of the former judge’s commentary, Trump has even claimed that he has a personal vendetta against him because he was not offered a nomination to the Supreme Court.
Napolitano has disputed the claim, saying that he had been on Trump’s list but he never took the possibility seriously. Asked by the Associated Press in November about the president’s criticism, the former judge said, “I don’t resent it because I know what he’s like.”
He added, “He sees the world through his own eyes, and he doesn’t have the sensitive conscience that the rest of us do.”