Judge Napolitano's Descent into Foolishness

Consistent with Fox News Channel's continued listing to port, which I wrote about in my July 31, 2019 American Thinker article "Fox Veers Left," Fox News legal analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano, once a staunch defender of objective truth, has provoked a firestorm with his agreement with Democratic clown car passenger Rep.  Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) that President Trump committed a crime in his July 25 phone conversation with Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky.  As Fox News reported:

Judge Andrew Napolitano told Fox News host Shepard Smith on Tuesday that the president effectively confessed to a crime when he admitted he asked Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.

Napolitano, a Fox News senior judicial analyst, had framed President Trump's earlier statement as an admission that he tried to "solicit aid for his campaign from a foreign government."

"So that to which the president has admitted is in and of itself a crime," Smith followed. Napolitano responded, "yes," and claimed it was the same crime former Special Counsel Robert Mueller investigated as part of the long-running Russia investigation.

Napolitano's comments constituted as much of a parody of the truth as the fable spun by House Intelligence Committee chairman Schiff's recent interrogation of acting director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire over the transcript of the call, which suggests nothing of the sort.  Zelensky himself said he was not "pushed" by Trump into investigating the corruption of the Bidens.  So there was no quid pro quo, no bribe of a foreign leader to interfere in the 2020 election as reported by a "whistleblower" who was not a member of the Intelligence Community and had no firsthand knowledge of the call.  What was Napolitano talking about?

That is what prominent Washington, D.C. Republican attorney and Fox News guest Joseph diGenova wanted to know when he was a guest on Tucker Carlson Tonight on September 25:

CARLSON: Joe diGenova is a former U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, a federal prosecutor and he joins us tonight.  Joe, thanks so much for coming on.


CARLSON: So it's hard with a story this political to get to the basic legal questions here.  So to what the president did or said he did in this conversation with the head of state of Ukraine.  Now, I heard to the effect on our air, I heard Judge Andrew Napolitano say that what the president has admitted to doing is a crime.  Quote, "it is a crime."  Is it a crime?  You're a former federal prosecutor.

DIGENOVA: Well, I think Judge Napolitano is a fool.  And I think what he said today is foolish.  No, it is not a crime.  Let me underscore emphatically that nothing that the president said on that call or what we think he said on that call constitutes a crime.  And even if he had said, you're not going to get the money, it would not be a crime.

That has sparked somewhat of a feud between Carlson and Fox News host Shepard Smith, and probably between diGenova and Napolitano.  It's not the first time Napolitano has done a mind melt with the Deep State swamp creatures, insisting earlier that despite the failure of the Mueller probe to show it, President Trump was guilty of obstruction of justice in the Russiagate investigation.  This goofy claim was roundly debunked and repudiated by none other than legal scholar and Harvard Law School professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz.  As reported by Real Clear Politics:

In an interview cited by the president on Twitter, legal scholar Alan Dershowitz makes the case for why FOX News judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano is wrong when he says the Mueller report demonstrates that President Trump committed obstruction of justice[.] ...

ANDREW NAPOLITANO: When the president asked Corey Lewandowski, his former campaign manager, to get Mueller fired, that is obstruction of justice.  When the president asked his then–White House counsel to get Mueller fired and then lie about it, that's obstruction of justice.  When the president asked Don McGahn to go back to the special counsel and change his testimony that's obstruction of justice[.] ... But ordering obstruction to save himself from the consequences of his own behavior is unlawful, defenseless and condemnable.

FOX NEWS HOST: Do you agree?  Is this obstruction of justice?

ALAN DERSHOWITZ: I do not agree.  I think Judge Napolitano is terrific and we often agree about the law, but in my introduction to the Mueller report, I go through the elements of obstruction of justice.  The act itself has to be illegal.  It can't be an act that is authorized under Article Two of the Constitution.

And it would help if there was actually a crime being investigated.  What was the crime committed by Trump that was being investigated by Robert Mueller?  There was none, and the whole Mueller investigation may have been triggered by a real crime: the fraud committed on the FISA Court by Obama's DOJ and FBI.

Time was when Napolitano was as suspicious as the rest of us about the Deep State coup and the Obama administration's role in it.  As Peter Barry Chowka notes in his excellent piece on the Smith-Carlson feud, something changed Judge Napolitano:

When I wrote about the first public skirmishes in this internal Fox News war in March 2018, Smith — a consistent critic of President Trump — was critical of Napolitano for defending the 45th POTUS.  More recently, Napolitano has shifted ground and can be counted on to sound more like a CNN or MSNBC commentator when the subject of Donald Trump comes up.

I have an idea what triggered Napolitano's attitude change.  His defense of Donald Trump's claim that Trump Tower was wiretapped by the Obama administration got him fired.  Fox took him off the air and suspended him for saying what we all know now to be the case: that even friendly governments were used to set Trump up.  Upon his return, perhaps as part of a deal, he began to sing a different tune, agreeing with the likes of Robert Mueller and his "pit bull," Andrew Weissmann.

As it turned out, Trump and Trump Tower were being wiretapped and surveilled on President Obama'a orders, if not by the British.  Certainly, the British have resisted the declassification of all documents related to FISA abuse by Obama's FBI and DOJ, lest their role in Russiagate be exposed. And let us not forget that former MI6 officer Christopher Steele, namesake of the infamous Steele dossier, was a British agent.  As the Daily Caller reported:

Top British spy officials are resisting a push by Republicans to declassify FBI documents related to the Russia investigation, according to a Telegraph report.

Officials with MI6, Britain's equivalent to the CIA, have warned the Trump White House that releasing the documents could hinder intelligence gathering operations, The Telegraph reported.

Trump said he is "very seriously" declassifying a slew of FBI and Department of Justice (DOJ) documents that would shed light on the origins of the FBI's investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government.

The MI6 opposition also raises the possibility that British officials are concerned the sought-after documents contain information that could be embarrassing to the British government.

Alan Dershowitz and Joe diGenova are right.  Judge Napolitano has gone over to the dark side of the Force and is currently sailing on the liberal ship of fools captained by Adam Schiff.

Daniel John Sobieski is a former editorial writer for Investor's Business Daily and a freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in Human Events, Reason Magazine, and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.

Image: Gage Skidmore via Flickr.

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