Fox News’ legal analyst and former judge Andrew Napolitano on Thursday blasted the GOP’s ploy to impeach Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and criticized it as a “symbolic” move.
“The people behind this are longtime friends of mine whom I respect and admire and like,” Napalitano said of Reps. Mark Meadows (R-NC) and Jim Jordan (R-OH), the congressmen who filed the bill on Wednesday. “This is the small government crowd in the House that sometimes torments the House leadership when they wanna do things that are too big government-oriented.”
The judge said that nevertheless, he “profoundly disagrees” with their move to introduce articles of impeachment against Rosenstein, the highest-ranking Justice Department official overseeing special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe.
“The constitution says that there’s a very very narrow basis for impeachment and that’s intentional. If it were a broad basis people would be getting kicked out of office left and right,” he explained. “Treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors. When Bill Clinton was impeached, it was obstructing justice by lying under oath so it has to be something of that magnitude.”
“Improperly signing off on a [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court] warrant or staying in a position of conflict of interest” could certainly be ethical violations, Napolitano noted, but aren’t grounds for impeachment.
The DOJ is going to “cough up” the documents Republicans seek due to threats of this nature, Napalitano said, which he considers “wrong and baseless and embarrassing for everybody involved.”