Fox News’s Napolitano: Rosenstein's alleged ethical violations are not ‘impeachable offenses’

Fox News legal analyst Andrew Napolitano said Thursday that Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinJournalist alleging Obama administration spied on her seeks to reopen case Rosenstein on his time in Trump administration: 'We got all the big issues right' Rod Rosenstein joins law and lobbying firm MORE's alleged ethical violations are not “impeachable offenses.”

“Improperly signing off on a [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] warrant, staying in a position of a conflict of interest — where you could be a witness in a case and you’re managing the case — those are good arguments for ethical violations but not impeachable offenses,” Napolitano said on Fox News's "Fox & Friends."

The former judge discussed the articles of impeachment introduced by a group of conservative House lawmakers late Wednesday against Rosenstein, the top Justice Department official overseeing special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerSchiff: Trump acquittal in Senate trial would not signal a 'failure' Jeffries blasts Trump for attack on Thunberg at impeachment hearing Live coverage: House Judiciary to vote on impeachment after surprise delay MORE’s Russia investigation.


Rep. Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsRepublicans criticize Pelosi for gifting pens used to sign impeachment articles Trump, Democrats set for brawl on Iran war powers Overnight Defense: Iran crisis eases as Trump says Tehran 'standing down' | Dems unconvinced on evidence behind Soleimani strike | House sets Thursday vote on Iran war powers MORE (R-N.C.), the head of the House Freedom Caucus, and 10 co-sponsors introduced five articles of impeachment shortly after meeting with Justice officials.

The lawmakers accuse Rosenstein of having a conflict of interest in Mueller’s investigation because he could be called as a “witness” in the ongoing probe into potential surveillance abuse against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. Rosenstein signed off on the FBI surveillance renewal application to wiretap Page.

Napolitano said Thursday he often agrees with the small group of conservative lawmakers. 

“On this, I profoundly disagree with them,” Napolitano added. “It doesn’t matter what I think. The Constitution says there’s a very, very narrow basis for impeachment and that’s intentional.”


“Treason — this is directly from the Constitution — bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors,” Napolitano added.

Democrats said on Wednesday that there is “no chance” that Rosenstein would be forcibly removed, calling the articles of impeachment “a direct attack on the special counsel’s investigation.”

"It is a panicked and dangerous attempt to undermine an ongoing criminal investigation in an effort to protect President TrumpDonald John TrumpLev Parnas implicates Rick Perry, says Giuliani had him pressure Ukraine to announce Biden probe Saudi Arabia paid 0 million for cost of US troops in area Parnas claims ex-Trump attorney visited him in jail, asked him to sacrifice himself for president MORE as the walls are closing in around him and his associates," said Reps. Jerrold Nadler (N.Y.), Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffOvernight Defense: GAO finds administration broke law by withholding Ukraine aid | Senate opens Trump trial | Pentagon to resume training Saudi students soon Schiff schedules public hearing with US intel chief  Harris calls for Parnas to testify at Senate trial MORE (Calif.), top Democrats on the House Judiciary, Oversight and Government Reform, and Intelligence committees, respectively, in a joint statement.

"It is certainly not, as its sponsors claim, a principled attempt to conduct oversight of the Department of Justice, because House Republicans have refused to conduct oversight of any aspect of the Trump Administration, except where the inquiry might distract from their failed agenda, undermine law enforcement, and serve the interests of President Trump," they added.