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 RosensteinWashington still needs more transparency House Judiciary to probe DOJ's seizure of data from lawmakers, journalists The Hill's Morning Report - Biden-Putin meeting to dominate the week 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) MuellerAn unquestioning press promotes Rep. Adam Schiff's book based on Russia fiction Senate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG MORE’s Russia investigation.


Rep. Mark MeadowsMark MeadowsTucker Carlson extends influence on GOP  Jan. 6 panel asks McCarthy to cooperate Clay Aiken running again for Congress because North Carolina representatives 'don't represent me' 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 TrumpWendy Sherman takes leading role as Biden's 'hard-nosed' Russia negotiator Senate needs to confirm Deborah Lipstadt as antisemitism envoy — Now Former acting Defense secretary under Trump met with Jan. 6 committee: report 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 SchiffThe Hill's Morning Report - Biden to make voting rights play in Atlanta Democrats eager to fill power vacuum after Pelosi exit Overnight Health Care — Insurance will soon cover COVID-19 tests 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.