Stephanie Ruhle will take Brian Williams' 11 p.m. slot on MSNBC: report
Fox News's Shep Smith defends Napolitano for saying Trump already committed a crime
Fox News host Shepard Smith on Wednesday defended his colleague Judge Andrew Napolitano over his assessment that President Trump committed a crime by asking the leader of Ukraine to investigate 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden and Biden's son.
The anchor offered an impassioned defense of the Fox News legal analyst on his daily program while denouncing a network guest who called Napolitano a "fool" over his comments about the president the previous night.
"Last night on this network, a partisan guest who supports President Trump was asked about Judge Napolitano's legal assessment. And when he was asked, he said, unchallenged, Judge Napolitano is a fool," Smith said, referring to remarks conservative commentator and former federal prosecutor Joseph diGenova made on "Tucker Carlson Tonight." "Attacking our colleague, who's here to offer legal assessments on our air, in our work home, is repugnant."
Smith, who hasn't been shy about voicing criticism of the president, went on to cite a cadre of legal experts who share Napolitano's views. The opinions came from a range of criminal defense attorneys and prosecutors who Smith says told him that Trump's request likely violated campaign finance law.
For example, Smith said that Alex Little, a former assistant U.S. attorney in the Justice Department, told him that Trump's solicitation "likely violates the election law prohibitions on seeking foreign assistance from foreign governments."
The comments came as Trump faces escalating pressure regarding his interactions with Volodymyr Zelensky that are at least part of a whistleblower complaint that first gained attention last week.
The president in a July 25 phone call urged Zelensky to work with his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and Attorney General William Barr to investigate the Bidens, according to a memo of the conversation released by the White House.
The call occurred around the same time the Trump administration delayed millions of dollars in aid to Ukraine, raising speculation as to whether Trump used the aid as leverage in their talks. Trump has denied addressing military aid in their discussions.
Before the memo's release, Napolitano had said that Trump had already confessed to impropriety by acknowledging that he'd asked the Ukrainian leader to look into Biden and that "it is a crime for the president to solicit aid for his campaign from a foreign government."
Appearing on Fox Business on Monday, Napolitano also warned that the current charges against Trump are more serious than what former special counsel Robert Mueller found.
"If true - we haven't seen the whistleblower complaint, and, under the law, it has to be revealed - if true, this is an act of corruption," he said.