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Fox News legal analyst: Trump’s Ukraine call ‘manifested both criminal and impeachable behavior’

Fox News legal analyst Andrew Napolitano is arguing that President Trump committed an impeachable offense during a July 25 phone call in which he pressured the Ukrainian president to investigate 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son. 

“That conversation manifested both criminal and impeachable behavior,” Napolitano writes in a Fox News column focused on a whistleblower complaint that accuses Trump of enlisting Ukraine’s help in his 2020 reelection efforts. 

{mosads}Napolitano goes on to assert that “the criminal behavior to which Trump has admitted is much more grave than anything alleged or unearthed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.” 

The column is accompanied by a web video in which Napolitano summarizes the revelations from a White House memorandum of Trump’s conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The White House issued the memo just a day before the public disclosure of the intelligence community whistleblower complaint. 

Napolitano zeroes in on a portion of the White House readout in which Trump asks for a “favor” from Zelensky after the Ukrainian leader talks about the prospect of buying U.S. anti-tank missiles. 

Trump’s request occurred around the same time that the U.S. delayed nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine, raising speculation from many Democratic lawmakers as to whether the president was looking to use the aid as leverage in the talks. 

“He held up that aid and instead asked for a favor, which arguably was for his political campaign,” Napolitano says. “That was a violation of federal law. That is an impeachable offense.”

Trump has denied holding up military aid to Ukraine as part of an effort to persuade the nation into investigating the Biden family. But Napolitano asserts that Trump’s request for a “favor” is evidence of a quid pro quo. 

“In the Zelensky phone call, he told the Ukrainian president that he needed a personal ‘favor,’ ” Napolitano writes in the column. “The clear unmistakable inference is that the $391 million in aid would be held up until the favor was delivered. The favor he sought was dirt on Biden.”

The former New Jersey Superior Court judge’s remarks come as Trump faces escalating scrutiny regarding his efforts to get a foreign nation to find dirt on a top political opponent. The revelations prompted Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to announce a formal impeachment inquiry of Trump in the House. 

Before the memo’s release, Napolitano had said that Trump had already confessed to “a crime” by acknowledging that he’d asked the Ukrainian leader to look into Biden.

Trump has repeatedly defended his interactions with Zelensky, going so far as to call the July 25 phone call “perfect.” He’s also decried the impeachment inquiry as a “coup” and accused the whistleblower of being a spy.

Tags Andrew Napolitano Donald Trump Fox News Joe Biden Nancy Pelosi Robert Mueller

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