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Fox News legal analyst says quid pro quo is 'clearly impeachable': Trump requested 'criminal' act
Fox News legal analyst Andrew Napolitano on Tuesday pushed back against the argument that President Trump using a quid pro quo in his dealings with Ukraine did not qualify as an impeachable offense.
"Oh, it's clearly impeachable because the president requested something that's criminal to ask," Napolitano said on Fox News, referencing Trump's request on a July 25 phone call that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky launch an investigation into 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden over unfounded allegations of corruption.
Napolitano argued that Trump asking Zelensky for a "favor" amounted to a request for a foreign leader to help his presidential election, a violation of the law.
The comments from Napolitano come just a day before the House moves into the public phase of its impeachment inquiry into Trump and his dealings with Ukraine.
As part of the inquiry, House Democrats have been probing allegations that Trump withheld nearly $400 million in military aid as part of an effort to get Ukraine to open investigation into the Bidens and the 2016 election.
For example, Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, testified last week that he recalled a September meeting with a top aide to Zelensky in which he conditioned military aid on a public statement about the probes.
But Trump and Republicans have continually dismissed the allegations, with some speculating on whether a quid pro quo would even be impeachable.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said Sunday on NBC's "Meet The Press" that Trump "has every right" to withhold aid from a country where he believes corruption might be taking place.
The Washington Post reported in early November that a growing number of Republicans were prepared to acknowledge that a quid pro quo took place but that the action was legal.
Napolitano, a former New Jersey Superior Court judge, has repeatedly said that Trump committed a crime in his dealings with Ukraine. In October, he wrote in a Fox News column that his July 25 phone call with Zelensky "manifested both criminal and impeachable behavior."
He told The Associated Press on Monday that Trump's "dog whistles of lawless behavior to many of his supporters" called into question his fitness for office. He also stated that there was a legal basis to argue Trump committed high crimes and misdemeanors, asserting that "if I were a Democrat in the House, which I am not and never will be, I would vote to impeach."