Newsweek gleefully reported yesterday about comments Fox News senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano made on Fox and Friends Thursday morning in the aftermath of the storming that took place on Wednesday by dozens of frustrated House GOP members into House Intel Chief Adam Schiff’s secret hearings.
During the segment, Napolitano told the hosts that the GOP had no one to blame themselves for how the current impeachment inquiry was being conducted. Why? According to him, the impeachment inquiry rules were written in 2015 by the GOP and signed by then-House Speaker John Boehner:
“As frustrating as it may be to have these hearings going on behind closed doors…they are consistent with the rules,” Napolitano, who previously served as a New Jersey Superior Court judge, explained during a segment of the Fox News morning show Fox & Friends.
“When were the rules written last?” the legal expert asked. “In January of 2015. And who signed them? John Boehner [the Republican speaker of the House]. And who enacted them? A Republican majority,” he asserted.
A video of the clip was tweeted out by Media Matters’ Bobby Lewis, who apparently is their designated monitor for Fox and Friends. The clip went viral, and as of this writing has over 29,000 retweets and nearly 80,000 likes:
Andrew Napolitano: "As frustrating as it may be to have these hearings going on behind closed doors … they are consistent with the rules. … When were the rules written last? In January of 2015. And who signed them? John Boehner. And who enacted them? A Republican majority." pic.twitter.com/Zl10ZNugf4
— Bobby Lewis (@revrrlewis) October 24, 2019
In the next tweet, Lewis asserted – without evidence – that Napolitano “demolishe[d] Fox’s talking point that Dems need transparency.” Similarly, the Daily Beast ran a piece on the Judge’s comments, and uncritically passed them off as factual. “Napolitano … effectively dismantl[ed] the primary talking point of both Fox News and the Trump White House,” senior writer Matt Wilstein stated.
There’s just one problem: Boehner himself called BS on Judge Napolitano’s comments, as Brit Hume noted in a couple of tweets responding to the reports:
I just spoke to John Boehner who told me that the only rules change he made was to allow committee chairmen to issue subpoenas on their own authority without committee votes. He says he made no changes to rules governing conduct of impeachment hearings. https://t.co/RhX8fUrt6D
— Brit Hume (@brithume) October 24, 2019
Unclear what my friend Andrew is talking about here, but Boehner just told me the only change he made to house rules was one allowing committee chairmen/women to issue subpoenas on their authorty alone, without committee votes. No changes made, he said, to rules on impeachment. https://t.co/8KXheLfFHv
— Brit Hume (@brithume) October 24, 2019
Boehner later confirmed that that’s what he said:
— John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) October 24, 2019
I assume Judge Nap is talking about a rule that was/is supposedly in the House Rules and Manual, an updated one of which is distributed every two years to the new Congress. Here’s how the process works:
Printed as a “House Document,” the Manual is usually authorized by House resolution at the end of a Congress for printing at the beginning of the following Congress. As such, the House document number reflects the Congress that authorized the printing although the cover page identifies the applicable Congress for the contents.
Let’s assume for grins and giggles that Napolitano is correct here. Even if he was, the book changes for each new Congress. 2015 was when the 114th Congress convened. We’re now in the 116th Congress. And as Rep. Dan Crenshaw (TX) pointed out Wednesday, the rulebook for this Congress clearly states on page 568 all House members should have access to the documents/transcripts, etc that Schiff is keeping under wraps:
Went kind of fast so here's a screenshot of what he is talking about (2)(A). pic.twitter.com/TaFzeg3Sh5
— Pope Of The Waffles (@PopeWaffles) October 23, 2019
Is Napolitano not aware of this?
As far as depositions being held in the public view goes, Byron York made this great point this morning:
In Dem impeachment inquiry, greater transparency does not necessarily mean public depositions. Fine if lawmakers don't trust themselves not to grandstand. But it should mean swift release of transcripts. We should have several by now. Instead, none.
— Byron York (@ByronYork) October 25, 2019
Indeed. Too bad our intellectual betters in the mainstream media aren’t interested in finding out why that’s the case.
— Based in North Carolina, Sister Toldjah is a former liberal and a 16+ year veteran of blogging with an emphasis on media bias, social issues, and the culture wars. Read her Red State archives here. Connect with her on Twitter. –