- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 24, 2019

Fox News legal analyst Andrew Napolitano fact-checked Republicans Thursday, saying House Democrats are allowed to conduct “secret” witness depositions for the impeachment inquiry of President Trump thanks to rules established in 2015 by the then-Republican-controlled House.

“As frustrating as it may be to have these hearings going on behind closed doors,” Mr. Napolitano said on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends,” “the hearings for which Congressman [Adam] Schiff is presiding, they are consistent with the rules.”

“They can’t change the rules, they follow the rules and when were the rules written last? In January 2015. And who signed them? [Former House Speaker] John Boehner. And who enacted them? A Republican Congress.”

Mr. Napolitano said he’s “dying” to know what’s happening in the hearing, he added, “the rules say this level of inquiry, this initial level of inquiry, can be done in secret.”

While he understands the frustrations of Republicans, Mr. Napolitano added that Wednesday’s storming of a Capitol complex Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) was “just not the most effective way to show respect for what your colleagues are doing.”

“These are not the impeachment hearings,” Napolitano explained. “The impeachment hearings have to be held in public by the House Judiciary Committee. This is the initial interview of witnesses to see what they have to say,” Mr. Napolitano said.

“They come to a conclusion that the person is probably guilty, and then they look for evidence to support or negate that. That’s what Congressman Schiff is doing, and he’s following the rules, as frustrating as those rules are,” he added.

House Republicans on Wednesday, led by Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, stormed the secure room where lawmakers have been conducting the impeachment probe against President Trump, upending a scheduled deposition as they demanded fairness from the Democrats running the investigation.

Gabriella Muñoz and Jeff Mordock contributed to this report.

• Bailey Vogt can be reached at bvogt@washingtontimes.com.

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