Reacting to President Trump saying he would accept foreign intel on a political opponent if offered, and that he doesn’t feel it’s necessary to contact the FBI, Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano on Thursday said he worries the president is “prepared to commit a felony.”
Napolitano was asked by Fox News anchor Shep Smith if there was any “gray area” or “wiggle room” when it comes to campaigns legally receiving “dirt from a foreign entity on a political opponent.”
“There’s no wiggle room with respect to dirt,” the judge responded. “With respect to opposition research. The Federal Election Commission decided in other cases that that is a thing of value.”
This prompted Smith to wonder if what the president described he was willing to do during his interview with ABC News constituted a felony.
“Correct,” Napolitano confidently declared. “Meaning he would be committing a felony and the person giving it to him, if the person was here, would be committing a felony as well.”
After pondering what kind of message Trump is sending to foreign leaders around the world who want to curry his favor, Napolitano argued that regardless of the president’s belief that freedom of speech protects him, the law strictly prohibits him from soliciting foreign assistance in an election.
“If he is a candidate, then what he receives is regulated by federal laws that he took an oath to uphold,” the Fox analyst explained. “Among them are you cannot take something, accept something, receive something from a foreign national under the guise of being the head of state or because you want to use it for your campaign.”
Smith went on to report that Senate Democrats are now working on legislation that would make it a requirement of the law that candidates report such contacts with the FBI.
“The president told George Stephanopoulos the FBI director is wrong,” Napolitano stated. “Such a statute would clarify this and impose upon the president—whoever that may be—more of a burden to enforce these laws on him or herself as well as on anybody else running for office.”
The Fox News anchor, meanwhile, wanted to get one more reaction from his guest, asking him what he thought when he first heard the president’s remarks.
“The president of the United States of America is prepared to commit a felony to get re-elected,” Napolitano concluded. “That was my reaction and it was not a happy one. I thought he shot himself in the foot. I wish he didn’t say it.”