Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano said Republicans can easily meet the “low threshold” to call former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, to testify during the Senate impeachment trial of President Trump.
“I think the House managers made a very serious strategic error today,” Sen. Cruz, R-Texas, said. “[California Rep.] Adam Schiff's arguments to open the day today directly drew into question Hunter Biden," he continued, "because the House Democrats have built their entire case on the proposition that any investigation into Burisma [Holdings] and corruption was a sham, that it was completely debunked,” Cruz argued.
Burisma Holdings is the Ukrainian gas company at the center of a scandal that resulted in President Trump's impeachment by the House of Representatives. The impeachment inquiry is focused on Trump’s effort to press Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during a July 25 phone call to launch politically related investigations regarding the former vice president and his son’s dealings in Ukraine, as well as issues related to the 2016 presidential election.
Judge Napolitano weighed in saying Cruz made a good point.
He explained that the Senate will ultimately vote to call additional witnesses and that Chief Justice John Roberts would then decide which witnesses to allow.
“The Senate decides whether or not witnesses can be called. I think they’re going to go in that direction because, I think, after hearing Senator Cruz there are Republicans who want to hear from the Bidens and the flip side of that is there are Democrats who want to hear from [former National Security adviser] John Bolton.”
Napolitano said Republican senators need to meet a "low threshold" to convince Roberts to allow Biden to be called.
“I think the chief justice will say, ‘OK, the president is on trial. The president is the defendant. The president is in danger of losing his office. He should be able to call whoever he wants that he thinks will help defend him,'" he predicted.
Bolton said he is willing to testify during the impeachment trial. Speaking at a news conference in Davos, Switzerland Wednesday, President Trump said Bolton‘s potential testimony could pose "a national security problem.” He indicated that he would use executive privilege to block Bolton from testifying in the trial.
“They can assert executive privilege,” Napolitano said on Thursday. “They can assert the Fifth Amendment. The Fifth Amendment prevents you from giving testimony harmful to yourself.”
“Executive privilege is limited and this is right in John Bolton's wheelhouse to military, diplomatic and sensitive national security matters. That's what John Bolton did,” he continued. “The president may waive executive privilege.”
Napolitano added that witnesses would give a deposition first and the transcripts would be read at the trial. He said if the senators "really wanted to make a show of this," then they would allow the witnesses to be questioned live.
“That hasn't happened in 100 years because in the Clinton case they used the deposition transcript reading model,” Napolitano concluded.