Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano pushed back on Democrat claims of a "constitutional crisis," saying instead there is just a "clash."
Napolitano made the comments on "Fox & Friends" Thursday in response to House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., declaring a "constitutional crisis" on Wednesday after his committee voted to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt for defying a subpoena for Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s unredacted Russia report and underlying documents.
“By law the attorney general did the right thing with respect to the redaction. But when you get a subpoena, which is presumed valid even if it’s politically motivated it's presumed valid, it's a legal instrument, you can't sit on it,” Napolitano said Thursday.
“If you can’t comply with it, you file a motion before the appropriate judge to quash it, that’s the word we use, meaning either get rid of it, modify it or authorize me to comply with it.”
Nadler's committee voted along partisan lines to hold Barr in contempt on Wednesday and angered the White House by not delaying the vote. At the same time, the president invoked executive privilege — refusing to comply with Congressional subpoenas.
Nadler accused the White House of "stonewalling" the American people and attacking "the essence of our democracy."
Barr was set to testify before the House panel earlier this month, following his remarks before the Senate, but pulled out after Democrats insisted committee staff, rather than members of Congress, be allowed to ask the questions.
“That's the mistake, I think, the DOJ made by not doing that and letting it get to this contempt stage,” Napolitano said. “If they had brought it before a judge, the judge would have said, ‘You know, I’m going to read the redacted portions and I’ll decide what can be released,’ and then the issue is over with because the judge's ruling would stand. Whoever lost would appeal. Who knows if they would even take the appeal, if it would get to the Supreme Court.”
Nadler also compared Trump to former President Richard Nixon on Wednesday in that both refused to release information by citing executive privilege.
Nadler recalled the Supreme Court decision forcing Nixon to hand over tapes of his private conversations with advisers, which he said were the "most sensitive to executive privilege."
“This is what happened in the United States vs. Nixon and the Supreme Court ruled with clarity,” Napolitano said on Thursday.
“Do we have a constitutional crisis in my opinion? We don't. We would have a constitutional crisis if the courts ordered the president or the Congress to do something and either of them defied the courts. That's the crisis. Right now it's just a clash.”