Back house in the Bronx is where I initially heard the old saw about the Irishman who, coming across a donnybrook at the local pub, asks an onlooker: “Is this a personal fight or can anyone sign up with?”
I was a much more youthful fellow then. The possibility ends up being less appealing with age, so I have some trepidation actioning in between 2 old good friends, Andrew Napolitano and Joe DiGenova Through intermediary hosts, the set– Napolitano a former New Jersey Superior Court jurist and law teacher, DiGenova a previous United States Attorney for the District of Columbia and prominent defense lawyer– brawled last week on Fox News (where I, like they, contribute regularly).
I’m going to avoid the pugnacious to-ing and fro-ing. Let’s think about the appealing legal issue that sparked it.
Judge Napolitano argues that the July 25 conversation in between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky contains the makings of a campaign-finance criminal activity. He highlights Trump’s request for Ukraine’s aid in examining then– vice president Joe Biden. In 2016, Biden pressed Kyiv to drop a corruption investigation of Burisma, a natural gas company that paid Biden’s boy, Hunter, big bucks to sit on its board.
Biden, naturally, is one of the favorites for the Democratic presidential election. Napolitano reasons that the info Trump sought from Ukraine would be a form of “opposition research study” that could be viewed as an in-kind donation to Trump’s reelection project, which must be deemed unlawful since the law restricts foreign contributions and attempts to obtain them. (Napolitano likewise raised the “arguable” possibility of a bribery offense, on the theory that Trump was withholding defense help as a corrupt quid professional quo to get the Biden details. But he emphasized the foreign contribution issue. That is his stronger argument, and I am focusing on it, given that the Trump-Zelensky transcript does not support a quid professional quo need; plus bribery, in any event, raises the same “thing of worth” evidence issues dealt with listed below.)
DiGenova strongly disagrees. Though there wasn’t much time to elaborate, he is clearly relying on the absence of past campaign-law prosecutions on comparable realities. DiGenova is likewise voicing the prudent conservative hostility to campaign-finance laws: Any growth of criminal liability would necessarily restrict political speech, the core of First Change liberty.