Fox News Judge Says It's 'Very, Very Troublesome' for Trump's White House if They Omitted Parts of Ukraine Transcript

Fox News' Judge Andrew Napolitano warned that things would not be good for the White House if officials omitted key parts of the phone call between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky.

Napolitano appeared on Fox & Friends Thursday morning to discuss the impending vote in the House of Representatives to move forward with the impeachment inquiry against Trump. The inquiry began following reports that Trump tried to pressure Zelensky to investigate his political rivals, including former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter.

Co-host Ainsley Earhardt said the entire probe "all goes back to that phone conversation, which we've all read the transcript." But Brian Kilmeade said it could be "devastating" for the Trump administration if people begin to challenge the phone record.

"That to me is very, very troublesome for the White House if there are parts of that transcript they intentionally kept out," Napolitano said. He also pointed out that the public is beginning to get "a lot of context about what preceded and what followed the phone conversation," thanks to the impeachment probe.

The transcript in question was released by the White House in an effort to be transparent about Trump's talk with Zelensky on July 25. But it provided only a rough summary of the call, not a verbatim account. Still, that didn't stop the president from claiming it was an "exact word-for-word transcript" taken by "very talented stenographers."

The document did show that there was no explicit quid pro quo between Trump and Zelensky for dirt on Biden in exchange for a release of held-up military aid. But it's also not exactly the total exoneration that Trump and his allies say it is, as the president reminded Zelensky twice that the U.S. had been "very, very good to Ukraine" before asking the foreign leader to "do us a favor."

Also, White House Ukraine expert Alexander Vindman told House impeachment investigators on Tuesday that the contents of the call between Trump and Zelensky were slightly different from what is stated in the transcript. His testimony added to suspicions that the White House tried to engaged in a cover-up about the Ukraine controversy.

donald trump medal of honor ceremony WH
President Donald Trump delivers remarks during a Medal of Honor ceremony at the White House on October 30. As the House of Representatives proceeds with its impeachment inquiry, Fox News' Judge Andrew Napolitano said it would be "very troublesome" if the White House had omitted parts of the call between Trump and Ukraine's president in the released transcript. Chip Somodevilla/Getty

House Democrats laid out the next steps in the impeachment process earlier this week when they unveiled a resolution that details procedures for public hearings. The resolution is expected to come to a floor vote sometime on Thursday.

While Republicans have criticized the impeachment process as "unfair," Napolitano told Fox & Friends on Thursday that is not necessarily the case. He also defended Representative Adam Schiff, one of the leading Democrats in the impeachment effort, for "following the rules."

"The rules were written in 2015 when Republicans controlled Congress. And now they are stuck with those rules," the judge said. "It has come back to haunt the Republicans."

While Trump has largely dismissed the impeachment probe as a "Democratic witch hunt," polling shows that public support for removing him from office is growing. A Quinnipiac University poll released October 23 showed that 55 percent of registered voters approved of the inquiry, up 4 percentage points from the week before.