Fox contributor Andy McCarthy on Ukrainian quid pro quo: “We don't impeach anyone over having a dirty mind”

McCarthy: “All foreign relations is quid pro quo”

Video file

Citation From the October 23 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom

BILL HEMMER (CO-ANCHOR): I'm trying to figure out what they can prove at the moment, as we try to read between the lines based on the selective leaking. I think, perhaps the most legitimate question is this: If you hold back aid and prove it, is that impeachable? Is that a crime?

ANDY MCCARTHY (FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR): Bill, it's not a crime and I don't think it's impeachable under these circumstances. Now, that doesn't mean it could never be impeachable but there are gradations of behavior and there's context of behavior in every situation. Here you have to recognize that we don't impeach anyone over having a dirty mind. Ultimately, there was no aid that was withheld and we're dealing in a factual context where the previous president actually denied all aid to Ukraine in terms of lethal defense aid that Trump has actually been giving since 2018. So I think it's a little bit precious for the Democrats to now be telling us they're all worried about poor Ukraine.

HEMMER: OK, so was -- was it legitimate to ask about looking into the election of 2016?

ANDY MCCARTHY: Yes, I think it's legitimate to, at any time, for a president to ask a foreign power to assist a legitimate Justice Department investigation. Now, you can get deeper into this and then say well, does that mean it was OK to ask about Hunter Biden, who so far as I know doesn't have any connection to the 2016 election, and that whole investigation. I think you can make the argument that it would've been legitimate to ask about any corruption involved in U.S./Ukrainian relations. It's a fair point for the Democrats to counter that Trump only seemed to be interested in corruption that touched on Biden, just like Biden only seemed to be interested in firing prosecutors who were investigating his son. But my overall beef with this, Bill, is it's just preposterous to be arguing it in terms of impeachment. Because these are not high crimes and misdemeanors. I think we can say there were faults on both sides. But to inflate this into an impeachable offense, I think, is not only absurd under the circumstances, it will make this country ungovernable. If Ukraine is impeachment material, I don't know what president is not going to be under an impeachment investigation in the future.

HEMMER: And Zelensky said that he felt no pressure, correct?


HEMMER: Is that how people like John Ratcliffe says when there's no quo, there is no quid pro quo. Is that what he's referring to? 

MCCARTHY: Yeah, you know, I guess he means that, Bill. I've been saying from the start, I think this whole -- all this discussion of quid pro quo is really misleading, because all foreign relations is quid pro quo. Countries don't help each other out of fondness, they pursue their interest in the world and they exchange favors, each side gives. That's a quid pro quo. The only time it's inappropriate is if one end of the quid pro quo is corrupt, and we usually hear the term “quid pro quo" in connection with corruption investigations, which is why I think Democrats want to introduce it into the dialogue. Because we hear it, we think bribery, we think corruption, but “quid pro quo" merely means “this for that," and it's a staple of all negotiations.