We spent all day today watching Donald Trump’s legal team attempt to put on an impeachment defense that simply pretended John Bolton’s big Sunday night leak hadn’t happened – even as Republican Senators openly stewed over whether to call Bolton as a witness. Now, this evening, a new Bolton leak has the potential to upend the impeachment trial even further, and perhaps upend Trump’s presidency.
This evening the New York Times reported on a new aspect of John Bolton’s book. It doesn’t relate to Donald Trump’s Ukraine extortion scandal, and it instead centers around Bolton’s concern that Trump was granting “personal favors” to the leaders of Turkey and China. In other words, Bolton was seeing from the inside of the Trump regime what the rest of us were seeing from the outside, except he was surely seeing it in much greater detail. It gets worse.
John Bolton says in his book that he took his concerns to Attorney General Bill Barr, who then admitted to Bolton that he had the same concerns. Interestingly, Barr’s Department of Justice declined to comment for the NY Times story – not even bothering to offer a customary denial – suggesting that the DOJ has been caught off guard by this revelation and isn’t sure whether to deny it.
This means that John Bolton’s book, and any testimony that he ends up giving, are going to paint Donald Trump as being corrupt in a wide array of ways. It’s worth noting that even if the Republican-controlled Senate decides not to have Bolton testify during the trial, the House can then turn around and hold new hearings – or even introduce new articles of impeachment – and have Bolton testify as the centerpiece.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report