John Bolton decided that today would be a good day to leak the portion of his upcoming book that spells out Donald Trump’s guilt in his Ukraine extortion scandal. This is a big deal considering how much weight Bolton carries with Republicans, and considering that the Republican-controlled Senate is set to vote this upcoming week on whether to have Bolton testify in Trump’s impeachment trial.
We’ll see what the Senate Republicans do. If they have John Bolton testify, they risk alienating Donald Trump, and thus alienating Trump’s voters. If they don’t have Bolton testify, they’ll definitely alienate mainstream voters. GOP Senators know that if they make the wrong choice, they could cost themselves their current majority, and in some instances cost themselves their own seats.
House Democrats know that Senate Republicans are well aware of this, and they’re quickly seizing on this new opportunity. Lead House impeachment manager Adam Schiff tweeted this: “Bolton directly contradicts the heart of the President’s defense. If the trial is to be fair, Senators must insist that Mr. Bolton be called as a witness, and provide his notes and other documents. House impeachment manager Val Demings tweeted this: “There can be no doubt now that Mr. Bolton directly contradicts the heart of the President’s defense and therefore must be called as a witness at the impeachment trial of President Trump.”
If Senate Republicans still decide to acquit Donald Trump without even bothering to call an apparently eager John Bolton to testify, it’s easy to envision a scenario where the House then calls Bolton to testify in a subsequent hearing, thus making Trump and the Senate Republicans look terrible heading into the 2020 election. We don’t know precisely what House Democrats will do with this, but it looks like they’re not going to let this go. Nor should they.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report