Over the past couple days we’ve seen Republican Senators in total disarray as they’ve attempted to figure out what to do about the new revelations from John Bolton’s book, along with Bolton’s desire to testify in the Senate impeachment trial. At various points Mitch McConnell has leaked that he does and does not have the votes, as he attempts to keep the situation from getting away from him.
The thing is, certain vulnerable Republican Senators can’t win no matter how this goes. If they have Bolton testify, they’ll get punished in 2020 by Donald Trump’s base. If they don’t have Bolton testify, they’ll get punished in 2020 by mainstream voters. They’re just trying to figure out a way to vote that’ll cause them the least trouble when it comes to their reelection bids.
Yesterday we saw GOP Senator Cory Gardner rather loudly announce that he’s not planning to vote to call witnesses, in a rather obvious attempt at taking the public’s temperature, so he could decide whether or not to stick with that position. Mitt Romney seems intent on only voting for witnesses if there are enough votes for it to happen. Collins and Murkowski are… you know what? Who cares at this point.
It’s up to the Republican Senators to pick their poison now. If they don’t let John Bolton testify, the House can simply open hearings next week and have Bolton testify, thus making the GOP Senators look terrible for having tried to keep Bolton silent. Bolton is also signaling that if all else fails, he might simply hop on television and “testify” that way.
One way or another, the public will soon hear John Bolton – and surely others – spelling out the full extent of Donald Trump’s crimes. This is the moment of truth for Republican Senators, but only insomuch as they have to decide whether to give Bolton a platform, or cower in the corner while some other entity gives Bolton a platform. It’s really up to them. They have to make their decision. Then the rest of us will get on with the process of dismantling Trump and making sure he’s not a viable candidate in 2020.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report