Did the White House intentionally risk putting Senate Republicans in a precarious position at Trump’s impeachment trial? And, have Trump’s defense lawyers omitted one particular name from the hearings because they knew what he had to say would be devastating to Trump’s defense?
If so, have they been arguing against the need for further witnesses knowing full well what one key credible witness would be likely to testify?
Times reporter Maggie Haberman suggests that some GOP senators are privately feeling blindsided after an explosive New York Times report came out Sunday.
USA Today reports that even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was apparently unaware of Bolton’s manuscript.
Per sources, some GOP senators privately pushing White House for information on who at administration had visibility into the manuscript over the last month. Senators feel blindsided.
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) January 27, 2020
The report revealed that former national security adviser, John Bolton, has claimed to have firsthand information of Trump’s attempts to get dirt on Joe Biden in exchange for nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine.
Trump claims Bolton is lying and has denied seeing the manuscript sent last month. It all begs the question: Who leaked the manuscript and was it from inside the White House?
GOP SENATORS, if you were "blindsided" by the White House not bein' honest with you after Trump has told over 16,000 lies, the fella you need to be mad at is you.https://t.co/FnwFozVzCH
— Tea Pain (@TeaPainUSA) January 27, 2020
According to the Times, Bolton’s lawyer provided a manuscript of his upcoming book to the White House, which he blamed for disclosure of the contents.
“Mr. Bolton’s lawyer blamed the White House for the disclosure of the book’s contents. ‘It is clear, regrettably, from the New York Times article published today that the pre-publication review process has been corrupted and that information has been disclosed by persons other than those properly involved in reviewing the manuscript,’ the lawyer, Charles J. Cooper, said Sunday night.”
“He said he provided a copy of the book to the White House on Dec. 30 — 12 days after Mr. Trump was impeached — to be reviewed for classified information, though, he said, Mr. Bolton believed it contained none.”
Responding to the Bolton news, George Conway, husband to Trump’s counselor Kellyanne Conway, has published an op-ed in the Washington Post. Conway suggests that Trump’s defense lawyers have carefully omitted John Bolton’s name from the impeachment trial because they knew what was coming.
“The president’s lawyers made no mention of him. And now there’s no need to speculate why. Because the news about what’s in Bolton’s forthcoming book is out — and it shows that his testimony would be devastating to Trump,” wrote Conway.
Likewise, the Times report also suggests that Trump’s defense may have been aware of what Bolton would say if called as a witness.
“The submission to the White House may have given Mr. Trump’s aides and lawyers direct insight into what Mr. Bolton would say if he were called to testify at Mr. Trump’s impeachment trial. It also intensified concerns among some of his advisers that they needed to block Mr. Bolton from testifying, according to two people familiar with their concerns.
The White House has ordered Mr. Bolton and other key officials with firsthand knowledge of Mr. Trump’s dealings not to cooperate with the impeachment inquiry. Mr. Bolton said in a statement this month that he would testify if subpoenaed.”
Meanwhile, Bolton is ready to testify, and judging by reports about the manuscript, it will be further direct evidence of quid pro quo with Ukraine. Bolton said that Trump “personally told him that he did not want to release the aide until Ukraine complied with investigations,” reported USA Today.
“From Trump on down, they all know how damning Bolton’s testimony would be to Trump’s defense. Indeed, the leak of what’s in Bolton’s book shows how disingenuous the president’s defense has been,” wrote Conway.
If the Senate doesn’t call Bolton to testify now, then Trump’s impeachment may be recorded forever as a “GOP-orchestrated farce,” says Conway.
Mike Purpura, a deputy counsel to the president who is defending Trump, has not spoken Bolton’s name according to reports thus far and insists there was no quid pro quo.
“There was no linkage between investigations and security assistance or meeting on the July 25 call the Ukrainians said there was no quid-pro-quo,” he argued.
Meanwhile, the impeachment trial could be over by Friday without ever hearing new witness testimony. However, just four Republican Senators could vote with Democrats to approve witnesses.
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