Not exactly a surprise but here’s the Bolton bombshell, via the New York Times:
President Trump told his national security adviser in August that he wanted to continue freezing $391 million in security assistance to Ukraine until officials there helped with investigations into Democrats including the Bidens, according to an unpublished manuscript by the former adviser, John R. Bolton.
Most Republican lawmakers have more or less moved on from denying that Trump did what he did and instead say it’s no big deal. Or some have gone with the Asa Shuffle: It’s very bad behavior, but not impeachable. So I don’t know whether this latest revelation moves the needle. But perhaps it ups the pressure to have Bolton testify, as he’s stated he’s willing to do.
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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and company prefer to proceed without witnesses or evidence, and for now they have the votes to do whatever they please. The White House has already received a draft of Bolton’s manuscript for review, which perhaps explains its fierce opposition to him testifying. Trump claims it’s a national security issue because Bolton “knows some of my thoughts. He knows what I think about leaders. What happens if he reveals what I think about a certain leader and it’s not very positive?”
Bolton is a an odious neocon ideologue with disastrous foreign policy judgment, but he’s certainly a crafty operator. Clearly he plans to testify regardless — if not to the Senate, then to the public.
The House managers prosecuting the case against Trump released the following statement in reaction to the news:
Today’s explosive revelation that President Trump personally told former National Security Advisor John Bolton that he would continue the freeze on military aid to Ukraine until that country agreed to his political investigations confirms what we already know. 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.
Senators should insist that Mr. Bolton be called as a witness, and provide his notes and other relevant documents. The Senate trial must seek the full truth and Mr. Bolton has vital information to provide. There is no defensible reason to wait until his book is published, when the information he has to offer is critical to the most important decision Senators must now make — whether to convict the President of impeachable offenses.
During our impeachment inquiry, the President blocked our request for Mr. Bolton’s testimony. Now we see why. The President knows how devastating his testimony would be, and, according to the report, the White House has had a draft of his manuscript for review. President Trump’s cover-up must come to an end.
Americans know that a fair trial must include both the documents and witnesses blocked by the President — that starts with Mr. Bolton.
“John Bolton has the evidence,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer stated on Twitter. “It’s up to four Senate Republicans to ensure that John Bolton, Mick Mulvaney, and the others with direct knowledge of President Trump’s actions testify in the Senate trial.”