As Republicans continue their defense of Trump, excerpts from former National Security Adviser John Bolton's mustache haven't just upset the apple cart on Trump's team, he's put the apple cart in a rocket and fired it into the sun.
Congressional Democrats called for former national security adviser John Bolton to testify in President Trump’s impeachment trial following a new report that the president told Bolton last August that he wanted to withhold military aid to Ukraine unless it aided investigations into the Bidens.
The New York Times reported Sunday evening that in last summer’s conversation, Trump directly tied the holdup of nearly $400 million in military assistance to the investigations of former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden. That is according to an unpublished manuscript of Bolton’s forthcoming book, the Times said.
The book, “The Room Where It Happened,” is scheduled for publication March 17 but the White House review could attempt to delay its publication or block some of its contents.
Two people familiar with the book, who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the project, confirmed that it details Trump tying aid to the desire for Biden probes and details a number of conversations about Ukraine that he had with Trump and key advisers, such as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. They said Bolton is ready to testify in the Senate impeachment trial.
In a joint statement, the seven House impeachment managers called the report “explosive” and urged the Senate, controlled by Republicans, to agree to call Bolton as a witness in Trump’s trial, which kicks off its second full week on Monday. Bolton has said that he would testify before the Senate if subpoenaed.
“The Senate trial must seek the full truth and Mr. Bolton has vital information to provide,” the managers said in a statement Sunday. “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.”
Trump is on trial, facing two charges — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
The assertion from Bolton could undermine one core defense that has repeatedly been laid out by Trump, his defenders and his legal team: that there was no explicit quid pro quo involved when the administration withheld the military assistance, as well as a White House visit coveted by Ukraine.
If Bolton's mustache just trying to sell his book, he's burning a lot of bridges in order to do it. The NY Times story is pretty specific, which means it was leaked this on purpose. The mustache's team is blaming...the White House.
The book presents an outline of what Mr. Bolton might testify to if he is called as a witness in the Senate impeachment trial, the people said. The White House could use the pre-publication review process, which has no set time frame, to delay or even kill the book’s publication or omit key passages.
Over dozens of pages, Mr. Bolton described how the Ukraine affair unfolded over several months until he departed the White House in September. He described not only the president’s private disparagement of Ukraine but also new details about senior cabinet officials who have publicly tried to sidestep involvement.
For example, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo acknowledged privately that there was no basis to claims by the president’s lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani that the ambassador to Ukraine was corrupt and believed Mr. Giuliani may have been acting on behalf of other clients, Mr. Bolton wrote.
Mr. Bolton also said that after the president’s July phone call with the president of Ukraine, he raised with Attorney General William P. Barr his concerns about Mr. Giuliani, who was pursuing a shadow Ukraine policy encouraged by the president, and told Mr. Barr that the president had mentioned him on the call. A spokeswoman for Mr. Barr denied that he learned of the call from Mr. Bolton; the Justice Department has said he learned about it only in mid-August.
And the acting White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, was present for at least one phone call where the president and Mr. Giuliani discussed the ambassador, Mr. Bolton wrote. Mr. Mulvaney has told associates he would always step away when the president spoke with his lawyer to protect their attorney-client privilege.
During a previously reported May 23 meeting where top advisers and Senator Ron Johnson, Republican of Wisconsin, briefed him about their trip to Kyiv for the inauguration of President Volodymyr Zelensky, Mr. Trump railed about Ukraine trying to damage him and mentioned a conspiracy theory about a hacked Democratic server, according to Mr. Bolton.
The White House did not provide responses to questions about Mr. Bolton’s assertions, and representatives for Mr. Johnson, Mr. Pompeo and Mr. Mulvaney did not respond to emails and calls seeking comment on Sunday afternoon.
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.
The White House did not have a good night last night. Today's going to be much worse. If the Senate GOP allows witnesses to be buried, this trial is over by Friday. That was the plan until today.
The question is whether or not the Senate GOP is willing to sacrifice themselves for Trump over Bolton. The rest of his book is definitely going to come out. It proves the case against Trump.
Bolton is getting out ahead of whatever worse is coming, because it's definitely coming.
Which is why the Senate GOP will hold hands and jump off the cliff together. Don't ask if they are going to or not, ask why they have no choice. Much, much worse things will come out about Trump but once he's acquitted, the fight moves to November and there are a number of things Trump can do to wreck the election if it actually looks like he's going to lose.
Ask Hillary Clinton.