The Hill’s Alexander Bolton (no relation we assume) reports on the latest bombshell to explode in the faces of Republican Senators hoping to put the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump to bed without witnesses or evidence which has emerged since the House passed the articles of impeachment last month:
The Senate was headed into the second week of the trial facing a pivotal vote on the subject, and it looked like Democrats would almost certainly not win the four GOP votes needed to subpoena new witnesses.
But that was before a report Sunday night in The New York Times.
The report, based on an unpublished manuscript by Trump’s former national security adviser John Bolton, said Bolton in his forthcoming book claims the president tied $391 million in aid to Ukraine to his requests for that country to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
Democrats immediately pounced on the news, with the Democratic impeachment managers saying there was no excuse for GOP senators not to vote for witnesses.
Ex-National Security Adviser John Bolton’s frank disclosure that Trump deliberately and personally linked the release of aid to Ukraine with the investigation of Trump’s political opponents is consistent with the testimony of so many other witnesses during the House investigation. But to have the heart of the first article of impeachment against Trump validated by a former member of Trump’s Cabinet is, or at least would be at any other time in history, game-changing–the equivalent of the “smoking gun” Watergate tape that surfaced in early August of 1974 and sank Richard Nixon’s presidency in a matter of days.
Senate Republicans today are reportedly in chaos as they try to get a handle on this latest damning news. A press conference by a number of GOP Senators firmly in Trump’s camp was cancelled this morning, and we’re waiting for statements about Bolton to start trickling out. For Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, for whom every jot and tittle of this impeachment trial is a perilous choice of evils, what to do about Bolton is even more difficult a question. Gardner is one of a small group of GOP Senators singled out by Bolton’s political action committee for supporting a “a strong, clear, and dependable U.S. national security policy.” Back in 2014 when Gardner was running for his Senate seat, he welcomed Bolton’s endorsement with words that are now back to haunt him:
I’m excited that Ambassador Bolton has endorsed my campaign and appreciate his confidence in my message to Coloradans. We share a commitment to freedom and a desire to ensure America is respected throughout the world. As crises in the Middle East and Ukraine deepen, [Pols emphasis] we need strong leadership at home to prepare us for the further global challenges that lie ahead.
Well folks, it does appear that the crisis in Ukraine has deepened. And John Bolton is ready to talk.
How can Cory Gardner possibly vote to not allow him?