Republican hopes for a speedy acquittal for President Donald Trump in his Senate impeachment trial have fallen through with the revelation from the president’s former national security adviser John Bolton that Trump had specifically tied aid for Ukraine to whether or not the country investigated his opponents, thereby confirming the bribery story at the center of the House impeachment case. Now, prominent Republican Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma is calling for the White House to submit a copy of the book manuscript in which Bolton makes those claims to Congress. Apparently, the administration first got a copy of that bombshell book last year, but the material didn’t make it to Senate Republicans, even though the president was counting on them to serve on the front lines of his “defense.”
‘I am encouraging the White House, anybody that I can talk to, to say: That manuscript is pertinent and we should get access to that manuscript to see what they’re actually saying.’
Lankford added, discussing Bolton, that there are “plenty of microphones all over the country that he should step forward and start talking about it right now.” You know a great way to hear what Bolton has to say? Call him as a witness!
Democrats have been advocating for including witness testimony in the Senate trial, but most Republicans have resisted those demands every step of the way, and there’s a moment of truth vote about whether to hear from witnesses that’s expected to unfold later this week.
Lankford’s comments mirror commentary from the even more prominent ardent Trump supporter Lindsey Graham, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee. Neither Lankford nor Graham have apparently publicly admitted that they’d actually want Bolton to testify, but Graham commented:
‘I think what we have to do here is evaluate the manuscript… I want to know what’s in the manuscript.’
Again, witness testimony is a great way to hear what Bolton has to say! It’s right there. These Republicans can’t pretend to be for hearing the truth and then completely ignore an option for actually getting it and then expect us to take them seriously.
A couple of Republican Senators, including Utah’s Mitt Romney and Maine’s Susan Collins, have acknowledged the Bolton revelations’ relevance to the question of hearing from witnesses at the trial.
Romney told reporters:
‘It’s pretty fair to say John Bolton has relevant testimony. I think it’s increasingly likely that other Republicans will join those of us who think we should hear from John Bolton.’
And in her own public statement, Collins added:
‘Reports about John Bolton’s book strengthen the case for witnesses and have prompted a number of conversations among my colleagues.’
My statement on Bolton developments. pic.twitter.com/3M59J7suts
— Sen. Susan Collins (@SenatorCollins) January 27, 2020
That’s vague, but the point is that the outcome of the soon upcoming vote on whether or not to hear from witnesses is not certain. If witnesses are approved, the length of the trial could extend significantly. If the witness push fails, the trial will wrap up very soon with a presumed acquittal for the president.