The pressure is continuing to build on Senate Republicans for them to approve bringing in witness testimony for President Donald Trump’s ongoing impeachment trial. Now, former Trump administration official John Kelly has spoken out in support of some of the latest revelations that have pushed that campaign for witness testimony along even further. Kelly, who served both as Secretary of Homeland Security and White House chief of staff, said that he believes former Trump national security adviser John Bolton’s reported insistence that Trump specifically tied military aid for Ukraine to whether or not the country investigated his domestic political opponents.
On Monday, Kelly insisted:
‘If John Bolton says that in the book, I believe John Bolton. Every single time I was with him… he always gave the president the unvarnished truth. So, I think if there are people that could contribute to this, either innocence or guilt… I think they should be heard. I think some of the conversations seem to me to be very inappropriate, but I wasn’t there. But there are people that were there that ought to be heard from.’
Cue the angry Trump tweets!
Bolton is one of the main targets for Democrats advocating for witnesses. In an ideal world, Bolton and Kelly and many others would be called thanks to the firsthand accounts that they could give of the president’s scheme to bribe Ukraine into investigating his opponents, but Republicans have proven that they’ll be sticking with the president through just about anything.
Only a couple of perceived moderate Republican Senators have admitted that the pressure to bring witnesses in for the trial is persuasive.
Utah’s Mitt 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.’
Maine’s Susan Collins added:
‘Reports about John Bolton’s book strengthen the case for witnesses and have prompted a number of conversations among my colleagues.’
Does that mean that enough Republicans will defect from the majority to actually secure enough votes to summon witnesses? Time will tell.
My statement on Bolton developments. pic.twitter.com/3M59J7suts
— Sen. Susan Collins (@SenatorCollins) January 27, 2020
Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) threateningly insisted this week that Senators who vote in favor of witnesses could face “political repercussions,” which is reminiscent of the report that House Intel Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) himself referenced during the trial that insists that Republicans were told by the White House itself they’d have their “head on a pike” if they voted against the president.
Confronted with Republican criticism of his reference to that report, Schiff told reporters:
‘They don’t want to talk about the conditioning of military aid, they don’t want to talk about the solicitation of foreign interference. They just want to attack the House managers. That’s what you do… when your client is guilty. I think that’s all you’re seeing here is that effort to distract.’
It’s true — the facts clearly outline the president’s scheme to bribe Ukraine. His defenders have been reduced to desperate extremes to try and get around that.
JUST IN: "No, I don't think so," Rep. Adam Schiff says when asked if he and Nadler have mishandled comments that are getting criticism from the GOP. "There are going to be efforts to distract from the facts, there are going to be attacks on the managers." https://t.co/c9UONqgG2A pic.twitter.com/e9XkFCPIkG
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) January 25, 2020