Despite a devastating revelation by former National Security Adviser John Bolton that blows up President Donald Trump’s impeachment defense, former White House Press Secretary Joe Lockhart is doubtful that the new bombshell evidence will sway Senate Republicans to call witnesses.
Democrats have been calling for Bolton to testify because he has firsthand knowledge of Trump’s scheme to extort Ukraine into opening a sham investigation into his political rivals, which he reportedly compared to a “drug deal.”
Trump asked Ukraine for the “favor” as a prerequisite to getting nearly $400 million in military aid, which he would freeze after ending the call.
Because Bolton knows so much, Trump blocked him from testifying during the House impeachment hearings, and Senate Republicans have outright refused to call him because they just want to rig the trial so they can acquit Trump.
So far, Senate Republicans have voted against every effort to call witnesses.
But they are going to have a much harder time justifying it now after a leaked manuscript of Bolton’s new book contradicts Trump’s defense.
According to the New York Times, Bolton wrote that Trump “wanted to continue freezing $391 million in security assistance to Ukraine until officials there helped with investigations into Democrats including the Bidens.”
Of course, Trump denies Bolton’s recollection and he and his team are starting to trash him.
House impeachment managers, however, are insisting that Senate Republicans must call Bolton to testify and that not doing so now is indefensible.
However, Lockhart, who served in the White House under former President Bill Clinton, lamented on Monday morning that Senate Republicans, including the four moderate Republicans who could vote to call witnesses, likely won’t do so anyway.
“It’s obviously more likely that there will be witnesses, but that’s only because of as of Sunday afternoon, there was no chance there were going to be witnesses, ” Lockhart said. “I think Republicans were clearly signaling it all day Sunday that they had won this fight and they were willing to swallow whatever bad press they’d get.”
Republicans were far from “winning,” however. Trump’s team offered a pathetic defense that has frequently changed as new evidence comes to light while House impeachment managers presented such a solid case that Fox & Friends begged viewers not to watch the trial live.
“I still don’t know that it makes it extremely likely,” Lockhart continued. “Remember, the president’s defense, you say at the heart of the president’s defense, the president’s defense has changed a dozen times. This is just the most recent one. It does go to the heart of whether this is first-hand information. But I think most Republicans, probably the four that we have been concentrating on have made up their mind they just want this over and they’re willing to take a short-term hit.”
“We’ll see,” he concluded. “We’re going to see from the White House defense today, you know, whether they now bury this defense. We’re going to see it in the hallways.”
Here’s the video via YouTube:
A majority of Americans, including Republicans, want the Senate to call witnesses to testify during the trial. And you can bet that number will only rise because of Bolton’s manuscript.
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