We are on the second day of the defense for the president. His legal team is in the midst of arguing that this case is akin to a coup. It would be a denial of the results of the election. They are also committed to the idea that impeachment requires an actual crime. This is not the case, but it is easier to distract than to defend the president.
The president’s men also argue that President Donald Trump was concerned about corruption in Ukraine. It is known that there are issues with this in Ukraine. Why a prosecutor was removed, under pressure from not just the United States. His lawyers argue that Ukrainian President Zelensky, elected on an agenda to stamp out corruption, felt no pressure. There was no this for that. Never mind his country’s military budget depends on our largesse. It is ten percent of its military budget, and their nation is at war with the Russian Federation.
The core of this argument is now broken beyond recognition, even if this the case presented to the Senate. Why? Foreign Nationals Security Advisor John Bolton is writing a book directly contradicting this storyline, and he has a story to tell:
This is the equivalent of a hand grenade into a house of cards. And this is why. Per the Washington Post:
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 That is according to an unpublished manuscript of Bolton’s forthcoming book, the Times said.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 a White House review could attempt to delay its publication or block some of its contents.
Two people familiar with the book, who spoke on the condition of 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.
“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.”
So here we are, with evidence that Republicans insist does not exist, from a man who was there. The core of the Republican argument is that none witnessed what is alleged. Yet, John Bolton, in his capacity as National Security Advisor, is directly contradicting the core of the case. The president wanted dirt on his political enemies. This dirt was to be found in Ukraine. This may be exactly what is needed for at least four senators to peel away from the party of Trump.
This is the greatest challenge to the president’s case. It also goes to the core of the Democratic argument, that the president abused his powers to ensure his re-election. It was not about corruption or former affairs. It was about the president and his very narrow interests. These late revelations are not going to end now. As time goes on, regardless of what the Senate decides, more drips will come. Some may be as devastating for the president’s case like this one. However, they go to the core of both and make the case that the senate needs witnesses.
Here is where procedural votes will matter. Americans want witnesses. At this point, it is sixty-six percent. Why? Blame Hollywood partially and crime procedural like Law and Order. But Americans know a trial has witnesses testify. While a senate trial is about politics more than a judicial process, it is a fact that the people want witnesses. And this is before the explosive revelations from Bolton’s upcoming book. They are not going to be the last. I predict that however, predictably, the Senate decides to treat this, the leaking will continue.
The case the defense team is presenting is avoiding this. What they did was something else, which should trouble anybody with a sense of fairness. This is a case filled with innuendo, which puts people, not on trial at the center of the stage. They are, however, red meat for a base that believes Democrats are worst than the devil.
Trump’s defense team put both the Obama administration and Joe Biden on trial. They did not address at all the allegations at the core of the House Managers case. We also have a man who prosecuted an impeachment trial, argue that we are in an age of impeachment. Oh never mind that Ken Starr was the star of an actual impeachment trial in the United States Senate. One that came from thin evidence.
So we are clear, Bill Clinton was impeached over lying, not his sexual affair. However, Starr argued it was enough to remove a president. If Starr was honest, this is a political act. And as such, it’s okay to go after the president when he is not from their party.
The distraction of what the Barack Obama administration did in 2011 was ridiculous. And at one point this also diminished the role of Rudy Giuliani. What we are watching is a series of events, where the president is abusing his power, regardless of what Allan Dershowitz argues. This has not stopped. Trump will continue to do so, to the detriment of the nation.
These arguments are red meat for the Republican Party base. This is not about proving innocence or guilt. Why? The argument continues to come down to…so what? The president can do what he wants to do. It may not be the choice the lawyers might make, but he can do whatever. There are no limits to his privileges and he can do whatever he wants to do.
The Bolton revelations have pierced the veil of the argument. The question before us is if this will be enough for witnesses? And if they come, will that turn more Senators against a president who continues to threaten them.