At the eleventh hour, a second leak from former National Security Advisor John Bolton’s yet-to-be-published book threatened to rock the Senate trial.
According to the New York Times, which published the leak on Friday, it was alleged that two months before the infamous July 25th phone call, Bolton was asked by President Donald Trump to participate in a pressure campaign against Ukraine at a meeting in which Trump, Bolton, White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, White House counsel Pat Cipollone, and Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, were in attendance.
The “pressure campaign” is the same one that we have been hearing about since the start of the impeachment inquiry. President Trump apparently was trying to find ways to pressure Ukraine into investigating former Vice President Joe Biden and son Hunter and their connections to the allegedly corrupt Ukrainian energy firm Burisma Holdings.
According to the New York Times, Trump, in that meeting, asked Bolton to make a phone call to the Ukranian president in order to try to get him to meet with Giuliani. The idea was to get the two men to meet face-to-face so that Giuliani could up the pressure on President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Bolton, apparently not in agreement with Trump’s plan, is said to have written in his book that he did not make the phone call.
As with a lot of the “facts” about this situation, Bolton’s veracity is uncertain at best — after all, he does seem to be a disgruntled former member of the Trump administration. Nonetheless, he certainly doesn’t seem to be backing down from these leaks.
Giuliani, on the other hand, has challenged this latest leak. “It is absolutely, categorically untrue,” he said.
Here we go again
To some extent, it is no surprise that another leak came on the same day that senators were set to take a key vote on whether or not to involve further witnesses in the Senate trial. It is also no surprise that the House managers, led by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), came fully prepared to capitalize on it.
On Friday, both the House managers and the president’s counsel argued about whether the senators ought to hear from witnesses. Schiff used the latest leak in his argument, while the president’s counsel decided not to respond to it, choosing instead to stick to the record and the case that they have put before the senators.
Despite the leak, and despite Schiff’s best efforts, the Senate was not persuaded to call further witnesses. Democrats failed on that front in a 51-49 vote. Later on in the proceedings, the Senate also rejected numerous amendments suggested by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to specifically call Bolton as a witness.
It appears that the senators are simply tired of this partisan charade, and would prefer to get back to business as usual.
The eleventh-hour revelation didn’t work this time, but I suppose that it was worth a try considering how badly the Democrats are losing on impeachment.