As Democrats look to John Bolton to save their faltering impeachment effort, Donald Trump has dismissed Bolton as a disgruntled former employee seeking revenge.
The president proved his point Wednesday with a resurfaced video of Bolton praising Trump’s “warm and cordial” relations with Ukraine, Breitbart reported. Bolton left the White House a month after making the comments, and he has since written a “bombshell” book claiming that Trump directly tied aid to Ukraine with investigations into Joe Biden, the central charge Democrats have brought against the president in his impeachment trial.
“Game over!” Trump tweeted, captioning the video of Bolton.
GAME OVER! pic.twitter.com/yvMa6bPqfy
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 29, 2020
Flashback: Bolton praises Trump on Ukraine
With a Friday vote on witnesses looming, Democrats have capitalized on the last minute leak of Bolton’s upcoming book to push for his testimony. Trump has accused Bolton of being an angry ex-employee who just wants to sell a book, and many of his allies have questioned the timing of its emergence, noting that the book was available for pre-order on Amazon the day it leaked to the New York Times.
The Times reported that Bolton’s book mentions an explicit link between a hold on military aid to Ukraine and the president’s desire to have Joe Biden investigated, and claims that Bolton was concerned about Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukraine’s president. But in a resurfaced interview with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Bolton said that Trump’s phone calls with Ukraine were “warm and cordial,” and he acknowledged that corruption in Ukraine was an issue the Trump administration was targeting.
The adviser’s words appear to align, ironically, with the Trump’s claims that he had a “beautiful” and innocent phone call and that his desire to have the Bidens investigated was motivated by public interest in rooting out corruption. Democrats have impeached Trump for trying to “cheat” in the 2020 election by seeking an investigation into Biden for, they allege, his personal gain.
Bombshell fizzles out?
Democrats have viewed Bolton as a pivotal witness because of his history with Trump, which came to an abrupt end when Bolton left the White House in September. Trump says he fired him, but Bolton insists that he resigned.
For a moment, it appeared that his book had upended Trump’s impeachment trial as two Republican senators, Susan Collins (R-ME) and Mitt Romney (R-UT), said they would likely vote for additional testimony. But Democrats need four defections, and Republican senators are increasingly optimistic that they have the votes to block witnesses and move on, Fox reported.
“I think, by that time, people will have heard enough,” Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) told Fox News.” “They will have learned what they need to know about this case. And the plan is for Friday to vote. And the momentum is moving to say we’ve heard enough. Let’s move to final judgment.”
While Democrats accuse Trump and Republicans of a “cover-up,” they did not subpoena Bolton in the House when they had complete control of the impeachment process. At the time, they cited a fear of an extended court battle, only to then hold on to the impeachment articles in a failed stalemate that lasted about a month.
It now appears likely that Republicans will shut down the impeachment trial in a Friday vote, then move quickly to acquit Trump. If not, then the trial could drag on for several more weeks.