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St. Louis Post-Dispatch: John Bolton's offer to testify upsets Senate GOP's plan for Trump's quick acquittal

Zainab Sulaiman

Jan. 10, 2020

A major hiccup has been introduced into Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s plans for a speedy acquittal of President Donald Trump at his impending impeachment trial. Former national security adviser John Bolton says he is prepared to testify if subpoenaed. McConnell, with a big assist by Missouri Republican Sen. Josh Hawley, was all but prepared to declare the impeachment process dead.
Until Bolton’s announcement Monday, GOP leaders had convinced themselves that weeks of House testimony by former and current administration officials — describing multiple ways in which Trump abused his presidential power — really amounted to nothing. Senate Republicans had been hoping and praying that no new testimony or evidence would surface to derail their plans to acquit Trump and be done with this entire impeachment mess.
Nothing would sway them from their drive to declare Trump innocent — not even an official White House transcript that made clear Trump pressured Ukraine’s president into digging up dirt against Trump’s likely 2020 Democratic presidential opponent. They wouldn’t be swayed by a batch of unredacted emails uncovered last week in which defense and budget officials discussed the withholding of military aid to Ukraine, with one key official stating that there was “clear direction from POTUS (Trump) to continue to hold.”
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The last thing Senate Republicans wanted was the prospect of testimony from someone with undeniable credibility. Bolton was in the room when many of the Ukraine discussions occurred between Trump and other top administration officials. Former aides described Bolton as harshly critical of the pressure being applied on Ukraine. Bolton has not denied witness testimony quoting him referring to the Ukraine affair and ridiculing Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, as “a hand grenade who’s going to blow everybody up.”
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