Media Mention

Bolton’s testimony would be devastating. Not even Republicans could look away.

January 27, 2020

Note: this op-ed originally ran in the Washington Post, and was written by Checks & Balances member George Conway. 

Search the transcript of Saturday’s impeachment trial, as President Trump’s lawyers began their opening arguments, and you’ll see there’s a name nowhere to be found: John Bolton, the former national security adviser.

The president’s lawyers made no mention of him. And now there’s no need to speculate why. Because the news about what’s in Bolton’s forthcoming book is out — and it shows that his testimony would be devastating to Trump.

The New York Times reported Sunday night that Bolton submitted his manuscript to the White House for pre-publication review four weeks ago. Which means, in all likelihood, that at least some members of the president’s defense team have known exactly what Bolton would say if called to the stand.

According to the Times, Bolton’s manuscript states, among other things, that President Trump told Bolton “in August that he wanted to continue freezing $391 in million in security assistance to Ukraine until officials there helped with investigations into Democrats including the Bidens.” Trump reportedly said “he preferred sending no assistance to Ukraine until officials turned over all materials … that related to Mr. Biden and supporters of Mrs. Clinton in Ukraine.”

Quid. Pro. Quo.

We knew that already. But Bolton’s testimony would make that devastating conclusion inescapable, even to Republican senators who have striven mightily to blind themselves to the obvious.

Bolton, who has already announced that he would comply with a Senate trial subpoena, actually wants to testify, it seems. He wants to testify “for several reasons,” says the Times. “He believes he has relevant information.” (Gee, do you think?) He’s also rightly worried he’ll get trashed if he doesn’t testify and his explosive account comes out only later for $32.50 on Amazon. (One hopes he’d like to do it for the sake of the country, too.)

No wonder Trump’s lawyers so vehemently opposed Bolton’s being subpoenaed last week. No wonder they’ve been plotting with Senate Republicans to make sure that, if Bolton does testify, he does so in secret. No wonder Trump himself expressed concern last week about the possibility of Bolton testifying. No wonder why, on Saturday, none of the president’s lawyers dared even utter the word “Bolton.”

Continue reading at the Washington Post.