Former national security advisor John Bolton wrote a book in which he details the President’s plan to withhold aide to Ukraine in order to force an investigation of his political opponent Joe Biden.
The information in this book undermines a key defense in the impeachment inquiry–that there are no first-hand witnesses to the deal– yet republican senators mostly do not support testimony from Biden.
Bolton’s book was sent to the National Security Council for review, which is standard procedure for anyone with access to classified information. Contents of the book were leaked to the New York Times.
the impeachment defense
Many defenses have emerged from the impeachment trial in the Senate but perhaps the most consequential was presented by Alan Dershowitz.
According to Dershowitz, even if Bolton’s accusations were true, the actions are not impeachable because a president can act in a way that supports his ability to remain in power.
Dershowitz said that President Trump had a “mixed motive” in asking Ukraine to investigate the Bidens, including the motive to gain a political advantage as well as to advance national interests. If President Trump believed that the investigation was good for the country, then the fact that it was also good for him politically is not impeachable.
cover for Republicans who oppose hearing from witnesses
Three moderate Republicans have publicly announced they would support hearing from John Bolton as a witness (Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins and Mitt Romney), but a fourth vote is needed (a simple majority vote in the Senate is needed for questions about process). Mitch McConnell is reportedly working overtime to pressure all Republican senators to vote against hearing from witnesses.
Republican senators largely seem to have adapted the Alan Dershowitz it’s-not-impeachable-even-if-it’s-true argument.
Defense strategies to the impeachment have evolved over time. Here’s a look at a few.
Laura and Tim take on the question: Should senators vote their conscience or should they vote according to the will of their constituents? Check it out here.