The news which broke Sunday regarding the draft of an upcoming book by former National Security Adviser John Bolton which alleges that Donald Trump did indeed hold military aid to Ukraine hostage until he got investigations of former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, has completely changed the landscape of Trump’s Senate impeachment trial.
Before the Bolton news broke, it seemed highly unlikely that there would be any witnesses called because Senate Republicans — operating in lockstep with the White House — wanted to get this entire impeachment trial over with so Trump could declare victory and get back to his attempts to rig the 2020 election the way he did the one that supposedly “elected” him four years ago.
Now, however, at least four senators have changed their minds and want to at least give the appearance that the trial isn’t rigged, according to PBS News Hour reporter Lisa Desjardins, who sent out this tweet Monday evening:
WITNESS NEWS: Multiple GOP sources tell me there are or seem to be 51 votes for the first vote on witnesses – whether to consider the idea of witnesses.
But not yet 51 votes for any *specific* witness.
— Lisa Desjardins (@LisaDNews) January 28, 2020
So, if the votes are there, who might be called to testify? Here’s the most likely names you’ll be hearing:
- Former National Security Adviser John Bolton
- Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney
- Rudy Giuliani
- Lev Parnas
As you might expect, Senate Republicans are now saying that they want some witnesses of their own, specifically the Bidens, with Lindsey Graham (R-SC) whining that he will make sure the Bidens are raked over the coals and slagged in a desperate effort to muddy the water and divert attention away from Trump’s endless parade of crimes.
But witnesses would be a big victory for the Democrats, and if they get them, that would be very bad news for Trump, even if only because it will drag the trial out even longer, making him more politically vulnerable.
There’s no guarantee that any member of the GOP can grow a spine, if only temporarily, but things are looking bad for Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) at the moment.