John Bolton: Second Trump impeachment ‘badly conceived, poorly executed,’ likely to produce same result as first
Former White House national security adviser John Bolton is predicting the second impeachment of former President Trump is also unlikely to end in a conviction and could do more harm to the country than good.
“Like Impeachment 1.0, the 2021 edition is badly conceived, poorly executed, and likely to produce precisely what the first round did: results 180 degrees contrary to the objectives that impeachment supporters say they want,” Bolton wrote in National Review. “Like the first, it is too narrowly drawn (first Ukraine, now the Capitol desecration) and was rushed through the House on largely partisan lines. Neither scenario is the right way to do impeachments, 50 percent of which in U.S. history have occurred in the past twelve months.”
Bolton warned Trump’s first acquittal in the Senate “emboldened and enabled him” instead of “deterring and constraining” the former president, forecasting a second acquittal could do the same as he enters his post-White House life.
The House impeached Trump earlier this month on one article of “inciting insurrection” following a deadly riot by his supporters at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Before violence broke out that day, Trump urged his supporters to march on the building as a joint session of Congress met inside to certify President Biden’s Electoral College victory.
Trump’s first impeachment was sparked by an intelligence community whistleblower complaint about a 2019 phone call between the then-president and his Ukrainian counterpart. On the call, Trump pressured the Ukrainian president to help him dig up political dirt on Biden.
Trump was acquitted by the Senate in his first impeachment trial, during which the Republican majority declined to call witnesses. Bolton, who never testified and relayed some details of the incident in a memoir published last summer after a lengthy legal battle with the White House, was chief among the witnesses Democrats said they wanted to testify.
Bolton, who left the White House in 2019, said in Monday’s op-ed that he does not believe Trump is innocent of the alleged crime of inciting insurrection but warned a second acquittal could give more oxygen and publicity to a man he has previously called “dangerous.”
“Attention is what Trump lives for,” Bolton wrote. “If his foes really wanted to punish him, if they wanted to inflict the most terrible fate possible, they would simply ignore him. They could organize societal ‘shunning’ of Trump, as some religious denominations do.”
“Nor would a Senate conviction bring closure to the Trump era; instead, it would simply add fuel for the Wurlitzer and the ‘stab-in-the-back’ narrative Trump is already crafting,” he added. “A sufficient number of Senate Republicans will conclude that their chamber lacks jurisdiction, and Trump will again skate free. Felicitations to all who participate. Let’s not do it again soon.”
Democrats delivered the article of impeachment to the Senate on Monday night, and senators are set to be sworn in as jurors on Tuesday. A trail is expected to begin the week of Feb. 8.
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