Budowsky: Bolton bombshell makes GOP tremble

Budowsky: Bolton bombshell makes GOP tremble
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The breaking news about the bombshell book by former national security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonEx-Trump adviser, impeachment witness Fiona Hill gets book deal Hannity's first book in 10 years debuts at No. 1 on Amazon Congress has a shot at correcting Trump's central mistake on cybersecurity MORE, which reveals critical evidence about the role of President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump suggests some states may 'pay nothing' as part of unemployment plan Trump denies White House asked about adding him to Mount Rushmore Trump, US face pivotal UN vote on Iran MORE in the Ukraine affair now being debated in the impeachment trial, and Bolton’s concern that Trump might have done special favors for foreign dictators whose political support or money he allegedly might seek, is creating panic among Trump’s GOP supporters in Washington.

It should.

The Bolton bombshell offers firsthand evidence of a hard truth that serious people have long recognized but Trump’s defenders have long denied: that Trump was at the center of a partisan campaign to pressure our democratic ally in Ukraine to announce a bogus investigation against the political opponent he greatly fears, former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump denies White House asked about adding him to Mount Rushmore HuffPost reporter: Biden's VP shortlist doesn't suggest progressive economic policies Jill Biden says she plans to continue teaching if she becomes first lady MORE.

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The Bolton bombshell also raises another tantalizing piece of potentially critical information that the media has not yet focused on intensely, but soon will. When Bolton in his book apparently asserts that he fears that Trump has done special favors for foreign dictators whose help he seeks, what information, if any, does he have on this matter, which Congress and the American people do not yet have, about an allegation that could, if proven, constitute a serious abuse of presidential power?

While last week ended with the likelihood that even more moderate Republican senators would surrender to Trump and vote against allowing witnesses into the impeachment trial, the Bolton bombshell makes it virtually impossible for Senate Republicans running in 2020 to vote against witnesses without risking an enormous and potentially decisive political backlash back home.

Even before the Bolton bombshell, who ever heard of a trial without witnesses or evidence?

Who ever heard of a defense of an accused president that argues that abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, even if conclusively proven, are not grounds for action?

Who ever heard of a defense whose most prominent advocates state, again and again, that even if every argument by opposing counsel is conclusively proven, it should not matter a whit to the jury that took an oath to be impartial?

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Who ever heard of a defense in a case before Congress that tries to put the victim of the offense, in this case Trump’s feared opponent Biden, who a list of Trump administration appointees have declared did nothing wrong, on trial, the way criminal lawyers shamefully put the victim of the crime on trial because they cannot effectively argue for the innocence of their client?

If Trump, Attorney General William BarrBill BarrGOP lawmaker calls for Justice Dept. to probe international court Barr pulls over to thank pro-police rally in Virginia Trump: Yates either lying or grossly incompetent MORE, Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoHong Kong police arrest pro-democracy media tycoon: aide Trump, US face pivotal UN vote on Iran Trump puts trade back on 2020 agenda MORE or others believe that what Bolton alleges is false, they should be given every opportunity to testify about this, under oath as Bolton would be.

In a fair and rational world, in a fair and impartial trial, the Senate would vote to have Chief Justice John Roberts, who the constitution requires to preside over the case, make rulings about which witnesses should testify and which should not. This would be the most fair way to decide the question of witnesses and evidence. While senators would be able to reverse his decisions, my view is that they would be highly unlikely to do so in large numbers.

The Bolton bombshell makes Republicans tremble because it destroys their argument, which is far from true to begin with, that House impeachment managers offered only hearsay evidence. What Bolton offers is, obviously, firsthand evidence from the president’s former national security adviser.

The Bolton bombshell makes Republicans tremble because they fear that Bolton might have material evidence about other abuses of power, involving alleged favors Bolton implies Trump might have done for foreign dictators.

The Bolton bombshell makes Republicans tremble because he makes it impossible for Republican senators to say, with a straight face and clear conscience and credibility with voters, that they do not even want to hear critical witnesses, evidence and facts — about the case which they have sworn to consider with integrity and impartiality — from a staunch conservative and committed Republican.

Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), who was chief deputy majority whip of the House of Representatives. He holds an LLM in international financial law from the London School of Economics.