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Tag This: On Sunday, January 26, 2020, Maggie Haberman and Michael S. Schmidt of the New York Times published a piece titled, “Trump Tied Ukraine Aid to Inquiries He Sought, Bolton Book Says.” The piece outlines how, according to an unpublished manuscript by the former national security adviser, John R. Bolton, “President Trump told [Bolton] in August that he wanted to continue freezing $391 million in security assistance to Ukraine until officials there helped with investigations into Democrats including the Bidens.”
Flag This: As Haberman and Schmidt point out “the president’s statement as described by Mr. Bolton could undercut a key element of his impeachment defense: that the holdup in aid was separate from Mr. Trump’s requests that Ukraine announce investigations into his perceived enemies, including former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son Hunter Biden, who had worked for a Ukrainian energy firm while his father was in office.”
Predictably, the piece sparked fierce debate across the political spectrum. Below are highlights from each side of the aisle.
|On The Left||On The Right|
|In general, Democrats and left-leaning commentators viewed the unpublished manuscript as both evidence to support the impeachment inquiry and also further proof that John Bolton should be called as a witness in the Senate phase of the trial.||In general, Republicans and right-leaning outlets viewed the unpublished manuscript as a ploy from a disgruntled former employee who is looking to market his book and something that won’t change the outcome of the impeachment trial.|
|A follow-up editorial from The New York Times says: “You know what would be a good way to figure out who’s telling the truth? Subpoena Bolton to testify under oath…Senate Republicans have so far refused to hear from any witnesses or to demand any documents, following the lead of Sen. Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, who has never hesitated to undermine the country’s institutions if he thinks doing so will help his party.”||Byron York of the Washington Examiner counters with: “The words are from the New York Times, not Bolton. Neither the report nor any other has quoted even a word from the Bolton book… One solution, perhaps the only solution, to the problem would be for Bolton to release it all now. But that argument served to highlight Bolton’s financial consideration in the matter. He has a book contract with Simon & Schuster. Both he and the publisher want to sell books.”|
|Eugene Robinson continues for the Washington Post saying: “…if the Senate does not allow him to testify, we will see one thing with crystal clarity: President Trump’s impeachment trial will not be a trial at all. It will be a blatant, shameless, unprecedented coverup that will go down in history as an unforgivable disgrace.” Moreover, Robinson argues that “If Bolton should testify — and he definitely should — then why shouldn’t the others as well?” pointing to White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney.||David N. Bossie writes for Fox News: “The selective 11th-hour leak by an anonymous source of a book manuscript written by former National Security Adviser John Bolton should have no bearing on the solemn impeachment proceedings against a president of the United States who received the votes of 63 million American citizens. The Senate is the world’s greatest deliberative body. Senators should judge the evidence that House Democrats used to bring their indictment and nothing more. Allowing Bolton – or any other additional witnesses – to testify would do nothing but kick-start another three-ring circus like the shameful nomination hearings for now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh last fall.”|
|Frida Ghitis writes for CNN that “Bolton’s testimony would be Trump’s nightmare” continuing on to say that “Suddenly, the situation has taken a very interesting turn. Sure, the odds still overwhelmingly favor acquittal. But trials, not unlike wars, can be unpredictable.” She continues to say that “The standards have apparently changed” and that “Fox News is doing everything in its power to support Trump’s case, relegating some of the most powerful parts of the impeachment trial to a small silent box in the corner of the screen, while his most vociferous defenders simultaneously disparage the case against him loudly during prime-time programming.” Bottom line, Ghitis argues that “…if it ends without hearing from Bolton, Americans will know the President prevented them from hearing the evidence and Republican senators were accomplices in the effort. If that happens, it will have an impact in the November election and on who controls the Senate next year.”||The Wall Street Journal editorial Board concludes that “This still isn’t close to a high crime or misdemeanor. Mr. Trump’s reckless judgment was resisted by his staff and Senators like Mr. Johnson, and the President eventually changed his mind. Ukraine never opened an investigation, the U.S. aid was delivered on time, and Mr. Trump met with Ukraine’s President in New York. There was no crime, and Mr. Trump’s military support for Ukraine continues to be far more robust than Barack Obama’s.” That being said they acknowledge that “…the release of the book’s contents puts GOP Senators in a tough political spot.” Finally, they state that “Mr. Bolton can help everyone, including himself, by erasing any doubt about what he knows. He can tell the American public what he wrote—now, before the Senate votes on witnesses… in a public statement, a TV interview, or an op-ed in this publication. Our editors are standing by.”|
Flag Poll: So how does the American public feel about the former national security advisor and whether or not he should testify in the Senate phase of the impeachment trial? We asked. The results are below.