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John Bolton: The Best Witness

2020-01-27T14:58:33.552Z

Details from John Bolton's book manuscript leak and show once again: Donald Trump's ex-security advisor would be the key witness in the impeachment process.



Donald Trump is unlikely to be right: "If John Bolton said this, it was only to sell a book." The former US President's National Security Advisor made a detour in the Ukraine affair over the weekend and exacerbated the conflict over the ongoing impeachment proceedings. Bolton is planning a book, the rough draft is, the content is explosive as expected. The manuscript is currently in the White House for approval - a common procedure for (ex) government officials to prevent information that is legally classified as confidential from being released. What is in the manuscript has now been released to the public, while Trump's defenders and Republicans in the Senate are doing everything they can to ensure that the author is heard as a witness to the abuse of office by the President.

The book, if it ever appears, will sell itself. Bolton is seen as a key figure with direct knowledge of the dirty machinations that amount to blackmailing the Ukrainian government to Trump's personal political advantage. He has been to the room where it happened more than once - The Room Where It Happened , this is the title the book is supposed to bear when it hits the stores in March as planned.

Bolton had not come to the House of Representatives' impeachment hearings because he had followed the White House's instructions to stop all cooperation between current and former government officials. But the testimony of the former top consultant and respected Russian expert Fiona Hill nevertheless put him at the center of the affair. Among other things, she quoted him as saying: "Whatever kind of" drug deal "is being put in there, he doesn't want anything to do with it. Bolton is said to have been overwhelmed when he heard about the campaign against Trump's political opponents, which Rudy Giuliani and others in Ukraine were pushing forward: The US President's personal lawyer was "a hand grenade that will blow everyone up". Bolton is said to have responded to White House staff concerns by recommending that the case be brought before the lawyers.

"Take her out!"

What has now become known from the manuscript of the former security advisor touches the core of the allegations in the impeachment proceedings. According to US media, Bolton writes that Trump has instructed him to withhold military aid to Ukraine, previously legitimately ordered by Congress, until the government there starts the investigation, including against his political rival Joe Biden and his son Hunter - for whom contrary to republican conspiracy fantasies, there was no basis. Even more: In addition to Bolton himself, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Minister Mark Esper had flatly rejected the questionable course of action against Ukraine and they had spoken to Trump about it a dozen times. Bolton also warned Attorney General William Barr and White House lawyers about Giuliani's activities.

Pompeo had also admitted that circulating allegations against the US ambassador in Kiev were not justified - which he has so far been unable to publicly bring himself to do. Marie Yovanovitch had been recalled in the spring of last year, having previously faced a suicide campaign because she appeared to be standing in the way of unsavory efforts to stir up supposed dirt in Ukraine over Trump's political opponents. This had already become clear from the impeachment investigations and is once again clearly demonstrated by the allegations and the published material by Giuliani's assistant Lev Parnas. Also on the weekend, U.S. media released a video from April 2018 that Parnas' lawyer provided. It can be heard how Parnas permanently disparages the ambassador to Trump and among other things the president answers: "Get rid of her!" - or worse, if you translate " Take her out! " To "Turn it off!" Parnas is said to have even more stressful material.

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It is clear that Bolton should also have more to report, and he now wants to testify. The leaked allegations from his book have once again exposed Trump's defenders and Republicans in the Senate. From the beginning, their goal was not only to acquit the president in the end, but also not to allow further witness hearings and evidence gathering in the first place. The argument "there is too little evidence and no one directly charges Trump" logically has never really been logically reconciled with the waiver in particular of a subpoena from Bolton. Now there is no longer any understandable reason why the former security adviser should not come to the Senate.

Do the Republicans collapse?

But actually it was thought differently. According to Bolton's lawyer, the manuscript was submitted to the White House on December 30, 2019. He said it was unfortunate that the review process had apparently been corrupted and that the information had been passed through by people who shouldn't have been involved. Perhaps the circle that became so familiar with what Bolton could testify would be quite large. It is known that Trump's defense lawyers and Republicans in the Senate coordinate closely on their impeachment strategy. So all of you might have known how important it would be to prevent a subpoena. And at the same time, possibly blocking or at least delaying publication of the book or incriminating parts.

Will the Republicans collapse now that Bolton has the key to the Ukraine affair? Will at least four of them give the Democrats the majority needed to summon the former Senate security advisor? It would be a real surprise after cynically ignoring any evidence yet. The prosecution has the arguments, the defense the majority, the truth is only a matter of appearance: An acquittal for Trump in impeachment proceedings is as certain as it was from the beginning. But the revelations from Bolton's book show that he won't be worth anything: neither for the history books, nor for the November election. The Republicans must fear both.

Source: zeit

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