Well, this should stir up a few things. John Bolton, the man who sought to avoid the “drug-deal” has some stories to tell and by all appearance wants to testify. Per the NY Times:
John R. Bolton, President Trump’s former national security adviser, knows about “many relevant meetings and conversations” connected to the Ukraine pressure campaign that House impeachment investigators have not yet been informed about, his lawyer told lawmakers on Friday.
A letter from John Bolton’s attorney to the committee investigating the matter states that he did not show up to his deposition yesterday, anticipating a court order directing him with regard to the executive privilege claim.
The tantalizing detail in the letter, that “many relevant conversations” occured, is a strong hint that John Bolton has a few things to get off his chest.
Unlike most of those who have testified so far, though, Mr. Bolton would bring knowledge of what the president himself said about the matter. Most of the witnesses have described what people around the president said, but few recounted any direct conversations with Mr. Trump. As his national security adviser who saw him daily, Mr. Bolton presumably could take investigators into the Oval Office as none of their witnesses have.
“Direct conversations,” right to the heart of the matter.
Ultimately, it is the direct knowledge of the events to pressure Ukraine that might shift the White House’s defense. At this point, Trump still describes the witnesses as people he’s never heard of and/or the claim that only “never Trumpers,” provided testimony, a defense that Trump reiterated just today.
“I’m not concerned about anything,” he said, shrugging off the impeachment inquiry. “The testimony has all been fine. For the most part, I never even heard of these people. I have no idea who they are. They are some very fine people. You have some never Trumpers. It seems that nobody has any firsthand knowledge. There is no firsthand knowledge.”
“Not concerned about anything” would be an odd response from just about anyone else in this position. The testimony so far has touched on many things that would at least “worry” or “concern” someone. It certainly doesn’t align with “It happened, get over it, and “it isn’t impeachable.”
It is impossible to describe Bolton as someone who didn’t have firsthand knowledge, or as someone who was (or is) a “never-Trumper.”
There is a bigger sticking point with respect to Bolton, one that could unravel the White House’s ability to block employees from testifying. The executive privilege claim is strongest with respect to “direct conversations” with the president, any president. If a judicial ruling comes early enough, through an expedited process, it might break the entire dam used to avoid much of the testimony thus far.
We have heard details, transcripts even, from reliable “second-hand” sources, all of which align with the original claim, that the money was held-up to influence Ukraine into a “public announcement” about investigating Biden and his son Hunter. But more direct testimony takes the matter to another level. Especially when Bolton’s attorney is signaling they do have that direct testimony.
The House released more of the “second hand” testimony today in the form of trancripts from witnesses already deposed. News concerning the release is still breaking as I write, and I am sure that further details will emerge soon enough.
So, as with most Friday afternoons, we appear to be on the verge of learning more details, some of them potentially damaging. So far, nothing new has been analyzed and emerged, but do watch this space. Those details could be important, and even more so if direct knowledge backs it up. We should see, soon enough.
firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @MiciakZoom