Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made sure that Republicans voted to block all new witnesses and evidence in the impeachment trial of Donald Trump because he knew that an upcoming book by former National Security Adviser John Bolton would incriminate Trump. That is the conclusion drawn by former George W. Bush administration official Nicole Wallace, now an MSNBC host, posting to her Twitter account on Sunday.
As The Inquisitr reported earlier on Sunday, a privately circulated draft of Bolton’s book manuscript is said to contain details of a claimed meeting at which Trump allegedly told Bolton that he directly conditioned his withholding of military aid to Ukraine on that country’s willingness to open an investigation into Democratic 2020 presidential frontrunner Joe Biden.
The allegation that Trump tried to force the Ukrainian government into the Biden investigation by holding back a congressionally approved military aid package is at the heart of impeachment proceedings against the president. On the first full day of Trump’s senate trial, January 21, the senate’s 53 Republicans, led by McConnell, voted to block testimony from all witnesses requested by the Democratic House impeachment managers. Bolton was one of the potential witnesses disallowed by the party-line votes.
But according to a New York Times report on Sunday, Bolton submitted the book manuscript to the White House for a review of possible classified information on December 30. That means White House lawyers — the same lawyers defending Trump in the impeachment trial — may have read the manuscript and may be aware of the claims it contains.
But McConnell, as Wallace noted, said in December that he was coordinating closely with White House officials to be sure that his own impeachment trial strategy met Trump’s wishes, according to an earlier New York Times report.
The New York Times reported that McConnell met privately with White House Counsel Pat Cipollone — and other Trump administration officials — to come up with a plan for the impeachment trial. Cipollone is one of the lawyers representing Trump in the Senate trial. But as White House counsel, he may have been asked to read Bolton’s manuscript.
That means, according to Wallace, that McConnell also would have been aware of the explosive allegations in Bolton’s manuscript.
When McConnell instructed Republican senators to vote against calling the former national security adviser or any other new witnesses, “he likely knew Bolton would obliterate DT’s impeachment defense,” Wallace wrote. “DT” is a likely reference to “Donald Trump.”
According to the earlier New York Times report, McConnell was opposed to calling new witnesses because he believed Trump’s desire to force testimony from Biden’s son, Hunter Biden — as well as from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and lead impeachment manager Adam Schiff — would “open a ‘Pandora’s box,'” clearing the path for other witnesses who could damage Trump.
But McConnell’s potential awareness of Bolton’s book, and its contents, suggests a different motivation, according to Wallace’s tweet. That tweet implies that McConnell simply wanted to suppress any evidence from Bolton, because Bolton’s testimony would directly implicate Trump.