Senate Republicans say Bolton's firsthand account that Trump demanded a quid pro quo from Ukraine 'changes nothing.'
Former national security adviser John Bolton reportedly alleges in a forthcoming book that Donald Trump conditioned military aid to Ukraine on whether the country's leadership would investigate his political rivals — meaning a firsthand witness says Trump did exactly what he's accused of in the articles of impeachment.
Yet one by one, Republican senators are emerging to say that Bolton's claims don't matter, and they plan to acquit Trump anyway.
Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN) said at a news conference on Monday that Bolton's account "really doesn't change anything."
Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) said at that same news conference that, "the facts of the case remain the same."
Sen. John Thune (R-SD) echoed Barrasso's comments.
"I don't think it changes the facts," Thune told Washington Post reporter Erica Werner. "I don't personally see it as a game changer."
However, Bolton's evidence directly contradicts Trump's legal team, which said there was no quid pro quo with Ukraine.
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) went as far as questioning whether Bolton — who was one of the highest-level Trump aides in the White House — is even a firsthand witness.
"Is he a firsthand witness?" Hawley told CNN's Haley Byrd. "I'm not sure."
Numerous Republicans have said from the outset that they plan to acquit Trump no matter what, despite taking an oath of impartiality.
Yet the bombshell news that Bolton has firsthand knowledge of Trump demanding a quid pro quo led to questions about how the GOP would handle the trial going forward.
Democrats are demanding that Bolton be called to testify under oath — something he already said he would do if subpoenaed.
However, Republicans are laying the groundwork to ignore Bolton and keep on their condensed trial timeline to acquit Trump before his scheduled Feb. 4 State of the Union address.
For instance, the New York Times reported that Republicans were angry that the White House knew Bolton wrote in his book that Trump demanded a quid pro quo, yet didn't alert the Senate, leaving them "blindsided."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.