After White House lawyers' brief rebuttal (less than 3 hours) managed to tear apart Rep. Schiff and the House Managers' 20-plus-hour 'odyssey' in the Senate impeachment trial, is anyone surprised that - right at the last minute - a 'bombshell' is leaked to the media that promises - as always - "this time we got him."
This time, The New York Times reports that President Trump's former national security adviser John Bolton alleges in his forthcoming book that the president explicitly told him"
"[Trump] wanted to continue freezing $391 million in security assistance to Ukraine until officials there helped with investigations into Democrats including the Bidens."
Bolton also wrote that several top cabinet officials had knowledge of Trump’s demands, including Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and Attorney General William Barr, as well as acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, according to NYT.
The leak - if true - contradicts Trump's claim that he never tied the hold-up of Ukrainian aid to his demands for investigations into Burisma corruption surrounding Hunter Biden's exorbitant pay for doing sweet F.A.
Of course, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer instantly responded to the NYT story, tweeting:
"John Bolton has the evidence. It's up to four Senate Republicans to ensure that John Bolton, Mick Mulvaney, and the others with direct knowledge of President Trump's actions testify in the Senate trial."
And The House Managers were even stronger in tone, demanding Bolton as witness...
House Managers Statement on New York Times Report on John Bolton Washington, DC
Today, the House Managers in the impeachment trial of the President of the United States, Donald J. Trump – Adam Schiff, Jerrold Nadler, Zoe Lofgren, Hakeem Jeffries, Val Demings, Jason Crow, and Sylvia Garcia– issued the following joint statement:
"Today's explosive revelation that President Trump personally told former National Security Advisor John Bolton that he would continue the freeze on military aid to Ukraine until that country agreed to his political investigations confirms what we already know. There can be no doubt now that Mr. Bolton directly contradicts the heart of the President's defense and therefore must be called as a witness at the impeachment trial of President Trump.
"Senators should insist that Mr. Bolton be called as a witness, and provide his notes and other relevant documents. The Senate trial must seek the full truth and Mr. Bolton has vital information to provide. There is no defensible reason to wait until his book is published, when the information he has to offer is critical to the most important decision Senators must now make — whether to convict the President of impeachable offenses.
"During our impeachment inquiry, the President blocked our request for Mr. Bolton's testimony. Now we see why. The President knows how devastating his testimony would be, and, according to the report, the White House has had a draft of his manuscript for review. President Trump's cover-up must come to an end.
"Americans know that a fair trial must include both the documents and witnesses blocked by the President - that starts with Mr. Bolton."
Sarah Tinsley, a Bolton spokeswoman, declined to comment on the accuracy of the report regarding the ambassador’s manuscript.
“The ambassador transmitted a hard-copy draft of his manuscript to the White House for pre-publication review by the National Security Council,” she said in an telephone interview.
“The ambassador has not passed the manuscript to anyone else, only the NSC.”
So another internal White House leak?
And this comes just hours after Schiff proclaimed magnanimously that while their witness calls were all relevant, White House lawyers' call for Hunter Biden as a witness would never stand, because he was "irrelevant."
Schiff told NBC's Chuck Todd that the president's defense "doesn't have the right" to call "irrelevant witnesses or witnesses who aren't fact witnesses" within the trial, again signaling that he is unwilling to trade testimony from Joe Biden's son, Hunter, in exchange for other administration witnesses.
“It’s not a question of what I’m afraid of. I’m not afraid of anything. It’s a question of: Should the trial be used as a vehicle to smear his opponent ... or is it to get to the truth?” Schiff added.
Which is odd given Ukraine's meddling in the 2016 election - which is a "debunked conspiracy theory" according to Schiff et al.
There's just one thing - it's not, as none other than Politico noted in Jan 2017...
Ukrainian government officials tried to help Hillary Clinton and undermine Trump by publicly questioning his fitness for office. They also disseminated documents implicating a top Trump aide in corruption and suggested they were investigating the matter, only to back away after the election. And they helped Clinton’s allies research damaging information on Trump and his advisers, a Politico investigation found.
So will there be a 'quid pro quo' or Biden's testimony for Bolton's testimony?
Trump on Wednesday told reporters in Davos, Switzerland, that he didn't want Bolton to testify before the Senate.
“The problem with John is it’s a national security problem," Trump said.
“He knows some of my thoughts. He knows what I think about leaders. What happens if he reveals what I think about a certain leader and it’s not very positive and then I have to deal on behalf of the country?”
“It's going to be very hard. It's going to make the job very hard.”
And cue the "Donald Trump is done" proclamations...