Publisher's note: This informational nugget was sent to me by Ben Shapiro, who represents the Daily Wire, and since this is one of the most topical news events, it should be published on BCN.
The author of this post is Ben Shapiro.
On Monday, former National Security Advisor John Bolton threw the media into a tizzy with a simple announcement: he would testify before the Senate, he said, if subpoenaed. The media responded with two predictable reactions. First, they suggested that Bolton had somehow undercut his own case with regard to not testifying before Congress; second, they suggested that Bolton was now preparing to scuttle Trump. Both reactions were premature.
First, Bolton did not undermine his own actions with regard to the House of Representatives. According to Democrats
, Bolton had stated back in November, through his lawyer, that if subpoenaed, he would join a lawsuit by one of his aides, Charles Kupperman, seeking a judgment from a court as to whether he would be violating executive privilege by testifying before Congress. Congress refused to subpoena Bolton at all, instead moving forward with impeachment without his testimony. After Congress moved forward, Kupperman's lawsuit became moot. This prompted a statement from Bolton
- The House has concluded its Constitutional responsibility by adopting Articles of Impeachment related to the Ukraine matter. It now falls to the Senate to fulfill its Constitutional obligation to try impeachments, and it does not appear possible that a final judicial resolution of the still-unanswered Constitutional questions can be obtained before the Senate acts. Accordingly, since my testimony is once again at issue, I have had to resolve the serious competing issues as best I could, based on careful consideration and study. I have concluded that, if the Senate issues a subpoena for my testimony, I am prepared to testify.
This is not inconsistent. In the case of the House, the judiciary had time to weigh in with regard to an executive privilege claim; the same is not true in a Senate trial. Even in the Senate, the White House might sue to quash to subpoena, which would take Bolton off the hook. So nothing much has changed here - except when it comes to public perception.
Which brings us to narrative #2: the supposed Bolton turn against Trump. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is attempting to use Bolton's statement that way:
Procedurally, Bolton's statement changes nothing. Senate Majority Leader McConnell is in charge. Pelosi is not. She has no tools at her advantage to use against him. If the House had wanted Bolton's testimony, they had plenty of time to go through the process. They didn't.
But Bolton's statement obviously cuts against Trump's interests - it does make the Senate look as though they're dismissing the charges without hearing a relevant witness, which serves the interest of Democrats. That's Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer's pitch: "Will the United States Senate conduct a fair impeachment trial of the president of the United States? Will we search for all of the facts, or will we look for a coverup, a sham trial, on one of the most important powers the Founding Fathers gave the American people?"
Unless Bolton is planning not to give the Democrats what they want. Which they might already know, and which would explain why Democrats didn't go through the process to subpoena Bolton in the House.
Here's the bottom line: we don't know what Bolton is planning to say. Some of the Republican Senators - Collins, Murkowski, and Romney most prominently - have hinted that they'd like to hear from Bolton. Most Americans would. But we're still a few weeks away from all of that. And McConnell is under no obligation to do Pelosi's dirty work when she refused to even run the House impeachment investigations with any semblance of propriety.