Could Bolton's Manuscript Lead to Witnesses?

McConnell says GOP lacks votes to block witnesses

Tom Puckett
January 29, 2020 - 4:00 am

Buffalo, NY (WBEN) Former national security adviser John Bolton's book raised the questions of witnesses possibly being called into the impeachment trial. It's a possibility polling suggests a majority of Americans want, but one area congressman says that shouldn't be the case.

The book contains an account of an August conversation in which Bolton says Trump told him that he wanted to withhold hundreds of millions of dollars in security aid from Ukraine until it helped him with investigations into political rival Joe Biden. Trump's defense team closed their opening arguments saying Trump never tied withholding military aid until it helped in a Biden investigation.

Congressman Tom Reed says it's not appropriate for him to determine whether witnesses should be called. "The senators will have all the information before them to make a decision. All I control is my record on impeachment in the House of Representatives, and I am opposed to this impeachment," says Reed. But Reed says if Bolton was so important, he should have been called as a witness during the impeachment inquiry.

Reed says there's no need for removal. "Based on what was presented, based on the arguments for removal of the president, I don't see the smoking gun evidence of an impeachable offense that warrants removal of the president of the United States," says Reed. "I don't even know if that's a 100 percent accurate representation of the entire manuscript, that's why this should have all been vetted in the House. They should have had those questions asked before they went down this path."

UB Political Science Professor Jacob Neiheisel says Trump's defense team did what it could. "In particular, (Alan) Dershowitz's arguments probably did what they had to do. I think in the court of public opinion, it's providing arguments for Trump supporters, and I think the same holds true for senators in that room who he needs to convince," says Neiheisel.

With the manuscript leaking out, Neiheisel says some senators are thinking about requesting witnesses with the likelihood increasing over the past day. But is it a smoking gun? "In terms of final vote, it won't be determinative in any way. It ust comes from a different source, and in this arena a more credible one," says Neiheisel. "I see that's the truly damaging part. The fact it corroborates other things out there," he adds.

Neiheisel says will it lead to witnesses? He says there's a glimmer of hope but "I think the only refuge left is for Republicans to say you have the book, you don't need Bolton anymore, and you don't need Bolton to come in and bring more fodder for the Democrats."

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