Democrats were really excited yesterday when Bolton put out a statement saying he’d be willing to testify in the Senate impeachment trial should he be subpoenaed by the Senate. But McConnell and Republicans have no current plans to subpoena him, so Democrats sought the support of a few moderate Republicans to side with them on subpoenaing Bolton. But so far it’s not working out for them:
POLITICO – Despite John Bolton’s willingness to testify about the Ukraine scandal, the GOP-controlled Senate has no immediate plans to subpoena him in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial — a win for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the White House.
While Democrats have called for testimony from Trump’s former national security adviser, so far there’s no sign that they will secure support from four Republicans they would need to follow through on their demand.
Collins, Murkowski and Romney
In their bid for a “fair trial,” Democrats were hoping moderate Republicans like Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Mitt Romney of Utah will endorse their efforts to bring in Bolton and acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney to testify at the trial. They also want to subpoena documents related to the Ukraine scandal.
But on Monday, Collins and Murkowski both signaled they wanted to begin the trial first. “I believe that the Senate should follow the precedent that was established in the trial of President Clinton,” Collins said, echoing McConnell’s argument. “I think that we will decide at that stage who we need to hear from.”
Murkowski, when asked about a potential Bolton subpoena, said: “We’ve got to get to the first place first.”
Romney said he was open to hearing testimony from Bolton, but he stopped short of saying he would vote with Democrats to subpoena him. Romney acknowledged Bolton “has firsthand information” on the Ukraine scandal, and “assuming that articles of impeachment reach the Senate, I’d like to hear what he has to say.”
Even vulnerable Republicans, such as Cory Gardner of Colorado, who faces a competitive reelection race in 2020, expressed no interest in hearing from Bolton.
“Is Nancy going to send the articles over? She doesn’t seem to care?” said Gardner, referring to Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “You guys want to have a trial by Twitter but until she has the articles sent over there is no trial.”
Republicans have a narrow 53 seat majority, meaning if Democrats had prevailed to get all four of these Republicans to side with them they could subpoena Bolton. But as you can see most of them are clearly backing McConnell, with Romney’s remarks being the weakest of those reported. But I’m pretty sure he won’t buck McConnell on this either.