Senate Democrats are considering calling the Republican bluff on witnesses by offering to swap Joe or Hunter Biden’s testimony for John Bolton’s.
Several Senate Democrats are privately discussing the possibility of calling Republicans’ bluff on witnesses, weighing an unusual trade in President Trump’s impeachment trial: the testimony of Hunter Biden for the testimony of a key administration official.
Behind closed doors, a small group of Democratic senators and aides have begun to question that logic, sounding out their colleagues on whether they should back a witness deal that could lead to testimony from former national security adviser John Bolton or other administration officials with possible firsthand knowledge of the Ukraine controversy, according to multiple Democratic officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the private discussions.
These Democrats said they believe having Hunter — or possibly Joe Biden — testify could backfire on Trump and the GOP, giving Biden and the party a platform to strike back and paint Republicans and the White House as obsessed with trying to damage one of Trump’s 2020 presidential rivals.
The Biden that Republicans are likely to get would be Joe Biden, who would eat them alive if he was allowed to return to his old Senate stomping grounds. Trump would go ballistic if he thought that there was a possibility of getting Joe or Hunter Biden to testify. The pressure on Senate Republicans to agree to such a deal would be immense.
The deal would be loaded with landmines for Republicans. John Bolton isn’t a Trumper and he is not going to commit felony perjury for Donald Trump. Secondly, giving Joe Biden a national platform by having him testify would almost certainly hurt Republicans in the general election.
It is a gutsy move that reveals Democrats as playing for keeps at this trial. There are enough Senators willing to vote for witnesses to make the swap a potential reality. Democrats are setting Trump up, and if he falls into their trap, it could make him a one-term president.
For more discussion about this story join our Rachel Maddow and MSNBC group.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association