Republican Senators are not digging looking like the Trump cheerleaders they behave as if they are, as Mitch McConnell is forced to put on the most obviously rigged impeachment trial in the history of the United States, because Trump is that guilty.
And it’s about to get even worse for them, as NBC News is reporting that if former national security adviser John Bolton is called to testify, President Trump will probably assert executive privilege, according to several Republicans.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) wants to call four witnesses, including former National Security Adviser John Bolton, White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and his chief deputy Robert Blair, and associate director of national security programs at the Office of Management and Budget Michael Duffy (OMD has determined that Trump’s actions regarding Ukraine violated federal law).
The Trump administration has told these officials they are not to cooperate with the impeachment inquiry, but former NSA John Bolton has said he would comply with a Senate subpoena to testify.
Sure, on the surface, a national security adviser and executive privilege would seem to go hand in hand, so this would normally not even be an issue. If ever there are secrets that shouldn’t get out, it would be in regards to our national security. Except in this case, Trump has jeopardized the United States’ national security and used the power of his office to try to extort a foreign country to help him cheat in an election — and as such, national security IS the issue. Or, rather, Trump undermining our national security and putting the U.S. at risk is the issue.
NBC notes that if Trump were to exert executive privilege, it would be unprecedented.
And here’s where it gets bad for vulnerable Republican senators and any senator who wishes to appear as if they might not be putting their country at risk for Trump: A majority of senators can decide what evidence can be heard by overruling or agreeing with Chief Justice Roberts.
The Republican senators up for re-election in 2020 are:
Alaska: Dan Sullivan
Arizona: Martha McSally (special election)
Arkansas: Tom Cotton
Colorado: Cory Gardner
Georgia: David Perdue
Idaho: Jim Risch
Iowa: Joni Ernst
Kansas: Pat Roberts
Kentucky: Mitch McConnell
Louisiana: Bill Cassidy
Maine: Susan Collins
Mississippi: Cindy Hyde-Smith
Montana: Steve Daines
Nebraska: Ben Sasse
North Carolina: Thom Tillis
Oklahoma: James Inhofe
South Carolina: Lindsey Graham
South Dakota: Mike Rounds
Texas: John Cornyn
West Virginia: Shelley Moore Capito
Former Congressmen David Jolly noted the hot seat into which Trump’s poor defense has placed Republican Senators:
If GOP Senators were hoping Trump's defense team would provide them a dignified and reasonable justification to acquit the President, it's clear that's not going to happen.
Senators are simply going to have to go full MAGA and own it in front of the nation.
Good luck with that.
— David Jolly (@DavidJollyFL) January 21, 2020
Full MAGA in front of the nation surely includes allowing Trump to assert executive privilege to stop his former national security adviser from testifying over a national security issue.
There’s nothing like letting America’s democracy burn to really seal a Republican legacy for this crop of Senators.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.