The John Bolton bombshell has left a group of Senate Republicans who are building toward voting for documents and witnesses.
NBC News’s Geoff Bennett reported:
I have new reporting that I think adds new context that might be instructive when you hear folks like Mitt Romney and Susan Collins really use more words to say what they’ve already said. That they want to introduce or they at least want the Senate to consider introducing new witnesses and new evidence and Romney saying it’s likely that there will be Republican Senators joining with him to vote in support of that.
I’m told that Romney and Collins, what they’re trying to do is they’re trying to give cover for more Republicans to join with them. So for weeks we’ve talked about the four Republicans who will join with the Democrats to change their coalition of 47 into 51. They would probably need more than that. Nobody wants to be the 51st Senator.
They’re trying to allow time for a group of maybe six or seven, maybe even ten Republicans to be that group that would then tilt in favor of introducing witnesses and evidence. On the other side of that, I’ve also talked to staffers for Republican senators who are against introducing witnesses and they make the point that look, every day of news coverage in this Trump era is an eternity. This Senate is not poised to vote on the issue of witnesses potentially until Thursday or Friday. That’s an eternity times three or four. And so the hope is that the passage of time will allow for other developments, will allow for the so-called fever to break so by the time the Senate, if they make a determination on the witnesses, that this reporting about John Bolton will be in effect, old news.
According to NBC's Geoff Bennett, Sens. Romney and Collins are trying to give cover to a group of 6-7 and up to 10 Senate Republicans who want to vote for witnesses and documents. pic.twitter.com/s9CBqwFqxb
— Sarah Reese Jones (@PoliticusSarah) January 27, 2020
The only defense that the cover-up enabling Senators have is a hope that the Bolton story blows over before they vote on witnesses on Friday. During the 16 hours of questioning after Trump’s defense, it is almost certain that Democratic Senators are going to use their time to ask about John Bolton. The Bolton is story is more likely to mushroom than it is to blow over.
The sign that Republicans are serious about witnesses will come when McConnell sits down with Schumer to negotiate a deal on documents and witnesses. Until that happens, there is no certainty that witnesses will become a reality.
Senate Republicans are running out of places to hide, and if the choice is protecting Trump or their own seats, don’t be surprised if they toss Trump overboard in a heartbeat.
For more discussion about this story join our Rachel Maddow and MSNBC group.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a 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