Courtesy of NYT:
More than two months before he asked Ukraine’s president to investigate his political opponents, President Trump directed John R. Bolton, then his national security adviser, to help with his pressure campaign to extract damaging information on Democrats from Ukrainian officials, according to an unpublished manuscript by Mr. Bolton.
Mr. Trump gave the instruction, Mr. Bolton wrote, during an Oval Office conversation in early May that included the acting White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, the president’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani and the White House counsel, Pat A. Cipollone, who is now leading the president’s impeachment defense.
Mr. Trump told Mr. Bolton to call Volodymyr Zelensky, who had recently won election as president of Ukraine, to ensure Mr. Zelensky would meet with Mr. Giuliani, who was planning a trip to Ukraine to discuss the investigations that the president sought, in Mr. Bolton’s account. Mr. Bolton never made the call, he wrote.
The previously undisclosed directive that Mr. Bolton describes would be the earliest known instance of Mr. Trump seeking to harness the power of the United States government to advance his pressure campaign against Ukraine, as he later did on the July call with Mr. Zelensky that triggered a whistle-blower complaint and impeachment proceedings. House Democrats have accused him of abusing his authority and are arguing their case before senators in the impeachment trial of Mr. Trump, whose lawyers have said he did nothing wrong.
The account in Mr. Bolton’s manuscript portrays the most senior White House advisers as early witnesses in the effort that they have sought to distance the president from. And disclosure of the meeting underscores the kind of information Democrats were looking for in seeking testimony from his top advisers in their impeachment investigation, including Mr. Bolton and Mr. Mulvaney, only to be blocked by the White House.
I think it has been clear all along that Trump made no secret of his desire to damage the credibility of a potential Biden campaign, and that it was openly discussed with his senior administration officials from the get-go.
The article points out that Mick Mulvaney and White House lawyer Pat Cipollone were in that meeting, but it is highly unlikely that other key officials were not made aware of what was happening, if not by Trump himself then definitely by one of the witnesses.
That means that Mike Pompeo, Bill Barr, and Mike Pence absolutely knew what was up and they should be called as witnesses as well.
I would guess that this is why the Republicans voted against calling witnesses today.
They realized that once Bolton testified that it would lead to calls for just about everybody in the Trump Administration to testify.
It would have been a domino effect and then the GOP Senators would not have been able to protect their president.
Well I hope it was worth it, because history will not treat their cowardice lightly.