The Corner

White House

The Smear Campaign against John Bolton

The substantive case against calling John Bolton as a witness has collapsed. What sense does it make to wait to hear what he has to say until his book comes out March 17, especially now that accounts of it have leaked? The president’s most ardent defenders are already out smearing him as a treacherous liar. But Bolton is an unvarnished truth-teller, to a fault. What he wrote in his book and whatever he’d say in any testimony would obviously be his best version of the facts. As we have said editorially and Andy has argued consistently, if the White House and its defenders conceded the facts of the Ukraine matter, they’d be in a much stronger position. Perhaps now White House lawyers and Republican senators will shift to this sounder ground, but Trump, who has tethered them to his implausible denials, is out blasting Bolton. It’s possible Senate Republicans gut it out and don’t call Bolton, but the chances of the trial extending have increased markedly over the last 24 hours.

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