Several Senate Democrats are reportedly mulling a potential deal to exchange testimony from Hunter Biden for the testimony of former national security adviser John Bolton in the impeachment trial of President Trump.
While most Democrats want to prevent Biden from testifying during the trial, a small group of Senate Democrats have come to believe that allowing Biden to testify will help clear his name while securing the much-desired Bolton testimony in the process, the Washington Post reported Wednesday.
Last week during a meeting with GOP leadership, Senator Ted Cruz (R., Texas) posed the idea of a “witness reciprocity” to get both Hunter Biden and Bolton to testify. While some Democrats see a bluff to turn the attention away from Trump, both Biden’s campaign and the Democrat’s Senate leadership remain resistant to the idea.
“Biden and his people don’t want to give it credibility, so there is a stalemate right now, in terms of doing anything new,” a Biden associate told the Post on whether the former vice president or his son would testify.
It’s unclear how Biden’s opponents in the Democratic primary — senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren — would take to such a strategy, but other Democrats in the trial left open the possibility that a deal could be struck.
“If there are four Republicans who open the conversation about witnesses, then I assume there will be a negotiation that follows — but I can’t tell you where it goes,” Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D., Ill.) said when asked about a possible deal.
Montana Democrat Jon Tester said that while he thought Hunter Biden was immaterial to the case, “whether I’d make a trade or not, I’d have to think about it.”
Senator Sherrod Brown (D., Ohio) changed his tune on Tuesday and called the move a “typical Donald Trump-Mitch McConnell distraction,” despite saying Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union that he would be “fine” with Hunter Biden testifying.
Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown says he would be "fine" with Republicans calling Hunter Biden to testify: “We take a position that we want to hear from witnesses… I understand both sides get to call witnesses… I think many Republicans think that’s a distraction” #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/x0gWEybYqs
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) January 19, 2020
Speaking with reporters Wednesday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, President Trump said that he “would rather interview Bolton,” but said “it’s a national security problem.” The former national security adviser said earlier this month that he would be willing to testify if subpoenaed by the Senate.
Bolton, who left the White House in September, “knows some of my thoughts, what I think about leaders, what happens if he reveals what I think about a leader and it’s not very positive,” Trump said.
The president added that “I don’t know if we left on the best of terms, I would think probably not, you don’t like people testifying when they leave on the best of terms — and that was due to me, not due to him.”