By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior Correspondent
The bombshell information from former National Security Advisor John Bolton that stunned the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump has added more intrigue to the proceedings, and Democrats are hopeful that it could finally force Republicans to agree to witness testimony.
“Republicans are afraid. I mean, they liked the far right-wing judges that Trump gives them, but they’re fearful of him,” Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) told NNPA Newswire.
“They are afraid of him calling them names and coming into their space and campaign against them. Fear, too often here, does the business,” Brown stated.
On Monday, January 27, the New York Times reported that a new book by Bolton scheduled for release in March revealed that the former national security adviser was told by Trump that he didn’t want to release military aid to Ukraine until that country helped with investigations that could hurt Democrats, particularly presidential candidate Joe Biden.
The Times reported that Charles Cooper, a lawyer for Bolton, said he provided a copy of Bolton’s new book to the White House just before the new year. Cooper reportedly said he wanted administration officials to review the book for classified information.
At the heart of the Democrats’ case for impeachment are allegations that Trump struck a quid-pro-quo agreement with Ukrainian officials to dig up dirt on Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.
In his book, “The Room Where It Happened,” The Times reports Bolton writes that Trump explicitly told him, “he wanted to continue freezing $391 million in security assistance to Ukraine until officials there helped with investigations into Democrats including the Bidens.”
Democrats have sought to call witnesses and submit documents during the impeachment trial, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), has steadfastly refused their requests.
With Bolton’s revelations, Democrats need just four of their Republican counterparts to vote in favor of witnesses, assuming that 10% of the Dems also vote in favor of witnesses.
“It’s clear that this is a sham trial if we don’t get witnesses, and John Bolton should be called,” Brown stated. “The president consistently says this is a witch hunt and then he says it’s all hearsay. Well, then let’s get people who were in the room, and we want to hear directly from those people who the president. Otherwise, it’s not a real trial,” he stated.
When asked about the role and power that Chief Justice John Roberts has over the impeachment trial, Brown said he doesn’t.
“It’s not just your readers that don’t understand what the chief justice does. The chief justice could basically sit there. I guess he thinks it’s his job,” Brown stated. “There is some discussion that if there’s a tie vote if we say have a 50 to 50 tie, on whether Bolton should testify, there’s some belief that the chief justice would break the tie. Some people think he wouldn’t. Nobody knows that.”
Brown added that he and others would like Roberts to decide on whether witnesses can be called. He said having witnesses could help find Trump guilty, or they could exonerate him. “The Democrats want the truth to come out. This would be better for the country,” Brown stated.
When prompted for his message to African Americans in light of the fact that the president has claimed success in lowering unemployment and providing other benefits, Brown stated that Black America and other minorities shouldn’t be fooled by Trump’s rhetoric of an “excellent economy” and his doing great things for African Americans.
“The facts are that [the booming economy] started with President Obama. This is the longest period of economic growth since the Second World War, and the first seven years or the first six started with Obama,” Brown stated.
“The economic growth under Obama’s last three years was higher than it’s been under Trump’s first three years. But, it doesn’t matter because the wages haven’t gone up.”
“I’m certainly glad for more jobs, but they’re often not good-paying jobs. Today, Trump is proposing cuts to disability and the SNAP program for, in many cases, people who are working or can’t eat or who can’t work because they’re disabled. At the end of it, the president is a bigot. He’s done everything that he can to suppress the vote, to divide the country, and he’s a racist. I think that overrides all of this.