New story up from the Washington Post: Senate Democrats privately mull witness trade in impeachment trial: A Biden for Bolton
Several Senate Democrats are privately discussing the possibility of calling Republicans’ bluff on witnesses, weighing an unusual trade in President Trump’s impeachment trial: the testimony of Hunter Biden for the testimony of a key administration official.
It doesn’t seem the leadership is involved yet:
In private conversations in recent days, there has been much loathing of the Republicans’ spotlight on the Bidens among Senate Democrats, but also a fear that unless a witness deal is eventually struck, the trial could proceed without witnesses, according to party officials and Senate aides.
That predicament has led to discussions about whether, down the line, Hunter Biden or Joe Biden should be considered as part of a witness proposal. But there is hesitancy to raise the issue publicly until Senate Democratic leaders signal interest, the officials and aides said.
On the Republican side, Ted Cruz has also suggested this:
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) initially floated the idea of a Hunter Biden-for-Bolton trade-off during a private GOP meeting last week. Since then, Hunter Biden’s potential testimony has emerged as a potential flash point as it becomes clear that Republicans are determined to either avoid witnesses altogether or seek to trade one witness for another.
Of course, the Bidens’ (father and/or son) testimony is irrelevant to whether Trump committed impeachable offenses. But…
1. This could be a way to get Bolton (and maybe one or two others) on the witness stand.
2. Trump, who has bought the right-wing conspiracy fable about the Bidens lock, stock, and barrel, dearly wants to see the Bidens (Joe in particular) under oath and cross-examination. He is convinced that Biden will be caught.
2. GOP Senators all know that Biden did nothing wrong (most of them were in the Senate when it agreed that Shokin needed to go, and they know Biden was sent there to make sure of it). They also know that the timeline backs up Biden. But they also know Trump wants this to happen.
3. Joe Biden served in the Senate for over 30 years, and knows how to handle himself there. (Hunter may be more of a wild card.) Cipollone and the others won’t lay a finger on him.
This might be the price we have to pay to get to hear from Bolton and a few others. Certainly the country wants to hear from him, and the GOP knows that, too.
I think McConnell is in for a rough time. Not for the first time in this farce, either; I just watched Schumer make mincemeat out of him.