You knew this was coming. In fact, I put this tweet up last night.
So what's the "bombshell" gonna be tonight that's leaked in order to try to blow up tomorrow's ending of impeachment?
— Bonchie (@bonchieredstate) January 30, 2020
Well, it’s here. The New York Times has released yet another anonymous description of a supposed passage from John Bolton’s book. Certain “conservative” voices who’ve been all in on impeachment from the beginning are now running with this. Here’s MSNBC’s Noah Rothman posting an excerpt from the Times article.
"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.." https://t.co/PYiRNRCx1z
— Noah Rothman (@NoahCRothman) January 31, 2020
As usual, there’s a lot of vague editoralizing going on in the article. The Times, for example, claims that Trump was trying to “extract damaging information on Democrats,” as if it’s proven that was the sole motive.
"President Trump directed John R. Bolton … to help with his pressure campaign to extract damaging information on Democrats from Ukrainian officials, according to an unpublished manuscript by Mr. Bolton." https://t.co/GB76rtDovW pic.twitter.com/yviEGEaDVN
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) January 31, 2020
The problem with that claim is that it frames that fact that Democrats might be corrupt as an excuse to not investigate corruption. Nowhere in this latest “bombshell” is it stipulated that Trump wanted to “get Joe Biden” or any other such claim centering on the 2020 election. Again, notice the vague descriptors being used. They don’t mention Joe Biden specifically because it appears that Trump never mentioned Joe Biden in this exchange. If he did, that’d be the first thing written in the description of the passage. This is the same tact the Times took on Saturday with the initial “bombshell,” in which the description was that Trump wanted information for the “Russia investigation.”
What we have here is a desperate ploy to try to blow up the end of the impeachment trial. There’s nothing actually new or noteworthy, and in fact, the vagueness of how this is being reported actually points to Trump not citing a political motive for these investigations to Bolton. There’s a reason Bolton isn’t speaking publicly and that we aren’t getting real quotes from his book in these leaks. It likely has to do with not tamping down the hype that’s currently driving sales.
It doesn’t look like this is going to change anything though, as Sen. Murkowski announced shortly after the Times’ report dropped that she’s voting no on more witnesses. This is over and no amount of tortured, last minute gamesmanship is going to change that.