Kristol has been a lifelong conservative Republican, a neo-con who as a
rightwing gadfly in Washington helped kill Bill and Hillary’s healthcare plan
in the 1990s, and was a strong advocate of George W. Bush’s disastrous invasion
Kristol, for all his conservatism, was not a Trump fan—Trump, after all, was not a Republican–and has in fact been one of Trump’s harshest critics—harsh, that is, by Republican standards. He’s a favorite political commentator on MSNBC. Like his Republican counterpart Steve Schmidt, he takes pleasure in blasting away at a regime he considers corrupt. Kristol’s most recent move vis-à-vis Trump came last month, when he and other Republicans formed an organization called “Republicans for the Rule of Law” demanding that Trump permit the U.S. Senate to call witnesses in the upcoming Impeachment trial.
That was good. But yesterday, Kristol did something even better. In the midst of all this uncertainty about where Impeachment is headed, he made a startling prediction on Twitter:
happen: House sends over articles. Senate adopts McConnell’s rules on party
line vote, convenes as court of impeachment. House managers make case, show
need for witnesses, seek to call them. CJ Roberts agrees. His ruling upheld by
47 Dems + ~ 12 Reps. Bolton testifies.”
If you read my post yesterday, you’ll recall I was feeling despondent: Trump is winning the Impeachment game, I thought…McConnell is beating Pelosi…there won’t be witnesses…etc. Today, I’m more upbeat, and the reason is that Kristol has a pretty good feeling for Washington politics. His radar has often been accurate. So what does his Tweet mean?
Bolton—if you’ve been following this—has been central to the Democratic case for Impeachment. He was Trump’s National Security Advisor—one of the top posts in the administration—until he left that job; whether he was fired or quit is irrelevant. We knew from other sources that Bolton had been frustrated and infuriated by Trump withholding Congressionally-approved aide to Ukraine because Zelensky was dragging his feet about inventing dirt on the Bidens. (Bolton famously was said to have called bagman Giuliani’s involvement in the scheme “a drug deal”).
For weeks, Democrats wondered if they’d be able to get Bolton to testify in the House Impeachment inquiry. During that period, Bolton remained mute. It looked like he wouldn’t…then it looked like he might…no one knew. Then the other day, Bolton, in a statement, cleared the record: He will testify, he said, if subpoenaed.
was cheerful news to Democrats, although it led to the question of why he
hasn’t already been subpoenaed. The ostensible reason the House Democrats haven’t
already subpoenaed him was because Pelosi feared that process would take
months, and she was anxious to wrap things up by the end of 2019 or early in
2020. As for the Senate, it was unlikely McConnell would allow a Bolton subpoena.
Bottom line: No Bolton.
the context of Kristol’s tweet. It’s true that if McConnell has his way, there
will be no witnesses—including Bolton. But the wild card is the man who will be
presiding as Magistrate over the Trial, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court,
Roberts, like Bolton, is a conservative Republican, but you have to remember that he was the swing Justice responsible for some great Democratic victories: striking down California’s Proposition 8, which declared that marriage is the union of a man and a woman, and the Big Enchilada: legalization of gay marriage. Rightwing evangelicals went ballistic after SCOTUS’s 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges gay marriage ruling; they could hardly believe that a professed Christian like Roberts, who is Catholic, would side with the “homosexuals’…uncleanness [who] dishonor their bodies [and] exchange the truth of God for the lie,” in the immortal words of Franklin Graham….
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