Why Having Hunter Biden Testify Would Be Bad for Trump

If it means John Bolton would also testify in the impeachment trial, it could help the Democrats.

Comments: 257

  1. Mitch and Company are going to end this thing Friday. If they do, will you take to the streets or just watch the game Sunday?

  2. @Bill M Mitch and Co. could care less if you or anyone outside of their Trump-loving base takes to the streets. That's because the "pugnacans" have gerrymandered their districts so that only the MAGA voices are heard. Sure, there are outlier districts like Susan Collins,' but most just want this thing over so that they can go back to "winning."

  3. @MJ Just to be clear, gerrymandering has no impact on Senate races as they are all statewide races. Unless of course they have started gerrymandering state lines in which case we have a bigger problem.

  4. I'll be taking a knee in the streets of Philadelphia, thanks the inspiration. Go Niners!

  5. People keep assuming there will be an epiphany if enough Trumpists receive enough information. It hasn’t and won’t work; they’ll just change the goal line again.

  6. @Les The senate needs to get this done because Trump has a big victory ad for the Super Bowl. God forbid that the media buy looks premature. So glad that Bloomberg has an ad too.

  7. @Les Yes however , this drama is being played out in the court of public opinion as well. In that case, a Bolton/ Biden testimony might be a logjam breaker.

  8. @Les This is true but this whole process puts these people on the record. Eventually the Trump Show is going to end in tears. This President is unpopular in spite of a strong economy; when recession comes - as it always does, sooner or later - he’ll go down hard and marked as a failure. Then’s when individual Republicans will be judged by how complicit they were in Trump’s most egregious doings. This is why Republican Senators don’t want to call witnesses — they know testimony will just raise their personal long-term cost for voting to acquit.

  9. The Republican Senators loyalty to Trump is based on fear not respect. If Bolton's testimony threatens their re-election prospects they will fold.

  10. But not only fear. Don't forget greed, hunger for power, and a total lack of integrity.

  11. It's a fear for their job. is as of they think they can't do anything else but be a government employee. This situation provides a good reason for term limits.

  12. @Dave No, no, no - term limits are no solution. Look at states where term limits have been put in place - lobbyists and big donors have MORE influence because they can more easily manipulate neophyte legislators. Term limits is the cop out answer for those who don't want to grapple with the real solutions - which would include strict limits on campaign money, for starters. With term limits we wound have Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff.

  13. Been considering this as well and think Joe Biden should turn the tables, get out in front of this and publicly (and valiantly) offer to testify. If the offer is made with humility, grace and honesty, who knows?

  14. @CTA If he *did* end up testifying, it would also cause Democrats to rally around him and help him in the primary. It would be a smart move for him right now.

  15. @Ludwig Hmm.. well their have been investigations of this that turned up nothing (note the complete lack of any concern about him on the part of Republicans until he became a viable candidate in 2019) - so what information do you have that ma be relevant?

  16. @Ludwig: Of course biden is hiding something. He was obama's point man for Ukraine and hunter used biden's influence to get a purely ceremonial, highly paid, position on the board of a corrupt company. Then biden sr. again used his influence to stop an investigation of said corruption. Biden's brother also used the vice-president's influence to get government loans for his businesses.

  17. I agree with some of what Ms. Drew says, but I must disagree with this statement: "Having Joe Biden’s son testify would illuminate the Bidens’ irrelevance to the issue of whether the president held up congressionally appropriated military assistance for Ukraine until the Ukrainian president announced..," Actually, Biden's testimony would do nothing more than muddy the waters, and provide Republicans more air time to blather on about their groundless claims. And they would do the false equivalency dance here, too, and somehow place half the blame for Trump's crimes on Biden. Now, of course none of this is true. But Trump's voters won't care, and these lies would give them further justification for supporting this tyrant. And the Republicans learned a powerful lesson from their Benghazi hearings -- it matters not at all if the person testifying is totally innocent of any wrongdoing. Just the fact that Republicans get the chance to smear people, in an order to discredit them or hurt them politically, is enough to hurt them. Having Biden testify would not backfire on Trump. His rabid base could simply latch on to the "both sides" discredited trope as a justification for their continued support. The fact is, Democrats gain nothing by having Biden testify. And to do so would only provide Republicans more ammunition to spread their lies -- a strategy that they've perfected to a high art in 2020.

  18. @Orion Clemens ....remember this has nothing to do with trump’s supporters...they are a lost cause and all 35% of them will vote for trump no matter what he does. It’s all about the independents, and only the ones in the few tossup states.

  19. @Orion Clemens " His rabid base " Is it really impossible for you to show a little respect for fellow citizens who happen to have different political opinions from yours?

  20. @Orion Clemens True - Republicans are still crying "Benghazi" even though Hillary has been exonerated _by Republicans investigations - multiple times.

  21. I don't know if both Hunter Biden and Bolton testifying would be better for Democrats or better for Republicans. But I don't care because I think it would be great for the American public and I am non-partisan. I wish Trump would be impeached but it has long appeared that is just not going to occur. But at least the American people should know more rather than less about Trump's corruption. Therefore, hearing Bolton's testimony is a service to the people. Hunter Biden was paid a lot of cash by a foreign entity to do next to nothing....except be the son of the sitting Vice President. To any sensible people (that leaves out ultra-partisans), the whole affair just stinks of corruption, the same type of corruption rampant among the politicians of both parties. Therefore, hearing Hunter's testimony is a service to the people. More light on the corruption of all politicians is a service to the people.

  22. @Errol "I wish Trump would be impeached but it has long appeared that is just not going to occur." Trump *has* been impeached, and will be so forever in the history books. He is unlikely to be convicted and removed by the Senate, however.

  23. @chrisanthemama - Thanks for making this clarification, but take it a little easy on Errol. Even the professionals in the news media continue to have trouble with this distinction, and they keep talking about things like IF Trump is impeached. Guys, he already has been impeached.

  24. @Errol : "To any sensible people (that leaves out ultra-partisans), the whole affair just stinks of corruption, the same type of corruption rampant among the politicians of both parties." No. I'm a sensible person, and I know that some pols aren't corrupt; some are a little; and some are a lot. There were a few GOPs back in the day whom I trusted, and if their offspring had made the same lousy choice that Hunter Biden did, I'd grimace but know that the pol wasn't buy-able -- or at least not buy-able by some Eastern European kleptocracy. (Buy-able by the fossil-fuel industry, the NRA, Big Pharma -- that's another column.) Among them: William Weld (now an indep.), Lincoln Chafee (now an indep.), Bob Dole, Susan Collins pre-2016, and Olympia Snowe. I'd have to look at lists of former reps. and sens. to round that out. To write of "the corruption of all politicians" is to engage in silly talk, to obscure the actual issues we have to face and fight, and to dishonor the many good public services now in Congress. And if you want to see more, then vote D, nor R. And I'm not hyper-partisan -- what I am is more aware of Congress, and its inhabitants, than most people because I used to work for a legislative-tracking service.

  25. Elizabeth Drew might be right, but I wonder whether the Democrats would benefit at all from Bolton testimony. It’s not clear what exactly Bolton would say, even though we all think we know. I think Democrats should hope Republicans DON’T agree to witnesses. 75% of Americans are in favor of calling witnesses, and Republicans refusal to call them makes them look obstructionist—which of course they are.

  26. @Carol What if Bolton turns out to be just someone with a strong opinion about what he believes are the president's missteps? The odds of his having "bombshell" testimony are just not that high.

  27. @AACNY Much of the defense arguments have been based on what they consider 'hearsay'. Bolton can attest to what he heard firsthand and validate what others like Hill testified to. Also he is highly regarded as a partisan Republican. Any views as to 'missteps' would hold a lot of weight with those that claim the impeachment is only a Democratic partisan plan to get Trump out of office.

  28. @AACNY Risible. Why then are the Republicans fighting so hard to keep him from testifying? He's been around long and prominently enough for both the Republicans and Democrats to know what he represents. Still, Carol makes an excellent point, it's good the public can see their absurd efforts to acquit the corrupt narcissist in the White House.

  29. Maybe. But how do we know that Hunter Biden will make a good witness? This would be the most high-profile questioning since we got a glimpse into the circus that was Judge Ito's court during the OJ trial. Honestly, I'm conflicted. It's clear that the Republicans are cynical and trying desperately to change the subject. Perhaps Hunter Biden going before the nation and laying everything out would be salutary. Then again, they may be laying a trap, looking to stick a knife in on prime time.

  30. @del Hunter Biden already did a "mea culpa" tv interview. It wasn't encouraging.

  31. There will be no witnesses called. Republicans want to get this over with quickly and want nothing to stand in the way. They have determined that they will face less blowback for not calling witnesses than they would face from having Bolton testify. Between Ken Starr and Alan Dershowitz, and their positions since the Clinton impeachment, there has been enough hypocrisy to overwhelm even that of the Republican Senators. For the Senators up for re-election, most, if not all, will vote against witnesses because they fear being primaried more than they fear losing the general election.

  32. @Kayemtee And the democrats want to drag this out until November. McConnell should assert control and call a vote.

  33. This argument would be quite cogent if we were looking at more credible participants. But the Republican Senate is simply going through the motions, with no willingness to take impeachment seriously, no matter who testifies. And Trump himself has been desperate to pretend that the scandal is about the Biden’s (supposed) corruption, not his own abuse of power. Hunter testifying would play into Trump’s contrived narrative and deflect from Trump going into this year’s election.

  34. I have invested a lot of time into the hearings/trial in the senate. What I have heard is that it doesn’t matter. The president is above the law and it doesn’t matter that he cheats to win. He is the president. If he believes he is the self anointed prince then he can do anything. Whatever the president believes is the law. I want all presidents to have a psychiatric evaluation before election and an annual evaluation.

  35. @Lake trash We are finding a troublesome aspect of our constitution, that the impeachment part is a little wonky and is problematic if the senate is in lockstep with the president. In fact, Trump is showing us pretty much everything that is wonky with our constitution and government rules. I guess we have been lucky to have had presidents who were playing by the rules for the most part. We are seeing that we could end up with a pretty bad actor (already have really) and our country could go down the tubes quickly. I thought we were immune to that, but we're not. We've just been very fortunate so far...

  36. @Lake trash You think a psych eval would stop Trump? Remember that his physician has described him as... "There's no indication that he has any kind of cognitive issues," Jackson said. "On a day-to-day basis, it has been my experience the president is very sharp -- very articulate when he speaks to me." Jackson praised the president for having good genes and said Trump scored a perfect 30 out of 30 on the Montreal Cognitive Assessment aimed at detecting mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease. "Some people have just great genes," Jackson said. "I told the president that if he had a healthier diet over the last 20 years, he might live to be 200 years old. I don't know." Oh great, he's very sane, very smart, and able to speak perfectly!

  37. @Lake trash And just who is gonna force him to take an examination? Congress has the power to check the President's power. When they chose not to, you get what we've got now.

  38. It makes no sense to me why the GOP senators have to strike any kind of a deal with the Dems. They need 51 senators to decide all matters pertaining to witnesses. They don’t need anything or any deals with the Dems. If they don’t want Bolton then Bolton will not be a witness.

  39. @Dog girl I suspect that McConnell will allow democrats their big "We need more witnesses" campaign for the week and vote to end it. It's clear democrats just want to drag this out until November. I would support McConnell's ending this after the Q&A session. I'm not interested in hearing from any more disgruntled bureaucrats who disagreed with the president's foreign policy.

  40. @AACNY And what foreign policy would that be, carried out by Giuliani/Parnas/Fruman et al.? U.S. foreign policy is generally carried out by the State Department, not a collection of randos; who in this case were explicitly representing trump as his "personal counsel" and his go-fers, on trump's personal errand to influence the 2020 election. Not foreign policy, at all.

  41. @Dog girl They certainly can go without witnesses, but that would be widely viewed as a sham trial and a dereliction of duty, not a very uplifting accusation in a presidential election year.

  42. Of course they don't want Hunter Biden as a witness. If they did, they would've called him already - they don't need to strike a deal with the Democrats to do so. They know that any and all witnesses would be bad for Trump.

  43. @Laura As the writer says, call their bluff. With 75 percent of the US wanting to hear witnesses, if they say 'no' to Hunter Biden, then they continue to lose credibility, not that there's much to lose, Some of the evidence thus presented might be complicated for some to understand, but double talk such as 'call Biden, don't call Biden' is clear.

  44. Apparently nothing is bad for “trump”. Not pursuing Biden is merely showing how much none of this impeachment trial is respected by them. The just want to get on with the new authoritarian state. They can pick Biden off the street later if they still decide to go after political enemies.

  45. @Laura Thank you. You saved me the trouble.

  46. Should Hunter Biden testify, he should begin and end each answer by stating, "while i have no relevant knowledge as to why mr trump solicited an investigation from Ukraine and withheld aid, I am pleased to offer a truthful response to your question"

  47. That is inspired. This would be absolutely perfect. I hope it can happen!

  48. I doubt that any witnesses will be called. But if they are and Hunter Biden is one of them the President’s lawyers will ask questions that will be the sound bites in attack ads if Biden gets the nomination. Or it will result in Biden not getting the nomination so that Trump can play the Marxism card on Sanders or Warren.

  49. @John Graybeard Sanders plays his own Marxism card. The (soon to be removed) "Democratic" prefix on the Socialism still leaves "Socialism" as a substitute for how Sanders actually thinks. His hatred for the wealthy is far out in front of his love of the poor. He's of the "tax the rich, feed the poor, until there are no rich no more" variety. Warren, on the other hand, until she recently prostrated herself in awkward woke positions, is a true firebrand reformer, an actual liberal (with her own flaws of ambition, sure). She can point to the fact that she had been a Republican and that her interest is truly in major reforms, while understanding just how great an engine of wealth the underlying system is.

  50. @tew The ambition to serve the country well, and all its people, is a worthy ambition.

  51. @Ambroisine Ambition without skill or a real track record, while admirable, is not all that valuable.

  52. "It’s odd that after three years of a Trump administration, Republicans didn’t foresee the danger in putting their political careers in the hands of a man who’s out solely for himself and has a very distant relationship with the truth." It has been suggested that the Trump presidency constitutes, in effect, a stress test for our system of government. Stress tests are usually conceptual tests to determine the weaknesses in a system in order to strengthen it. Thus the Trump presidency is not a stress test in a conventional sense. It is more like a potentially destructive test. Republicans have been encouraged by what has happened so far - the system has been stressed but has not been destroyed. I think they are ready to stress the system further to see how much further they can go to bend rhe system to their own advantage before it begins to fall apart. Perhaps they reckon that the system is stronger than it is thought to be. Perhaps they don't care all that much about its eventual failure.

  53. @Partha Neogy It's not that the system has not been destroyed, it's that they are still in power after all the damage they have done to the system. In other words, they're getting away with it. That's encouraging enough. But then, yes, keep pushing. Failure of the system is the goal.

  54. @Partha Neogy : The problem with pushing something to its extreme, in order to see just how much one can get away with, is that many broken things can't be returned to anything resembling their original state. Such as a glass vase shattered to smithereens, or a democracy that becomes an autocracy.

  55. The 'jury' is the Senate and the majority of them are Republicans. Many of them declared the outcome before impeachment reached the Senate. If a potential juror in a criminal court told the court that she/he had already decided the defendant isn't guilty... well, it would be a good way to get out of jury duty. But in the Senate, where we would hope for fair and impartial judgement, we have anything but. If Hunter Biden is subpoenaed, I think he should appear in order to show that subpoenas can't be ignored or avoided. I don't think that he or Bolton will change the minds of Senators or voters.

  56. I agree that Hunter Biden's testimony could backfire on the Republicans, but they would still build a lot of false claims and innuendo around it. Here's why. They can rake Hunter over the coals for using his family name to get the job, and that would look bad. But it's not really relevant to the matter at hand. What might be relevant is the actions of Ukraine's prosecutor or VP Biden. But Hunter is not likely going to shed much light on that. He wouldn't have first-hand knowledge of prosecutors pursuit of the case. He wouldn't have first-hand knowledge of VP Biden's conversations with Ukraine or other nations who wanted Shokin fired. So Hunter would leave a lot of holes in the narrative, and the Republicans would fill them in with speculation and innuendo. To the extent this makes good campaign speech material or provides the spin they need with the public, it would serve their needs, just like the rest of the ridiculous theories they're espousing.

  57. @Ken L They can hardly raise the issue of getting a job based on a family name.

  58. It matters little whether John Bolton and Hunter Biden testify. It's questionable if Hunter Biden is an asset to the Republicans. They know that all investigations thus far have not revealed any wrongdoing. Republicans may be able to tease out some embarrassing tidbits, but they run the danger that a well rehearsed Biden may turn tables on them and effectively point to the vast profits, influential and monetary, Trump's family members are amassing by being insiders in his administration, a topic Republicans have shied away from criticizing as inappropriate and likely illegal. Republicans surely know this and feigned using Hunter as a potential deterrent against Democrats insisting that Bolton and others testify, yet vehemently refusing Hunter to be a witness. If the Democrats were to agree, I am sure the Republicans would vote against any witnesses, or change their tune an call for the whistleblower to testify. Actually, if no witnesses are called and Trump is vindicated, the Democrats have ample ammunition to continually expose the Republican sham trial for the rest of the election year. An effective weapon as the latest poll shows 75% of the electorate, including 49% Republican voters, favor having witnesses called. And one must not forget that the rabbit is out of the hole and Bolton's book will be published before elections.

  59. Hmm. What if Hunter actually knew what he was doing as opposed to Trump's kids. He was on the Board of Amtrak- appointed by George W. Bush . He had extensive experience in investments and he worked for several prestigious law firms. And he can testify as to what it was like to lose a mother, a sister, and a brother. A son talking about losing his mother is pretty powerful.

  60. @JoeG Thanks for your thoughts here...I have been wondering why it is rarely mentioned that Hunter Biden, unlike the Trump kids, is an Ivy League educated attorney. Serving on boards is what notable, educated people are frequently asked to do! Why do so many congressmen hang on in their public service jobs? It's definitely not for the annual salary since most congressmen are already wealthy in comparison to the average citizen. It's for the prospect of ultimately becoming a lobbyist for BIG corporate bucks

  61. I've been saying this for weeks now and this is the first opinion piece that comes close to getting it. Joe Biden by not talking about this issue; the nepotism and what it gives the Republicans in terms of assumptions and innuendo has been a huge mistake on his part and I think for that reason alone he is'toast' and can't beat Trump. If Joe and Hunter both just announced-loudly-'Sure, we'd love to come in and testify' they would blow the whole Republican argument out of the room. Call there bluff; The Bidens opens the door for Bolton, Mulvany, Parnas, Giuliani;who knows. Biden would look better than he does now.

  62. Trumps accusation of nepotism on Bidens' part should be easy to fend off. All Biden would have to do is counter attack with all the known facts of trumps' spawn and spawn in law enriching themselves at govt. expense.javanka made a net increase of 81 million over 2 years that alone should raise the eyebrows of anyone not in the tank for trumper.

  63. @Babydave24 Agree 100%

  64. @Babydave24 Even though Trump's nepotism trumps Biden's. But his supporters are blind to reality, so it doesn't matter.

  65. Aside for the fact that the Republican machine could have called him to testify any time they wanted to... but I've got the feeling – noting the way Biden and his son clearly are devoted to each other – that the only reason Hunter hasn't already offered to do so is his father protectively asked him not to. Hunter may have made a mistake most of us would of also made to accept the seductive offer, especially around the time of his brother's death, but it is clear Hunter Biden is as fine a man as his Dad is.

  66. @Mighty Xee Sure, a 'fine man'. Tooling around in a brand new 125K Porsche with his pregnant wife and living in digs that run $12,000/ month in rent, while the mother of his child he said wasn't his until the DNA test said it was has had to take him to court to get any kind of child support, which Hunter said he couldn't provide because he was so broke. Truly a great guy.

  67. Trial attorneys know trial strategy and they know not to call adverse witnesses who are bent on undermining their case unless they have no choice. If Republicans call Hunter Biden, he’ll do all he can to hurt Trump. For them, he’s an adverse witness. Calling him has a huge down side and little benefit. The chances that the GOP will call Hunter Biden are slim and none. If he is called, he almost surely will do what he can to help the Dems because that is just what he wants to do. The article assumes the exact opposite and makes no sense.

  68. It’s the Republicans-who have made him an issue and have called for his appearing.

  69. The Republican Senators will all vote to acquit Trump and there is no chance of otherwise, regardless of how well corroborated testimony and documents show his guilt. So why not allow witnesses and documents? Trump’s base puts no credibility in the entire production and they probably aren’t even watching. With all the subpoenas answered, he will show perfect transparency, his lawyers’ arguments will be agreed to, and he will demonstrate how he shot someone on 5th Avenue and got away with it.

  70. @PoDoc This defeatest attitude means the Republican's strategy has won out, and influenced you to throw in the towel, and early I might add. Of course hearing any witnesses, if properly questioned and indeed told the truth, would allow the most important people, who are not the senators but us, to hear the facts. Why this obvious need eludes you is a bit of a mystery, and one that almost all critically thinking citizens yearn for.

  71. At this point in the day it seems as if this might turn out to be an academic discussion, as possible Republican support for calling any witnesses seems to be dwindling again. However, if it were to happen, Ms. Drew is astute to anticipate that it could backfire on the Republicans. People tend to forget exactly what it was that triggered Joseph Welch's famous outburst during the Army-McCarthy hearings: "Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?" This didn't come out of the void - McCarthy had just started in to slur a young lawyer in Welch's office who had nothing to do with the subject of the hearing. Welch rose to his defense, and when McCarthy continued on, Welch preceded his famous words with these: "Let us not assassinate this lad further, Senator; you've done enough." It was the gratuitous cruelty of it that Welch decided he had had enough of, and calling McCarthy out for it made it apparent for the whole country to see. on live TV no less. Can we even recognize such a situation today? I wouldn't wish an hour in front of Trump's defense team on anyone, but perhaps there is a small chance that it might offer the moment of clarity that has thus far never seemed to come.

  72. @Bill Levine Couldn't agree more. But times have changed in this regard. Even in the Nixon impeachment debate, both parties made constructive efforts, and there was great regret on the part of some republicans to support impeachment but support it they did on principle. Today? No such moral compass exists for them.

  73. @Bill Levine I do not see a single shred of decency in the Republican party. I grieve for my country. We are watching its demise.

  74. @Bill Levine I should perhaps clarify that I am not looking for a sudden appearance of decency from the Republican Senators, but someplace outside the Beltway where the whole American public lives.

  75. “A multitude of investigations of his arrangements with Burisma have turned up no wrongdoing on Hunters part” , by who and when. I have searched Google, using every query I could think of, and can’t find one. Only diplomats and politicians claiming they found no evidence of wrongdoing. Not even by the Ukraine. Those are not investigations. Will the author, or someone show me a reference to a formal investigation, and any report that claims to debunk any of the allegations about Hunter and Joe. Just one.

  76. @Jay (also, too) It would be nice if the NYT provided us with the etymology and precise meaning of 'debunked', which keeps getting tossed around like a Real Legal Reference.

  77. @Jay Here you go: "...In 2014, Hunter joined the board of Burisma, which was then mired in a corruption scandal. Authorities in Ukraine, Britain and the United States had opened investigations into the company’s operations. Mr. Zlochevsky [the oligarch who owns Burisma] had also been accused of marshaling government contracts to companies he owned and embezzling public money. ... "A year later, Viktor Shokin became Ukraine’s prosecutor general, a job similar to the attorney general in the United States. He vowed to keep investigating Burisma amid an international push to root out corruption in Ukraine. "But the investigation went dormant under Mr. Shokin. In the fall of 2015, Joe Biden joined the chorus of Western officials calling for Mr. Shokin’s ouster. The next March, Mr. Shokin was fired. A subsequent prosecutor cleared Mr. Zlochevsky. "Mr. Biden took credit for the firing of Mr. Shokin as a foreign policy win during a talk at the Council on Foreign Relations in January 2018, when he boasted about holding up a loan guarantee to Ukraine until Mr. Shokin was removed..." https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/29/business/media/fact-check-biden-ukraine-burisma-china-hunter.html

  78. @Jay: Phantom investigations destroy reputations just as real ones do.

  79. Counter the Hunter-for-Bolton trade proposal adding one or more of the Trump adult children trading on their father’s name. Then ask them about corruption.

  80. @Matt Polsky Yes it's amazing that no one has thought of this. And Hunter Biden was never representing the American people or in government, rather he got a cushy job because of his father's position. Does that sound familiar?? Nepotism, unfair as it is, is rampant in our society and just about everywhere. It's frustrating but it's not illegal.

  81. @Matt Polsky If you can tie Trump's children to Ukraine your argument might make sense. Ukraine's corruption is at the core of the president's defense. Both Bidens could be called to testify about corruption there.

  82. I'm not really sure how having Hunter Biden testify helps Republicans. Sure, he probably got his job because Burisma hoped that would yield influence through Joe Biden. But, if there is no evidence that this did indeed yield influence, it's not a crime. Also, I think the best possible outcome for Democrats is exactly what Republicans are trying to do: block everyone from testifying. That would make clear to all what a sham trial this is. The problem for Trump is that the truth is not his friend. And, of course, that's also why we haven't seen his tax returns.

  83. @Leo : But the GOP will spin their refusal to call witnesses as they've spun everything else: "We didn't call any, bc no one had anything of value to say, bc djt did nothing wrong." I fervently wish that some on-the-fence voters would wake up and see what not calling witnesses really means, I've given up hoping that any registered GOP voter will ever see reality.

  84. @Leo "But, if there is no evidence ..." Well, that is one big 'if'. And even if there is no evidence, Hunter Biden would not know that for sure. So he will have to either tell the truth (and thus produce that evidence) or perjure himself and become liable to criminal prosecution if any evidence comes up. There is just nothing good in it for him or the Democrats. Making an assumption that everything is peachy clean there is plainly delusional thinking. This affair reeks of corruption and anyone who knows anything about Ukraine would appreciate that with enough money there could be no secrets kept there.

  85. @Leo: Expertise on western business practices was scarce in post-Soviet Ukraine and Kyiv is a hardship posting. Hunter's situation is not unusual.

  86. Republicans aren't terrified of the testimony of John Bolton for its face value; they are terrified it will inform the voting American public of facts to make decisions upon. Moderate Republican voters already were uneasy about Trump's reputation and childish rhetoric in 2016. His continuing destruction of America's values and reputation around the world are forcing them to question why he was elected and continues to be supported so staunchly by their elected representatives. I call upon Democratic senators to reccomend both Bolton and Biden to push the Republicans into a corner they cannot wiggle out of. The Truth will win out.

  87. I don’t think there’s a deal to be struck for the Republicans for exactly the reasons you lay out. Hunter Biden will actually help the Democrats. And so will Joe Biden and Adam Schiff. Let’s pretend nobody suggested the whistleblower should testify. The fact is the Republicans have no witnesses to call who can help the President. That’s why they’re fighting so hard to wrap this thing up ASAP without witnesses.

  88. @Galfrido: Trump is God's benchmark of sanity. Failure to perceive this can only be motivated by irrational malevolence.

  89. Interesting premise. However, I keep seeing this argument pop up: "But they (GOP) clearly felt that they had no choice.." Why is that? Isn't it the responsibility of those in the House and Senate to represent us first, and the president second? We've allowed the role of representatives to become perverted, in that once attaining the office, their goal is to retain the office regardless of the desires of their constituents. Over 50% of people favor impeachment and want to hear witnesses, but 100% of GOP congresspeople oppose both. We've got a lot of fixing to do.

  90. @SMKNC That is because Trump is not a temporary aberration but the end product of a transformation that has been under way within the Republican Party for many years. They basically created an orthodoxy where loyalty to party was more important than all other concerns. The overwhelming fear is to be primaried by an opponent who is more orthodox and more blessed by Fox news.

  91. @SMKNC : "Over 50% of people favor impeachment" djt has already been impeached, by the House. I think you're referring to a poll, conducted by CNN from Jan. 16 to Jan. 19, in which 51% of those polled wanted him removed from office by the Senate. I'm highlighting the distinction bc djt's impeachment is a stain that can never be erased, which enrages him. It will be in the history books. Of 45 US presidents, only 3 have been impeached. Pretty grim.

  92. "In a television interview last October Joe Biden’s sole surviving and troubled son came across as a straightforward, unassuming guy: He conceded that he most likely wouldn’t have been asked to join the lucrative board of one of Ukraine’s largest natural gas companies, Burisma, or been offered other opportunities, but for his last name." Republicans of course are *outraged* by this. Said prominent Republican Donald Trump Jr. "I think every child of a prominent self-made man should be challenged to succeed on their own as well." His brother, prominent Republican Eric Trump said "Everything I've achieved in life has come to me because of my own hard work - if anything I've had to struggle -because- of my family name." Sister Ivanka added "Just because I'm pretty (I am - Daddy says so.) hasn't made my success any easier. Jared and I have to work hard to solve the big problems of the world - nothing comes easy for us, not even Middle East peace. Every wealthy child should work hard for everything they get, like I do." Asked to comment, Trump said "It was a perfect call - just read the transcript!"

  93. It is always refreshing as well as insightful to hear from Elizabeth Drew. Readers would benefit if we could hear her judicious and insightful observations more often, especially given the dynamics of 2020.

  94. Republican Senators actually calling Hunter Biden to be witness is going to happen just about as fast/soon as they begin an actual investigation of Joe Biden. They have no intention of doing either. They merely want to talk about doing them. PS - Republicans can call any witnesses they want as they are in the majority. Hunter Biden and any one else is theirs for the asking. Only CJ Roberts can stop them. I wonder why they don't want to take those votes and risk Roberts getting involved?

  95. @Jeff If Biden or Warren wins the DNC nomination and beats Trump, do you honestly believe that the Republicans will not have Mueller 2.0, investigating the daylights out of Hunter Biden? Or Elizabeth Warren's management consultant daughter?

  96. Elizabeth Drew, incredibly refreshing perspective, thank you.

  97. I think there should be a separate Congressional inquiry into close relatives of high government officials profiteering on their names and proximity to power. Hunter Biden may be a case study of past abuses. While the cases of Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, DonJr and Eric Trump may well provide a curiosity cabinet of current abuses. There is an intergenerational precedent for the Trump family usefully exemplifying corruption. During the Eisenhower administration, Congress investigated corruption in government contracting. Fred Trump was a poster child for windfall profiteering on government contracts during and after WW2., Trump's abuses promoted calls for better legislation and enforcement. It is nice to think of the Trumps making a contribution to good government - even if only by their bad example.

  98. I'd Joe Biden had any courage he would offer to testify if Bolton was also called. that would call all Republican bluffs and perhaps advance the truth. Politically for Biden it would be an advantage, being a broadly viewed opportunity to prove any charges of malfeasance wrong, in advance of the general election campaign . That he will not make that offer makes me think far less of him, both as a politician as well as an honest man.

  99. @Randy foote I hear you, but I wouldn't be so fast in my judgment on Joe Biden. We simply do not know whether he has even been asked by the Democratic leadership to testify or consider testifying. He probably hasn't. And it is not up to him to tell the House managers how to conduct the impeachment trial, including which "witnesses" to call. If the House managers strongly felt that Biden's testimony would be helpful and they asked him to testify, there is no doubt in my mind that he would.

  100. @Randy foote (Joe) Biden told us some months ago that he would honor a subpoena for his testimony. In any case, I for one have never seen any reason to question this man's honesty and decency. His politics are open to question but his character? No.

  101. One of Trump's lawyers is now arguing that ANYTHING the president does to help him get re-elected is automatically in the national interest and unimpeachable. This is a strange new land. And, unfortunately, in that land it doesn't matter who or who doesn't testify.

  102. @Jeffrey that argument, that whatever the President does is okay as long as he thinks it is in the national interest, is so preposterous I almost spit out my dinner when I saw it on the evening news.

  103. @Jeffrey I was astounded when I heard that. So if Trump starts passing out envelopes full of cash to potential voters because he thinks his re-election is in the national interest that would be OK with Dershowitz and the Republicans in the Senate? Yes, I know they're already doing that; it's just not Trump personally handing over the cash. https://nyti.ms/36FIbwD

  104. Yes! That argument is itself a clear and present danger to the national interest! That's how far Dershowitz has sunk.

  105. Hunter Biden's testimony would be only marginally relevant to the issues within the impeachment bill. He's been to Ukraine, can find it on an unmarked map, had a business connection there, and is generally conversant with the country's problems with corruption. But unless he has had some recent interaction with Zelenskyy and his circle, his testimony would not link up to the specifics of the impeachment case. But since when have we become so fussy about relevancy? The entire Trump defense is irrelevant. That bridge has been crossed. The Democrats' reluctance to call Hunter Biden as a witness is surely about Chuck Schumer and the party establishment's desire to protect their preferred candidate, Joe Biden, from political embarrassment. Hunter did nothing illegal. He scrupulously avoided any discussion of Burisma affairs with his father, the then sitting vice president. But he did cash in on selling access to the family name -- perfectly legal but mildly unsavory. And Joe made no effort to stop it. Joe's supporters in the Senate are trying to protect him from having to explain this minor blemish on his record. The irony is that Joe has a sympathetic story to tell. His other son, Beau, had just died of brain cancer and he was still grieving the loss. Joe could easily say that he knew the Burisma situation was bad optics but was just too caught up in grief to want to risk a potential family breach by confronting his remaining son. The story would work. It might even be true.

  106. @woofer If the Democrats called Hunter Biden, the Republicans - because they have no boundaries - would ask him about the paternity situation he now has with a woman he claimed he had never met - but a recent paternity test showed Hunter is the father of her child. No one in their right might would show up as a witness in the Senate to be asked questions like that. Hunter Biden is not an elected official or a public figure and there's a limit to how much he can willingly be abused in this situation.

  107. @woofer : Joe Biden doesn't have an unblemished record: 1. He has taken a boatload of money from credit-card co.s and has passed legislation favorable to them and damaging to average Americans. 2. His treatment of Anita Hill was appalling, and he has never apologized for it; he has recently made noises that vaguely approximate, but are not, an apology. (He never apologizes for anything, it seems.) 3. He has a long history of fairly unevolved positions on matters that affect women primarily. He is a hundred times the person and leader that djt is, but his record is *not* unblemished.

  108. @JJ - Joe Biden should have retired as an 'Elder Statesman' beloved by all. He should not run for president. His time has passed.

  109. Actually, if it means John Bolton would also testify in the impeachment trial, it could help the country and the world.

  110. The republicans don’t want to interview any Biden. They just want it to look like they do. In the same way that trump didn’t want Ukraine to investigate, only to say they would investigate.

  111. On the matter of witnesses, NYT published an Opinion piece that said that per the Senate Rules on impeachment procedures (174 V) the Chief Justice acting as the presiding officer had powers to order the attendance of witnesses, subpoena documents (amongst other things). Have the House Managers tested this by issuing documents to the Chief Justice requesting specific witnesses or documents? Re. Biden appearing - I'm not convinced they should horse trade on witnesses given the reality bubble the defence is manufacturing.

  112. Bolton probably has a lot of information that would be damaging to Trump, but in principle only information relevant to the articles of impeachment should come out during Senate hearings. Information about other matters should be investigated by the House and could result in another set of impeachment articles and another trial if Trump as expected survives this one.

  113. @Serban You're correct but in that case why should anyone need to hear from Hunter Biden? He obviously did not witness (or listen to) the phone conversation between Trump and Zelensky, and so any testimony he could offer about his own business dealings in Ukraine would be entirely irrelevant.

  114. @stu freeman Irrelevant,yes. But the point of it is three fold: To threaten Congressional Democrats with a possible deterent. They want Bolton and Mulvaney to stay home. To continue their scorched earth character assassination that worked so well with "Crooked Hillary". Substance has no bearing. Dems do cooperate with horrendous optics. No worse than Trump, but projection works wonders and can peel off "former Democrats" who blame that party for the abandonment of labor by self-seeking elites while income stagnates or drops. What we know better has no effect on their core beliefs. Fox and internet sorting are effective at propaganda. Repetition of alternate facts. 20% of rally attendees are registered Dems on average. Acquittal is a given. The theatrics will play directly into the victimhood mentality that sustains the base and provide a boost going into the election thereby cementing the symbiosis between the victims and their pied piper. Huey Long redux. The culture war is on steroids. You and I want a return to rationality and norms in an era defined by the abandonment of restraint. Will taking the higher road be the answer or become our Achilles heel when millions have jumped through the looking glass to join the tea party in Neverland, addicted to revenge rather than real solutions.

  115. There doesn’t have to be witnesses, or trading of witnesses. The Democrats desire Roberts to break a tie, but in my opinion, Roberts will go back to Supreme Court precedent, a tie vote requires the previous ruling to stand. Since impeachment is the sole responsibility of the Senate, he will not decide. The previous rules passed by the majority stated no additional witnesses would be allowed to be voted on until after their 16 hour questioning, 51 votes would be needed to add witnesses. That would mean a majority Senate vote would be needed to require additional witnesses, not 50. 51 senators will have to vote to hear anyone else testify. Roberts will not cast a deciding vote on a trial that is the sole responsibility of the Senate.

  116. @Jay Except that according to Rule 174 V as Presiding Officer the Chief Justice doesn't need permission from the senate, nor is there provision in that rule for the senate to vote and curb judgements he may make with respect of the rule. (Other rules have that restriction noted, not this one) https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/SMAN-113/html/SMAN-113-pg223.htm

  117. @Rich C. Roberts doesn’t have to rule, and, after reading 174V, in the premise as the Senate may authorize or provide are the final words in a very long sentence. Which would mean all of the previous authority given to Roberts is based on the Senates approval.

  118. I keep thinking the assassination of Qassim Suleimani was timed to seduce John Bolton into going easy on Trump, whether in front of the Senate or in his book. Bolton wants regime change in Iran, and the White House, his erstwhile employer, wanted to flatter Bolton that his ideas on that score were now guiding policy. My stronger conviction has to be Bolton will honor the truth about Trump's attempted shakedown of Ukraine.

  119. @ChrisDavis070 That's a very interesting idea. I don't believe Trump is smart enough to think of that kind of thing though. While it may have been something that Bolton wanted I think it's way more likely that someone put the idea in Trump's ear that he would appear to be HERO if he did this and THAT was all it took. Aside from launching an unprovoked an illegal attack on an Iranian Trump 'somehow' expected they wouldn't retaliate at all? That just shows how stupid and self-deluded he really is. He basically risked WAR to gain a fake and temporary political advantage without even considering the American lives he was putting in danger. He also risked Ukrainian lives by withholding the promised military aid JUST for HIS own political benefit,

  120. I don't follow the logic of Ms. Drew's piece at all. The Bidens have nothing to do with this trial. It is mere obfuscation by the Defense Panel. Trump should order (like Nixon did) all of his staff and ex-staff (including Giuliani) to testify under oath, order the release of all relevant documents and testify under oath himself.... or he should resign.

  121. @Futbolistaviva You are not a deal maker and a deal that gets rid of Trump is what we need. Don't let the imperfect get in the way of the neccessary.

  122. @Futbolistaviva - he should resign at the State of the Union Address. A girl can dream. This man is dangerous.

  123. @Futbolistaviva : Is this a joke? Yes, djt *should* do everything you stated. But when, in the 3 years of this admin, has djt done a single thing that he should have done? When has he shown any common sense, or decency, or respect for his office, or respect for the nation, or dedication to the well-being of most Americans, or anything other than a freakishly swollen sense of self-interest? Do you read the news?

  124. Both Bidens should testify, along with any other witnesses more than 40 Senators wish to call. The Biden & son timeline, perhaps with the real winner by 2.8 million votes of the popular election for president, and Trump’s predecessor, along with the documents they have would dramatically expose Trump for what he is - an international extortionist.

  125. OK. Forgive me but those conclusions have been pretty obvious for weeks. It's no big deal if Hunter or Joe Biden testify. There will be no pay dirt for republican senators there. I'm sure that they also hold that belief. On the other hand, Bolton is kryptonite for Trump.Therefore you will see dead set opposition to witnesses. It is simply a key point of survival for the republican party to prevent Bolton from testifying. There's a slim chance that a handful of republican senators will vote for witnesses, but the odds are very long. Yes, the longer this goes, the worse it is for Trump. That said, let's assume that he won't be removed. Then he has to be voted out. The key to that is voter turnout. High voter turnout works against Trump. Those of us who want to remove Trump should work to encourage voting. End the nightmare.

  126. I am a Canadian and grew up addicted to intelligent debate and discussion. I watch our parliament and I watch our Supreme Court. I don't see America having to worry about more than one more election. I am sad for my relatives, my friends and all those who love their country. I understand why people vote for the GOP and why Ukraine voted for the unTrump. Like MacBeth's three witches said "fair is foul and foul is fair." I am still wrapping my mind around knowing the verdict before the trial. I know what Mr Dershowitz is saying and his arguments are brilliant but I know that there are very few that understand them.Our understandings are of our culture. He is correct America is not a democracy it is constitutional Republic. Canada is a liberal democracy and we have similar problems but our first principles are alive. Our legal system is co-operative not adversarial and our Supreme Court puts the law on trial to determine justice. Our Liberal government almost lost the last election because of Trudeau's transactional deal with SNC Lavalin where the one thing Trudeau received were jobs for Canadian citizens. I know what Trump did to Ukraine, those were my brothers who died. Like the metaphysical poets I know No Man is an Island. I don't know what to say to a nation without metaphysics. I don't know what to say to those who worship Ayn Rand and don't understand the Pale of Settlement and neither does Mr Dershowitz. America has forgotten its metaphysics it has lost its soul.

  127. @Montreal Moe : "I don't see America having to worry about more than one more election." As someone "addicted to intelligent debate and discussion," surely you can see that America will not survive one more term of the lawless djt and - his cabinet of swamp-dwellers (who are dismantling the very departments they've been hired to lead), - his love of tax cuts, which have added $1.4trillion to the deficit, - his love of deregulation (the funny ole thing that caused the global financial crisis), - his climate-crisis denialism, - his pandering to white supremicists, - his lowering of standards for clean air and water, - his erosion of longstanding relationships with essential allies, - his adoration of autocrats, and - his itchy trigger finger. Canada's not that far away. You should be very, very worried.

  128. At this point, I don’t care if it works out good or bad for the Democrats; I just want to hear as much evidence as possible, from as many people as possible. This will be our last chance as a nation to hear any of this. Trump will be acquitted and may even be re-elected. If we don’t find out that truth now, it will simply be too late.

  129. The first Republican question to Hunter Biden: How much were the other Burisma directors paid? Can I see your tax returns for this period? Unless the Democratic lawyers know, for sure, the answers to these questions, and about 50 more like them, they should just stop. I believe any trial lawyer would agree with me.

  130. Only if Trump's tax returns are offered. If Trump doesn't have to give his taxes over, no one does. That's fair.

  131. @J I hope that Senators are listening to your arguments, and hopefully realize the scale of the problem they're creating. They'll be turning this Senate trial into a schoolyard brawl. If additional witnesses and documents are received, in addition to what Democrats describe as their already overwhelming evidence, The Senate shouldn't expect to do very much else for a while - the acquittal will take a long time.

  132. @Three Commas Does anyone know who the other board members were? Couldn’t find it with google.

  133. Agreed. Bidens' testimony would be a huge boost for Joe's bid for the presidency - by coming clean that Joe was not corrupt. GOP will not allow Bidens' to testify nor Bolton. But when Bolton's book is shortly released and Bolton goes on his publicity tour, it will look very bad for the GOP if they do not let him testify at the impeachment trial.

  134. I support Joe Biden. I admire Joe Biden. None is perfect. Nor is Joe Biden. Hunter Biden himself has reluctantly admitted that he got that (extremely) high-paying job because he was Joe Biden's son. News reports also say that Sr. Biden wasn't very happy about Hunter taking that job. But he didn't dissuade Hunter from taking it. If these things come out it can't hurt Joe Biden candidacy. There's an underlying feeling among many voters that there maybe something fishy about this. So Hunter Biden's honest testimony will only help Joe Biden. It may hurt President Trump, or may not. Nothing seems to stick at Trump.

  135. @A.G. Hunter would have a hard time explaining how he "earned" $50K/month. A few simple questions about his responsibilities, hours actually worked, etc., would quickly dispel the idea that he was worth it. Plus, he's a man with many personal issues. The NYT has dutifully refused to report on his paternity case issues, but that information would all come out. Just as Trump's critics constantly mention Dershowitz and Epstein.

  136. They could already have called Biden and Hunter if they wanted to. They simply do not want to. The whole trade and tit for tat is distraction. Biden is not relevant and there is a large risk he will look more presidential than Trump. Call the bluff.

  137. @GAYLE : I think that's inaccurate. If they want to call the two Bidens, then they'd have to vote to allow witnesses, and if they allow witnesses, I think they'd have to allow Bolton as well.

  138. @GAYLE Technically, the House can still call Bolton.

  139. @GAYLE LOL good one

  140. Bring it on. I would love to see an investigation of overcompensated board members and corporate executives as well. Let's shine some daylight on that.

  141. The Democrats may welcome no more witnesses. The case has already been made in public, and the senators running for the Democratic nomination want to get back on the campaign trail.

  142. The Senate can call whomever they want under the impeachment trial rules. Now its all about the poly-optics. If McConnell were to insist in a "deal" with H. Biden for Bolton swap. I'd take it. Bolton will testify directly about Trump's extortion scheme. Biden, will admit that he got the job and salary and the jobs because of his family name. There's nothing intrinsincally wrong or illegal about that. But even as a strong Democrat, I can see it does create an appearance of impropriety on its face. But only an appearance. Bolton is no friend to the Dems, but I do believe he's honest and he can give vital testimony as to the veracity of the President's public statements which every Senator knows is pretty much "0".

  143. The whole senate trial has been a sham and looks as coronation for Trump. Democrats should accept that McConnell the servant of king Trump will not allow any witnesses to testify. I would hope no democratic senator will join the republicans to acquit Trump. Furthermore it the time for democratic to do everything possible to defeat Trump, and the 5 or 6 senators who profess to be neutral juror but we all knew they would vote with McConnell.

  144. @Dan, that is whatabout-ism. That’s like saying any jurors that would have convicted OJ were biased against him. No, they would have been following the facts if they had convicted him. However, the OJ jury chose nullification instead....Republicans who choose to acquit Trump are not following the facts but rather would be succumbing to fears regarding their own political futures, and Democrats who vote to convict would not evince bias against Trump but rather would simply be following the facts.

  145. @Dan That day you cite came in 2011, when the Tea Party took control of the House and stifled all of Obama's programs, having not cast a single vote for his health insurance or stimulus proposals when in the minority. Let's agree that all 100 senators were predisposed to vote on way or the other. The Democrats have all of the evidence on their side, the Republicans have zilch. The Democrats have pushed for more evidence; all the Republicans want is Biden -- or so they say, but since they have the majority they can call him at any time, both for the trial and before a Senate Committee. How come the Republican majority had not called for an investigation of Joe Biden's efforts in Ukraine in 2015? or Hunter Biden when he was on the Burisma board from 2014 to 2019? Or in alleged Ukrainian interference in the 2016, especially when the Senate Intelligency Committee was holding hearings on Russian interference? If these were such critical concerns that Trump had to hold up the funds Congress appropriated, why not a whiff of Senate oversight before the impeachment? These are the relevant questions, not whether a politician is partisan. Yet another Trumpista distraction.

  146. @Hoshiar Remember the "shoe on the other foot test" set forth by Dershowitz? You might want to give it a try. How many Democrats do you expected to break ranks when the Senators vote? (If any Senators have shown some tendency toward neutrality, it's been Republicans.) Do you actually think that Senators Warren and Sanders are any less biased against President Trump than Senators McConnell and Graham? The day is coming when a Democrat is President, and Republicans hold the House, and unfortunately for the country, what goes around comes around.

  147. If Republicans want to call Hunter Biden about nepotism and corruption, that is good for the Democrats because it will make it less likely that Biden is the candidate. But above all, it could be good for Democrats because the quid pro quo should/could be introducing all the nepotism and corruption of Trump that Democrats should have included in the first place: calling Ivanka and Don Jr. and Jared as witnesses for starters. Everyone knows that the Ukraine stuff is only a tiny tip of the iceberg at stake in this trial.

  148. The GOP Senators ANNOUNCING that they want to call Hunter Biden as a witness is just like Trump saying he wanted Ukraine to ANNOUNCE an investigation into the Bidens. In both cases, they just want to create an appearance of something negative about the Bidens, because they know their base has no interest or attention to matters that involve actual facts.

  149. @Joyce Interestingly, this is exactly the tactic or technique the Russian campaign of disinformation during the 2016 election does as well. Creating an appearance creates an illusion of things much bigger works well most of the time.

  150. @Joyce Nailed it. In Fox World, perception is reality.

  151. If there are no witnesses, the Senate will end the process quickly so Trump can make the occasion another campaign rally.

  152. This impeachment trial is about events that occurred in Washington, not Ukraine. Even the testimony from our diplomats who were there was really about what Mr. Trump and his administration did here. It doesn't matter what was going on anywhere else or how corrupt (or not) Hunter Biden was or is. It was illegal for Mr. Trump to freeze, for any reason, appropriated and authorized funds without notifying Congress. The further his defense team can move the discussion away from actions Mr. Trump carried out in Washington, the more congressional Republicans can avoid hard thinking and moral responsibility. The House managers might point out that Hunter Biden is no more relevant than how much the three adult Trump children cost American taxpayers, including Secret Service protection on their private business trips abroad. Or that they got a cut of what the Giuliani henchmen spent at Trump hotels (and, for that matter, the Ukrainian president's stay at one).

  153. You make some very good arguments here. But i'ts not clear whether it has occurred to you that the Republican ploy that they want Hunter Biden to testify, in exchange for having Bolton testify, may be a red herring--for the reasons you cite. Do they really want Hunter Biden to testify? Or are they just using that as a pretext to block Bolton's testimony? They know, just like everyone else, that there's nothing they can possibly get Hunter Biden to say that could exculpate Trump to the slightest degree. If anything, his testimony would injure them politically. The Republicans are tying themselves up in knots trying to find reasons not to have Bolton testify, Most likely they worry about the "optics" of it, However, substantively, everyone, including the Democrats, seems to have forgotten that Bolton's testimony really makes no difference to the impeachment. Trump tried to enlist a foreign country into smearing a political opponent. Can anyone really contend with a straight face that, by itself, that's not an impeachable offense? Granted, the fact that he linked the smear to blackmail that contradicted statute, btoke the law, and threatened our security makes it far worse. But you get to a "high crime" even without that link.

  154. @Just Ben If the Republicans really wanted to hear from Hunter Biden, Joe Biden or the Maytag repair man, they have the votes to do it. They wouldn't even have to make a one-for-one deal. Lindsey Graham said two days ago: “I'll make a prediction: There will be 51 Republican votes to call Hunter Biden, Joe Biden, the whistleblower and the DNC staffer at a minimum." Then do it. And give the Democrats none of their witnesses, either ... if you dare. That would only be the tip of the iceberg of the Republicans' kangaroo court, and may not play well here in the Heartland.

  155. @Chris Bowling You make an excellent point. And the Maytag repair man's testimony would be every bit as relevant as Hunter Biden's! However, as you likely already know, nothing will disTrumpficate his supporters, not even the scenario you facetiously suggest. That would at least imply that they were wrong the last time, and such people never admit they're wrong, least of all to themselves. The only way to win the next election is to get more sensible people out to the polls than last time.

  156. @Just Ben Except I'm not being facetious. I think the Democrats should move to call Hunter Biden, in order to dispense with this ridiculous red herring, and see how many Republicans support the motion. They won't, of course, which would make Hunter Biden a non-issue. If they do, there's nothing to lose since Biden didn't do anything illegal or unethical. I can be certain of that, since if he had Rudy would be on TV waving documents around (like Joe McCarthy). It's a pure GOP snow job, and Democrats could make that even plainer.

  157. Very interesting article. I view Hunter Biden as unrelated to US policy in Ukraine, but it is possible that the Republicans will exhaust themselves trying to show a connection between Hunter Biden and the main stream of conversation that will surround the facts about Hunter Biden's job with Burisma. I see that bringing up the Bidens in the impeachment process could easily make the Bidens look like just regular Joes who are being beaten up on by the Republicans. I am assuming here that Hunter Biden is provably innocent, as asserted by the Democrats -- giving the Republicans just enough rope with which to hang themselves. I can see how it might work. I wish all of those involved in this complicated mess of an impeachment, woulf think carefully through this nightmare of bitter accusations of one neighbor against another. We need to quit shooting at each other in accusations of wrong doing and get down to figuring out where the wrong doing happens so we can get on with saving us from burning up our planet and killing us all.

  158. @pajaritomt The questioning of Hunter Biden would likely include many accusations of zero merit made with great outrage. Fox and the rest of the right-wing zealots will extend and enhance all the charges. Hunter Biden and his family will be attacked both via internet attacks, including attacks on his on-line data--and his physical safety and that of his family will be explicitly put at risk Would Joe Biden decide losing his other son is too high a price to pay for his run for president? This is the world we live in. Consider what happened to Christine Blasey Ford after she testified truthfully and honestly to the same US Senate in a politically charged hearing. Years later, she is still literally hunted. There are few if any Republican Senators who would dream of protecting Hunter Biden from right-wing zealots based on what has been shown so far in this so-called trial.

  159. I agree that Hunter Biden’s testimony is a complete red herring. At this point, call their bluff. If Hunter Biden didn’t do anything wrong, then who cares. Bring him on. Otherwise, the ads look like they are trying to cover up some wrongdoing on his part.

  160. Dear Me: then why didn’t the Democrats themselves call Hunter Biden during the House hearings—when they were perfectly free to do so—and clear all this up? Call the Republicans’ bluff? Answer: they were afraid to. And then the question becomes: why?

  161. This all would be solved by nominating Mike Bloomberg. His superlative ads deal with issues that matter to voters - health care and global warming so far. Any other Democrat nominee will be outspent 5 to 1. Let's face, the Supreme Court has really messed up our country with Citizen's United, not making states abide by the Voting Rights Act, refusal to take up gerrymandering, refusal to act on Trump releasing his finances, and most recently, denying working poor immigrants from getting green cards if they are on Medicaid or food stamps.

  162. In my opinion, ALL of this is a distraction. Where everyone should really be focusing is on Trump's tax returns which he was required by law to produce but has fought tooth and nail to hide. This is the most critically important information--who he owes money to, who he has been borrowing from, who he is in business with, who has been buying apartments and other property from him. I don't know the answer but the possibilities are numerous and highly suspicious, just from what little we know already--Russian oligarchs, Saudi and Emirati princes, international money launderers for a start. He is desperate to hide those returns and there is surely a reason. Follow the money.

  163. @Cassandra It should be law that presidential candidates must release their tax forms.

  164. @Cassandra Call me cynical, but why should we think he wouldn’t lie and hide the trut on the tax returns as well. He clearly only files to avoid penalties, not to provide a truthful explication of his finances and tax responsibilities (just ask Michael cohen).

  165. @Cassandra . He was not “required by law” to produce his tax returns.

  166. Great piece. Agree one hundred percent. Why not put Hunter on the stand? Of course the fear is that Republicans will somehow make this a spectacle where it looks like Trump was justified in his pursuit. But that story, that there is no justification, needs to be told. 1. Congress can’t authorize aid unless the country meets certain “not-corrupt” requirements (this was described by Fiona hill), so Ukraine had already gotten there when the aid was authorized; to hold up such aid after authorized breaks the law according to the GAO 2. Hunter may have gotten a fat salary but Joe Biden did not provide the access that was sought 3. Biden firing the prosecutor was to get rid of a corrupt prosecutor. The only problem is, regardless of what happens in this saga, the end is foretold. Its always a happy ending!

  167. It is wonderful to read you;I have missed your voice, Ms. Drew.

  168. Rational and commonsensical argument. For how can a trial be fair without the testimony of all witnesses that can make the truth come out?

  169. @Sam What does this trial have to do with truth? That seems the last thing with which the Senate Republicans are concerned. Certainly, none of them have uttered that word as an objective in public. It seems that 75 percent (and rising) of Americans polled want to hear witnesses and have documents released. When the Republicans succeed in sweeping this under the rug, what percentage will hold them to account? That final figure in November may determine the fate of democratic government in the U.S.

  170. Ms.Drew is correct that it would be beneficial to have both Bolton and Hunter Biden testify. So far Joe Biden has not done a good job of handling questions about Hunter's lucrative job. If the Biden can't spin a plausible narrative now, wait till he's the candidate. Trump and the attack ads will tear him apart, and leave him looking more guilty of enriching his family than Trump, who has used every opportunity to steer business toward his own enterprises.

  171. "It’s odd that after three years of a Trump administration, Republicans didn’t foresee the danger in putting their political careers in the hands of a man who’s out solely for himself and has a very distant relationship with the truth." I don't think it's odd at all. The tea party crowd that increasingly animates the Republicans is also living in an alternate universe. They were made for each other. They are out on that limb because they made the deal with the devil, because they were able to convince themselves, ignoring the obvious facts of Trump's corruption, depravity and mendacity, that stacking the judiciary and cutting taxes on the rich were worth enduring anything - even Trump. The GOP's best choice would be for its Senate delegation to vote for conviction, removal, and most importantly disqualification. There is no other way to get down safely from that limb. But again, they will deceive themselves and believe that by voting for acquittal they will have surmounted the crisis. However, with Trump, the crisis will never end as long as he remains president. Republicans need to leave the alternative universe behind, and return to reality. That limb they are on is at the breaking point.

  172. Let anybody call any witnesses they want and let the court decide whether Trump did anything wrong. I didn't know Hunter Biden was on trial here, and so nothing he has to say has anything to do with the impeachment of Trump. All in all, only those afraid of justice need be afraid of any witness.

  173. @Sten Moeller anybody calling anybody should have happened in the house. The senate has to COMPLETELY shut down while this goes on, the democrats drawing this out just like they did with the SC nomination, shouldn’t happen here. Sorry Schiff, do it right from the beginning, rather than your usual playbook of gumming Up the works.

  174. I agree the trade is a decent outcome for the country for the reasons stated. And, despite Hunter Biden being dumb beyond belief to have taken the Burisma position, most likely with his father's approval, express or silent, his testimony holds a fraction of the significance of Mr. Bolton's. Still, even if the Democratic leadership is willing, I don't believe a majority of Republicans will approve it, and, in any event, the Chief Justice could shut it down without a Senate majority voting otherwise. Why? Because opening the witness door logically leads not only to other witnesses, including Mulvaney, and so on, but most important, it points to summoning the central witness in this case. Who? President Trump. Since this is not a criminal proceeding, as the Republicans are so found of emphasizing, Mr. Trump does not have the argument that he can legitimately rely on the Fifth Amendment privilege to decline to testify. And, if Mr. Trump invokes the Fifth in a non-criminal proceeding and refuses to answer questions about disputed issues of fact, the permissible political (and legal) inference is that he is hiding his guilt. The Democrats should try to put Mr. Trump in that box. Indeed, Mr. Trump, with his heightened sense of self, might profess an eagerness to appear. Yet, in the end, to avoid ever getting to that point, the Republicans, with the support of the Chief Justice, will shut it down and save Mr. Trump from himself. For this reason, no deal is forthcoming.

  175. @Barry Winograd Yes Barry, but who can rationally decide what constitutes a "permissible political inference" and how ? Making that decision itself would require drawing one or more inferences that each might or might not be "permissible". Sure looks like some kind of foggy infinite regress to me, if not just a house of cards. In sum, we are talking about a subjective operation with no consensus as to its validity, mechanism, or scope. Permissible Inference sounds impressive but it comes close to being just a seven-syllable, oily buzz-word notion that borders on having meme status. God help us all if this species of gobbledygook gets into corporate patois, or the military, or healthcare, etc.

  176. @Barry Winograd At this point we can use everything that there is against Trump. Every bit helps us.

  177. @James T. Lee, MD It's already there in healthcare insurance policies. You know that.

  178. I don’t know why this Bolton Biden trade is even discussed the Republicans and Mitch McConnell can vote tomorrow to only call one or both Bidens to testify and not Bolton. The Republicans are the ones that don’t want one or both of the Bidens to testify. Quite simply they know there is no there there. If there was Bill Barr’s justice department would have been the one opening a investigation not the Ukraine. If they call them it takes the whole issue off the table for the 2020 election. Trump wants to have somebody his supporters can chant lock them up at his rallies.

  179. Calling Hunter Biden makes sense. Trump's defense has already established that no amount of evidence or proof guarantees victory, and Biden gives every appearance of having done nothing to help the corrupt Prosecutors General of Ukraine ... especially in light of his father's anti-corruption efforts there. There is a political downside to not calling Hunter Biden, too. Donald Trump will turn the 2020 election into a non-stop expose of conspiracy theories involving father and son. It would be safer to expose this stuff to the disinfectant of sunshine now.

  180. @Sequel Hunter's father ain't winning the nomination anyway, and corruption of any kind needs to be exposed.

  181. I would risk it. It might just work and it would definitely be unexpected..

  182. The impeachment and trial of Trump reveals to the American people the underbelly of politics - elected representatives at their worst. Set aside the fact that Trump is the worst of the worst and look at the big picture - a simple fact that in this trial we have two political parties that are in a pitched battle: one party fighting for witnesses and evidence to further prove the guilt of Trump, the other party fighting to keep out witnesses and evidence from further proving his guilt. The Republicans' latest excuse: having witnesses would take up precious time that they could be doing the Senate's business. But remember nearly 400 bill sent to the Senate by the House in 2019 alone, were not taken up by the Republican senators. But even so, what could be more urgent, more important than preserving the republic when a president acts like a dictator? Consider that all along, we the American people have known that Republicans are committed, not to finding the truth of the alleged crimes, but committed to covering them up to keep Trump in office. McConnell said so. So what shall we do? What can we do? Shall we simply shrug while Republicans are on their hands and knees before a corrupt, immoral dictator? Republicans do not just degrade themselves, they degrade all of us, America itself. We the people must clean house! The dictator must go! But Trump's eviction will not be complete without throwing out all Republicans. May those with conviction be full of passionate intensity.

  183. ...and then challenge his listeners to do something about (ie pass an anti-corruption law). I see this as a golden opportunity for HB to redeem himself and do something for his country!

  184. Perhaps so. But, the apparent and real conflict of interest posed by Hunter's position on the Burisma board at the same time that Ukraine was in Joe Biden's portfolio is all a good lawyer needs to muddy the waters. I think you underestimate the implications the Trump lawyers would insinuate to muddle the Senators' judgements. On the other hand, Bolton, despite the publication of his statements regarding his conversation w/Trump would raise questions of privilege that would have to be litigated. Unfortunately, Hunter Biden's life choices have become a hidden torpedo, likely to blow up any hope of damaging Trump.

  185. @Edgewalker Muddle the Senators judgement. the Republicans in the senate have no judgement of right or wrong. They have already turned this Court in to a Kangaroo Court.

  186. @Edgewalker - - - But at least multiple jurisdictions now know that Hunter Biden can reproduce, for what that's worth.

  187. In the case of the GOP, the idea of calling Hunter Biden to the stand might be called be careful what you wish for. I'd like to see both Biden and Bolton testify. Let's get to the truth. And if the truth is Biden is a non-player in this mess, and Bolton is correct in his statements, vote to remove Trump.

  188. @Joe Sorry, Joe, but that’s not so. Had Hunter not been on that board, there would have been no reason for Trump to go after Joe. There is nepotism and corruption all over the lot in this case. A pox on both their houses seems to fit this narrative.

  189. I think Democrats should go ahead and have the Bidens testify. If the GOP allows for witnesses, The issue that the GOP accuses Hunter Biden of accepting a job in an oil company when he does not know anything about oil is relative. Corporations, all over the world hire people who, without knowing the specific industry, bring other kinds of expertise to the table. Ask corporate America. Mutatis mutandis, many lives ago, AT&T hired me. My job was to interpret Latin countries to the corporation and corporate America to Latin countries. It is much easier to train a person who deals with Latin governments and industries in LATAM in telecom issues than to train a Bell Lab person in Latin culture, languages, industries and government. My parents were never in positions of power.

  190. Unfortunately, it's all about theater, and none of the witnesses during the Impeachment trial had the kind of theatrical impact as a Joseph Welch (McCarthy hearings), an Oliver North or a George Galloway (who eviscerated the Senate). So it all depends on how Hunter Biden would come across, and no one knows that. He could be a hero or a zero.

  191. The President claims, and there is evidence for his assertion, that determining corruption in the Ukraine was what he was seeking. Part of that corruption very much has to do with the Bidens. American tax dollars sent as aid a foreign country should not go toward funding a Vice President and his family. Determining if this is true would be important given that Mr. Biden is running for the presidency.

  192. @Len What evidence is there that Trump was concerned about anything other than smearing Joe Biden? On the other hand we have numerous people from the White house Staff and John Bolton saying that the purpose was to extract an announcement of an investigation by Ukraine.

  193. @Len and if you and Trump feel that way then the appropriate US AGENCIES can and should investigate to see if there is evidence to support. Also...that would be a totally separate trial/investigation/set of facts to these impeachment articles.

  194. @Len : If Trump wanted to go after corruption in Ukraine he would have gone through our FBI, official channels. Instead he went through Giuliani who has nothing to do with our government. Joe Biden was acting as the VP of the US with the entire Western world in agreement in forcing a corrupt prosecutor, Lutsenko, to step down. It had nothing to do with getting his son on or off a board. Trump wanted to force Ukraine into just an announcement of corruption by the Bidens, the appearance of an investigation to hurt Joe Biden. He used our tax dollars approved by Congress to do this, via the shenanigans of Rudy, Lev and Igor. And they threatened and harrassed an upstanding ambassador who truly was fighting corruption in Ukraine to do this. Trump, Rudy, Lev and Igor. Yeah, that sounds good, huh?

  195. I 100% agree. As you state, even if there were corruption involved with the Bidens, Trump's actions are nevertheless impeachable. And if, as I strongly believe, the Bidens are guilty only of a son trading on his family name and a bereaved father trying, perhaps overly so, to let his only surviving son be his own man (but reportedly with appropriate admonitions), Hunter should ask to testify. And so definitely should Bolton be called. Americans need to believe we have a handle on the truth - for a refreshing change. And most certainly as we head to the polls. But I do not expect Republicans to allow it, so it will be up to the American people to see this for what it is. I desperately hope that we will.

  196. If the Democrats still want to get Bolton to testify they can just do it in the House. But does anybody really know what Bolton will say? If he ONLY says quid pro quo but does not say Trump told him it was for political reasons it will be just another opinion that Trump's motive was political. We already have lots of opinions.

  197. Very simply - this is not Hunter Biden's trial. Hunter Biden's actions, however corrupt, are in no way relevant. Biden should have his day in court, but not this court. This is just a classic Trumpian distraction - playing to the public rather than the law. Where is the judge in this "trial"? In any other court, the defense would call a witness like Biden, the prosecution would object on the basis of relevance, the judge would sustain, and that would be that.

  198. @Rick K I completely agree. It was my first thought when they announced that wanted him as a witness. Just more diversionary tactics which Trump and his cronies excel at.

  199. @Rick K Hunter Biden's actions relevant. Did he talk to his Dad about the Ukraine? He likely did. Did try to lobby for Burisma , that lavishly paid him , to influence his father, in charge of US policy on the Ukraine. He might well have. Oligarchs are corrupt, but the do not spend their money foolishly

  200. @Rick K Then why not make the "deal"? If Roberts denies Hunter, Trump's defenders are left out to dry. If he doesn't, the label of "sham exoneration" is that much harder to shake. If Republicans are smart, asking for Hunter is only a bluff. Hunter can not possibly exonerate the President unless he testifies "I'm corrupt and my dad helped me." If they actually get Hunter on the stand, at best it will be a circus. At worst, Hunter can start filling in all of the boring details that Bondi left out. Democrats have already called the bluff by pointing out that Republicans can get Hunter without a deal. They can "let" Republicans make this deal amongst themselves and then win with any likely outcome.

  201. At the start of this trial, all Senators swore an oath to be impartial. Denying material witnesses because the outcome is already determined is about as far from being impartial as they can get. Every person running against any Senator who votes against witnesses should make it a standard part of their campaign to call that Senator an “oath breaker”. And if you live in a state where one of them is running, go to a campaign event and ask them why they decided to violate their oath. For any person who wants to get out of being on a jury, just tell the judge that you will be as an impartial a juror to the same extent that Mitch McConnell has been in this trial. And that you will hold to the oath you have to take as a juror to the same degree he has to the oath he took in this impeachment trial. And for any teacher of American history or U.S. government or civics, the Republican Senators who vote to exclude witnesses will be for decades excellent examples of how not to be a public servant. You have a ready made counter-example in the way Congress responded to the charges against Richard Nixon. It almost makes me want to come out of retirement and take up teaching history again.

  202. @ASPruyn Brilliant for potential jurors and teachers. I’ve been both. Fortunately, most citizens who are called to jury duty take their responsibility much more seriously than the 50 Republican Senators who are ready to block witnesses and evidence in this trial. Agreed that this mockery of our Rule of Law now being exposed to the American public by the Senate Republicans should, and probably will be taught in every public classroom. I hope that students will also be taught about our three parts of government. Judicial—Supreme Court, Executive—President, and especially that Congress consists of BOTH the House and Senate.

  203. @ASPruyn well said! Adam Schiff out to use your last paragraph in his closing arguments today. This is all so heart breaking.

  204. The difference between illegality and impropriety is a difference only appreciated by lawyers and those who hire them on a regular basis. Most working class Americans will tell you that just because there is not a law against something does not mean it is not wrong. Forcing Biden as well as allowing Bolton to testify will hurt Biden more than it will hurt Trump. This is because Trump's lack of judgment is already a known quantity and his supporters do not care if he tried to dig up dirt on the Bidens. They are only interested in winning the election to preserve low taxes or to move on to Armageddon. Unfortunately for Biden, his supporters are not very enthusiastic and have many other possible substitutes to choose from. Allowing the Republicans to change the focus of impeachment trial will destroy the Biden candidacy. The principal beneficiaries in this deal will be Trump, Sanders, and Bloomberg.

  205. Moreover Joe Biden is at his most moving when he talks about his family and what it has been through: The Republicans could be handing him a lovely opportunity to make a knockout campaign speech. What our country needs may well be less detached intellectualism and more thinking hearts. In situations requiring insight, wisdom and concern to resolve them as well as hard, cold facts . .feelings are an invaluable dimension . . another kind of intelligence . . the humane way of human reasoning.

  206. @MARY Unfortunately, feelings are also the inhumane way of human reasoning. Witness the treatment of asylum seekers trying to cross the border, and the new conditions on receiving public assistance, and the "Muslim ban."

  207. It's likely that the Democrats are working towards having John Bolton testify because the true hearing is taking place in the court of public opinion. Same for Hunter Biden. I saw his interview and was struck by how cowed he is that he's caused further challenges to his family. As the NSA is disallowing Bolton to publish his book, it's time for the 60 Minutes interview. It's not likely to further sway those who already are with or against this president, but may move an undecided here or there. Ultimately, we've learned not to hope for more and that. The press will have to do the job of unobstructing what the GOP doesn't want its constituents to put into a more comprehensive context, or to simply learn an additional set of facts about.

  208. @SD wouldn't it be wonderful if 60 Minutes could do that and do more of the tough investigative journalism we remember from the old days?

  209. I continue to be surprised that Democrats haven't raised the obvious point that Trump almost certainly never cared about whether or not the Ukraine actually conducted an investigation of the Bidens. All that Trump wanted was for the Ukraine to announce that it would be conducting an investigation. That would have been all that Trump needed in order to damage Joe Biden's candidacy.

  210. @Peter That has been raised repeatedly...Trump didn't want an investigation. just the announcement of an investigation. The managers have been drilling that point home to show he never actually cared about corruption.

  211. Senator Klobuchar agrees with you, but for very different reasons. The votes that will drain away from Biden as the steady drip of impropriety eroded faith in his candidacy will most likely fall to Klobuchar.

  212. Romney's version of the witness swap looks palatable to both sides. Republicans don't need any blue votes to get Hunter so a meaningless Hunter vote could be an easy sell for Jones and Manchin. Democrats could then deny a witness swap deal for Bolton, but we could then end up with 55-45 votes for the generic any witnesses vote and both individual votes for Hunter and Bolton. That would look like a witness swap to most people.

  213. One positive aspect of the need for senators to vote on witnesses is that those moderate voters who look at senators like Susan Collins or Mitt Romney, for example, as being open to working with the other party for the good of the country will get a chance to see if their stance is just purely political...or if they really want to get at the truth. Truth matters.

  214. @Jane : And mitt Romney still has an eye on running for president after Trump is gone.

  215. It would be better if the House, after the Senate acquitted Trump without hearing more witnesses, opens a second round of investigations (they can decide later if those should turn into impeachment investigations again), calling Bolton as a witness under oath and allowing Hunter and Joe Biden to have their say voluntarily as an interested party because they were the targets of Trump's shenanigans with Zelensky. Bolton can hardly refuse to testify, since he already offered to testify before the Senate if subpoenaed.

  216. I'm all in. Bring on the politics. Anything that can move the swing voter to abandon Trump once and for all is great. It sets up the perfect storm, where Joe Biden loses traction ( I love you Joe, but you are damaged goods) and Mike Bloomberg gets the Democratic nomination suits me is the best outcome. Ousting Trump is all that matters in November.

  217. It could also open up to revelations about the way former American politicians and officials go on to serve on Boards not due to their ability as fracking experts or as a financial whiz, But only because of their name and their connections to still powerful former colleague. Whether it is due to family connections or friendships or collegial relations, it all seems to be the same -- getting paid for sharing one's connections and erstwhile good name. Isn't that what Giuliani was doing?

  218. I think we need to know how the families of career politicians-Republicans and Democrats-become fabulously wealthy while they're making the salary of a government employee. Neither HRC nor her husband ever had a private sector job. After not being able to afford their "mortgages" they became multimillionaires while she was a Senator than a Secretary of State and he took no salary as head of his "foundation". Many members of the Biden family became multimillionaires as well. I want Hunter to testify, not because I want to sink Joe's campaign, but I want to know did actually do work for Burisma, what did he do there, and did he earn $60,000/month. Bernie is another puzzle. The NYT reported on his wife's job running a college into bankruptcy and how he was able to buy his third house with the federal money she made doing it. This is the man who says the system is rigged for "others" and "housing speculators" are responsible for the high cost of housing. His wife should be subpoenaed also. Trust in the democratic system naturally diminishes when families of politicians get plum gigs and become millionaires as a result. Maybe they do a good job? Maybe Hunter earned every penny he was paid. I want to hear from him and decide for myself. I'd rather vote for a Bloomberg or Trump who made their money in the private sector than a Clinton or Biden who suffers from the appearance of a conflict of interest, even if they did nothing wrong. Let's hear from Hunter!

  219. @jkemp Sanders published a book that sold well - the advance alone was $800K.

  220. @jkemp I would like to hear from Ivanka Trump and how she was given Chinese copyrights for her products only after her father became president, plus look at the money Trump's sons have made for themselves and the Trump organization working with foreign companies during this administration. Why do you think so many wealthy foreign agents and businessmen stay at the Trump Hotel? There is more than a little to investigate in the gaining of wealth by the Trump children after their father became president.

  221. @jkemp According to a Reuters report published Oct 18th, Hunter was making 83,333 per month. Thats 1 million per year. He never once stepped foot in Ukraine, and showed up only twice a year for board meetings, both of which too place outside of Ukraine. Nice work if you can get it.

  222. I don't have any fear of Hunter Biden testifying. Or even Joe, for that matter, if Republicans want to make it a true kangaroo court, and the Chief Justice does not rule against. But leaving the Democrats' list of witnesses only to Bolton would not be enough. The president must comply with all duly issued Congressional subpoenas for both witnesses and documents, and that means the three persons subpoenaed by the House and a trove of related documents.

  223. Democracy is on trial here. We should be concerned simply because no one seems to be concerned about government of, by and for the people.

  224. If Biden is the price of getting witnesses on the stand, go for it. However, Republicans are unlikely to take the deal. They know the trade off is unfavorable. Any one Democratic witness is more damaging than all the Republican witnesses combined. The only way Republicans would agree to a Biden/Bolton swap is if they had already failed to prevent Bolton's testimony. In which case, why give them Biden at all? No. Republicans are sticking to no witnesses if they can manage it. For the good of the nation, I certainly hope not.

  225. "A multitude of investigations of his arrangement with Burisma have turned up no wrongdoing on Hunter’s part." That's part of the problem: influence pedaling may be corrupt but it's not illegal, and occurs in every country.

  226. @joe Investigated by who?? No authoritative agency has investigated this.

  227. I don't understand Democrats that will not allow Hunter Biden to testify in exchange for Bolton, etc. Why are we protecting Hunter Biden? If he did nothing wrong the conspiracy theory is finally debunked. If his hiring looked improper (i.e. he was unqualified and received the job because of his father's influence), let's call Ivanka to testify as well. If his hiring constituted actual corruption, I would also like to know. Any option is worth hearing from Bolton.

  228. @justin Your statement assumes Republicans need Democratic support to call Biden. They do not. They have 53 votes. Only 51 are needed.

  229. Republicans do not want ANY witnesses to testify. They do not want the Bidens to testify because they do not want actual facts to prevent their false narrative from festering and causing corrosive harm to Joe Biden’s poll numbers. And no way do they want Bolton to testify. Moscow Mitch just wants to acquit Trump as quickly as possible, so that at the State of the Union on Tuesday Trump can once again declare that he was completely exonerated.

  230. This is not a good idea to offer up Hunter Biden to appease the republicans into a quid pro quo in exchange for testimony from John Bolton. As seen yesterday, while Democrats have overwhelming evidence that Trump is guilty and should be removed from office, it isn’t going to happen. But all is not lost for Democrats due to the Alan Dershowitz defense of Trump, that a president is above the law. Saying that he is acting in the public interest, Dershowitz justified elevating the president to a dictator, monarch and president combined. That raises the stakes for Democrats to take their case to the American people in November. Electing Trump to a second term will end our country as a democratic republic if the people give him that opportunity. The American people will have one final say on keeping our republic.

  231. I'm afraid we can't depend on the election. It only took 77,000 votes in three states to throw the Electoral College to Trump in 2016. What are the chances, really, that the Russians weren't involved in rigging those States? With Trump encouraging them they will certainly be trying to rig the 2020 electoral college again. Trump could lose the popular vote by 15 million votes and still "win" the electoral college. No, we can't wait for the election. No matter what happens with the current impeachment, the House and the Press need to keep investigating him. There will be serious crimes. When they are exposed, Trump should be indicted in spite of that ridiculous DOJ "guideline" that sitting presidents can't be indicted. For God's sake that's exactly when they should be indicted. We can't have a criminal running the country.

  232. Nothing is preventing John Bolton or Hunter Biden from holding a press conference (remember what that is?). Though what they say would not be under oath, any challenge to their statements would have to demand they repeat their story under oath.

  233. Classic "careful what you wish for". Biden's testimony would shame his former colleagues if they were capable of feeling it. At this point I'm actually rooting for getting it over with and concentrating on the election. Republicans aren't going to suddenly put their country first.

  234. 1. We need the full transcript of the Trump-Zelensky phone call. Why isn't this demanded? 2. As for Hunter Biden, I'd gladly take Ivanka or her real-estate husband as witnesses re grifting. 3. Joe Biden needs to take a big chill pull and stop taking this so personally. The appearance of impropriety by his son is a tough one to deny, so he should ride the waves a little and be more political than parental.

  235. @Ruth Peltason Did it ever occur to you that Joe Biden gets so defensive about this because he knows it looks really really bad? 1 million per year for a 2 day per year job, where hunter never once set foot in Ukraine?? Ivanka was an established real estate executive long before Trump won the Presidency. Hunter was kicked out of the navy for cocaine use just weeks before being appointed to that board. He had zero experience in energy.. Big difference.

  236. I truly believe having either Biden testify would be bad news for Republicans. It may actually be a boost for the former Vice President. Republicans do not really want Biden testimony.

  237. I agree, if it were up to me, I would take that deal, but, I have little to no faith in my Republican countrymen to actually do the right thing. We are now fully "through the looking glass" and live in a time when truth and right vs. wrong don't matter to Trump supporters. I think it would be good for Bidens's candidacy for Hunter to be called. Otherwise they will just use the unproved accusation as negative advertising from now till November. (assuming Joe is the nominee)

  238. Finally, someone who understands the value of the Bolton-Biden deal (if only). If there is nothing to hide, why shouldn't Biden testify? I agree it would actually make him look MORE appealing than he is now, which could improve his polling for 2020 as well. I think the risk is worth it to get Bolton on the stand. Bolton could do more damage to middle-of-the-road undecideds. It's not about the trump base and never could be. Neither they nor the party will move one inch.

  239. I think that all of us should pledge to protest on President's Day, this year, 2/20/20, and ask that the dignity of the Presidency be restored by removing Trump from office. It's time all the various groups (Women's March, Move On, Indivisible, BLM, ImmigrantGroups etc) join voices and take to the streets to show solidarity in large numbers.

  240. When did governing become theatre? When did we abandon the actual methods of serving the people’s interests to strike faux positions and policies that only play well on cable and social media? Governing is the difficult business of developing programs that actually foster economic growth rather than crowing about the sugar-high of cutting taxes for rich people. It is the vigilant monitoring for safety of new aircraft and not accelerating their deployment before prudent testing is completed. It is a host of other things that protect and serve the interests of the people. Now, we balance the testimony of witnesses not to find truth but to play politics. We pressure foreign leaders to appear to investigate opponents’ families to raise false suspicions. We hold vote after vote in Congress to repeal ACA with no hope of success, just so we can report the score. We spend our time tweeting rather than reviewing the mechanisms of government to make sure they serve the people. Governing is now theatre. And it’s bad theatre. Bad actors. Bad plot. Just bad.

  241. There could be any number of witnesses against Trump and the Repubs will still vote to acquit. They are all terrified of losing their cushy, do nothing jobs with great benefits and actually having to work for a living. Many have not worked in 20 years. This assumes, of course, they could find work they could actually do. As much as I’d love to see trump evicted from the White House, I don’t think it will happen soon. Maybe in November. If we’re lucky. And if not, I’ll come back to Europe.

  242. While John Bolton is talked about as being a most important witness, there are others who should be called to testify. The manipulation of Presidential power would come in focus if witness-after-witness retreated to the 5th Amendment by refusing to talk about self-incriminating impeachment topics.

  243. Yes he did it, but that's OK because he is above the law. White House lawyers are pretending actually to believe that anything a president does to win re-election is "in the public interest" simply by virtue of the office he holds, even as the GAO rules that his behavior is illegal.  This suggests that the President can do anything he pleases without being held to account. It not only gelds the constitutional provision for impeachment, it also legitimizes the naked solicitation of foreign interference, even of hostile powers, in our elections.  It justifies presidential treachery and degrades congressional mandates to the status of executive bargaining chips for partisan gain. The arguments from the presidential legal team are nothing short of jaw-droppingly cynical.  Such rationalization can only come from a brief whose arguments on evidentiary substance have totally fueled out. The case comes down to the proposition that the president is unimpeachable simply because he says so.  It is one thing for Trump to tear down the institutions of democratic governance; it is infinitely more treacherous for the entire Republican Party to enable it. With the whole GOP apparently in-tow, the legal spinners in the White House are putting this country's foreign policy up for sale. If this is the rationale on which the GOP hangs its hat, and if Americans endorse it at the polls, then civil society is lost for at least a generation, here at home with global ramifications.

  244. As crony as it is for hunter to have taken the deal, pundits talk about this as a norm in Washington. Bad, but a norm. If that is true, name names. Just like Bill Clinton had affairs, others on the right did the same and they were exposed. This would be good for our country to stop the way money is used to buy influence at the expense of good governance. Let hunter lead. Would he?

  245. It looks like acquittal will happen likely tomorrow. The GOP has apparently bought into the defense presented delusion that getting Trump re-elected is in the national interest and that, therefore, ANYTHING he does in order to get re-elected is in the national interest. The appalling nature of the assumption is too huge to take in. Even IF the belief that his re-election is in the national interest is presumed to be true, giving a POTUS free reign to absolutely anything and everything to accomplish that is destructive beyond measure (not to mention that it presumes that even breaking laws is ok because the nation so needs this particular individual for the next 4 years). Clearly the GOP senators have lost their minds.

  246. @Anne-Marie Hislop "Clearly the GOP senators have lost their minds." It is a gripping and convincing argument for many that Trump is divinely inspired. He alone through the guidance of God is meant to lead our country through these troubled times. Just like Lincoln, FDR. and Washington before him, God has placed Trump in the position of the Presidency for a reason. Look at the fire in the eyes of the followers at his rallies, they are true believers that he should have unlimited powers. These people will burn our democracy to the ground. Just like a deadly virus this logic is spreading.

  247. If it helps debunk Trump’s baseless allegations regarding Hunter Biden’s role at Burisma in Ukraine, and conspiracy theories alleging Democrats colluded with Ukraine to help Hillary Clinton win in 2016, Hunter Biden should testify. He could hardly make him or his father look any worse than Republicans have tried to make them. Trump’s defence lawyers have tried to paint the Bidens as corrupt in order to make Trump’s self-serving foreign policy look defensible. As long as Joe Biden remains in the presidential race, he is a thorn in Trump’s side, and baseless allegations against his son Hunter will dog him until November. Trump’s iron grip over the Republicans has to be broken, or else the country will become an autocracy. GOP senators fear his critical tweets, which could quickly send their career into a tailspin.

  248. @J. von Hettlingen You posted: "GOP senators fear his critical tweets, which could quickly send their career into a tailspin." So there we have it. They put their politics before country. I wonder how many of the GOP would vote to dump trump if the vote were by private ballot???

  249. My confusion is this: clearly the Republican senators know that what Trump did is wrong and impeachable and they know that if a Democrat did it, they would convict. So why don’t they group together, get rid of Trump and put Pence in place. He is their man anyway if they stick together and do what is right , Trump is gone and can’t hurt then

  250. It is a bizarre time-witnesses and evidence prohibited in a trial? Both sides -regardless of your political leaning have the responsibility for it to occur.I read Profiles in Courage many years ago-and other than Senator Heidi Heitkamp,I see none today in the political arena.

  251. A marvelous MARVELOUS column, and thanks a million to the NYT for bringing us Ms. Drew!

  252. The Hunter Biden controversy is a red herring and is simply a cover for Trump's misdeeds. There are three facts that cannot be disputed: One, that Biden is on the Burisma board because of his connections. Two, that the appointment of well-connected persons on boards, is a traditional technique of corporations to guarantee that they will be heard by political leaders. Three, that the presence or absence of expertise in the field has nothing to do with their appointment. While, I have no intention of comparing their merits, that is also the case of Condoleezza Rice's appointment to many boards (to cite one example out of a myriad) : She served on the board of directors for the Carnegie Corporation, the Charles Schwab Corporation, the Chevron Corporation, Hewlett Packard, the Rand Corporation, the Transamerica Corporation, and other organizations. Talented as Ms. Rice is, I don't think that she has expertise that would cover all of these appointments. So, just accept that the matter is simply a political ploy and I agree that Democrats should accept the challenge.

  253. @Frank Casa Comparing Hunter Biden to Condi Rice? Really? Hunter's resume is full of favors for Joe, from his education to employment.

  254. @JG Please, read the comment again, where I specifically said "I have no intention of comparing their merits". This has to do with the practice of corporations that seek to protect themselves by appointing people with clout.

  255. As soon as a Republican asked Hunter if he would have gotten that Burisma position if his last name weren’t Biden, every Democratic senator should hold up pictures of Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner. That would be what I call entertainment.

  256. Sadly, these guys don't play by even the rules they themselves write. They would take Hunter Biden, and then find a convenient if flimsy excuse not to call Mr. Bolton. Perversely, their excuse could take the form of "the White House is suppressing the book and we can therefore not hear the contents." Perfect doublespeak.