The Mother Jones Podcast: Trump Is Going to Get off Scot-Free—or Is He?

“I think this whole process has been bad for Trump and bad for them.”

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There’s still more milk to spill on the Senate floor. President Donald Trump’s impeachment defense has rested after less than 24 hours of astonishing misrepresentations of the the facts, and vitriolic broadsides against the process and the Democrats. So now it’s time to tally the votes: Can Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s majority hold to prevent new witnesses from being called? He seems worried, telling a private meeting of his lawmakers on Tuesday night he didn’t yet have the numbers to stop it. So, where does that leave us? 

“Of course, the big question is: Will there be witnesses?” David Corn tells the Mother Jones Podcast.

In these final days and hours of the Trump impeachment saga, bombshells keep exploding. A leak this week of former National Security Adviser John Bolton’s book manuscript heightened pressure on the handful of Republican senators able to green-light new evidence, or allow the trial to come to a speedy conclusion. “Here we have John Bolton, who is apparently prepared to testify,” says Corn. “And according to the book he will say, ‘Hey! He told me! I’m your first-hand witness. I heard this directly from the president. Quid pro quo, pressuring, muscling, extortion, whatever you want to call it. I heard it!'”

Listen to Washington DC Bureau Chief David Corn discuss John Bolton, breakaway Republican senators, and the final days of the Trump impeachment saga, on this week’s episode of the Mother Jones Podcast:

And then what? On today’s show, you’ll hear Mother Jones’ DC bureau chief David Corn attempt to answer the burning questions at the center of this week’s drama: What does John Bolton know? Will any Republican Senators defect from the party line? And even, if all this happens, will it matter?

“I don’t know how many Americans really need to put themselves through the act of watching Kenneth Starr go on and on in his shower of hypocrisy,” says Corn. “If you were to call witnesses, if you have John Bolton up there or bring back Gordon Sondland—you know, the stars of the House impeachment inquiry—people would certainly tune in to watch that.”

The Trump presidency has been marked by scandal, corruption, and dirty deals. These next few days will determine if the most serious Constitutional action possible to remove a president from office will become just another Trump scandal he emerges from relatively unscathed, or if this will be a real moment of reckoning.  

“I think this whole process has been bad for Trump and bad for them,” says Corn. “Unless you’re part of the Trump cult, the fact pattern established by the hearings is pretty clear. It made the Republicans turn themselves into pretzels to try to defend this.” 

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TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

The bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. And advertising or profit-driven ownership groups will never make time-intensive, in-depth reporting viable.

That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

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