On Monday, CNN fact-checker John Avlon noted that former National Security Adviser John Bolton's book has blown up the talking points Republicans in Congress were using to paint the arguments in the Senate trial as a victory for President Donald Trump.
"After the defense team's arguments opened on Saturday, Republicans greeted cameras with talking points at the ready," said Avlon, playing clips of Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) both saying that White House lawyers "shredded" the case made by impeachment managers, as well as displaying a tweet from Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) that also used the word "shredded."
"Shredded, kind of like what happened to the defense team's argument about no witnesses directly knowing why Trump withheld military aid, after The New York Times obtained a draft manuscript with John Bolton's upcoming book, in which he clearly states that President Trump told him back in August he was linking the release of aid to the investigation into the Bidens. That should be the ballgame in terms of calling Bolton to testify, unless they are not really interested in finding out the facts."
Avlon then displayed quotes from Republicans who were in office at the time on the impeachment of President Bill Clinton.
"The full powers of the White House were unleashed to stonewall the process and attack the credibility of those who investigated him," said Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) at the time. "Anyone who votes to acquit has got to say we're going to hold this president to a lower standard of conduct and behavior that other people," said Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK). And now-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said the president "time after time chose the path of lies and lawlessness." And for good measure, Avlon noted that even Democrats at the time were open to the idea of censuring Clinton.
"Of course a censure resolution would require Republicans to admit, contrary to the president's insistence, the president did do something wrong," concluded Avlon. "It would state what Republicans know but are afraid to say. We do not want presidents of either party to ask a foreign power to dig up information on a political reality."