Senate GOP leaders headed into a meeting on Monday were by turns dismissive, reserved or testy about the reported revelations in former national security adviser John Bolton’s book.
In addition to the Senate Republican leadership team, Sens. Mike Braun of Indiana, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Rob Portman of Ohio and Mike Lee of Utah huddled in Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office before Monday’s trial session began.
“Every day we have selected release of selected information. It’s like the Kavanaugh all over again – something new every day,” said Sen. John Barrasso (R., Wyo.), the third ranking Republican in the Senate, referring to the Supeme Court nomination hearings in 2018 for Brett Kavanaugh.
“We have the same thing happening today. There’s nothing new here other than what we’ve heard some of the other witnesses that were presented by the House.”
Sen. John Cornyn of Texas said he, too, was not ready to believe the reporting on what Mr. Bolton wrote in his book. “I don’t know what he said. All I know is what the New York Times reported,” Mr. Cornyn said.
“I don’t think John Bolton has said that,” sais Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa. “This is a leak. So we’ll find out more later.”
Mr. Portman said he’s going to wait to make a decision on witnesses after the opening phase of the trial is complete. He said he’s known Mr. Bolton a long time. “I have respect for him.”
Sen. John Thune (R., S.D.) said the Bolton news came as a surprise.
“I guess you sort of suspected stuff like this is going to happen in this environment but yeah I mean it’s surprising,” he told reporters.
Mr. Thune, whose job as GOP whip is to count votes, said he expected the vote on witnesses to come Friday or Saturday after a period of written questions from senators. He would not say that he’s confident that Republicans will have enough votes to prevent subpoenas of witnesses and documents. It would only take four GOP senators voting with all Democrats to pass such allow such additional evidence.
“Well, I’m never confident until they cast em,” Mr. Thune said. “So, we’ll see.”