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This is correct on the law, but incorrect as a matter of trial strategy, and the Senate trial is still a trial. You do *not* want to call a witness at trial whose testimony you can in no way predict in advance. Bolton or Mulvaney could blow up the Democrats—they wouldn't risk it.
1/ While common sense tells us that Bolton and Mulvaney would have rushed to testify if they had any information beneficial to Trump, the fact remains that they could say whatever they wanted at an impeachment trial because there is no prior testimony with which to confront them.
2/ Rather, it's the *defense* team that has nothing to lose by throwing as much irrelevant spaghetti against the wall of public opinion as possible, *particularly* by calling Alexandra Chalupa to testify about acting as a conduit between the Ukrainian embassy and the DNC in 2016.
3/ My point is that, looking at this as someone who was involved in high-volume trial advocacy for many years, you want your case to be as tight as possible if you believe that your case is strong, whereas a certain looseness is permissible if your facts present no clear defense.
4/ What Democrats most need to prepare are their objections to various irrelevant witnesses the White House would like to call. Chalupa, for instance, would be worthy of objection because *none* of Trump's actions were inspired by Chalupa's, and we've no evidence to the contrary.
5/ Trump is on record saying he sees no problem with he, his family, or his agents getting info directly from foreign nationals, and he's also on record happily accepting public pre-election *endorsements* from foreign nationals, so he's no cause to be upset at Chalupa's actions.
6/ So if the GOP tries to mount a defense suggesting Trump had cause to withhold aid to Ukraine to encourage broad-based corruption investigations in Ukraine regarding election meddling, they're stuck with focusing on two *laughable* conspiracy theories: Crowdstrike and Burisma.
7/ The GOP can't argue that any/everything Ukraine has done in the last 5 years is suddenly relevant to an impeachment trial because Trump *theoretically* could've been influenced by such actions. There'd have to be evidence, first, Trump's thinking was influenced by these items.
8/ To get such evidence admitted, Trump would have to call his co-conspirators to get them to testify that he *privately* was inspired in this *particular* bribery-solicitation scheme by things he never discussed with Zelensky, and of a type he's previously said are *totally OK*.
9/ Now, everything I've said here about trial strategy goes out the window if the Democrats become convinced that Trump will be able to call Chalupa and friendly witnesses like Telizhenko who'll detail conspiracy theories Trump never said his bribery solicitation was inspired by.
10/ Democrats might decide—in that case—that they need a Hail Mary to counter the evidentiary smokescreen Trump had created as to alleged Ukrainian activities in 2016. That'd be the one thing that might cause Democrats to call witnesses whose testimony they don't know in advance.
11/ I'll say the chances this impeachment trial are a monstrous circus that makes us all feel embarrassed to be watching it are very high. To be clear, that's because creating a circus will be *part of Trump's defense strategy*—*not* due to how Democrats will conduct themselves.
12/ One thing that's important to understand about the impeachment process is that from beginning to end—at least as compared to a conventional criminal case—*everything* is slanted *in the president's favor*. Trump's complaints re: being victimized are *obscene* for this reason.
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