Is a crime not a crime if the most powerful man in the world commits it? Are laws no longer the laws if a Republican president decides they get in his way?

These are the questions of the moment and our Republican-led Senate have come up with a simple answer to them: no investigation is needed, no witnesses need to be called when the most powerful man in the world is accused of wrong doing. 

Instead, they are simply stonewalling. They are trying to change the subject. They are banging the table and crying outrage. They have even suggested that some people are above petty questioning, that they are simply too big to fail.

But young people are watching this dumbshow. They are watching as a lifelong grifter, a man who was literally handed almost everything he owns, bully, corrupt and intimidate far better men and women, diminishing their honor, until the United States looks more like a criminal enterprise run by a swaggering mafia don instead of a president.

It has been instructive and if I'm honest occasionally horrifying to see just how easily our historic Senate has fallen to this oily charlatan and his braying red hatted cronies.

One by one the Republican senate has lined up behind party and president, all the while knowing in their head and hearts that he is unarguably guilty of the accusations he faces. 

They have done this because they fear the wrath of his voters more than they fear the Constitution or their own conscience. Because they have been so daily harassed by the Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and all the talking heads in the right-wing media. Because all the loud voices have stopped them listening to their small inner one.

The New York Times reported on Sunday that Trump advisor John Bolton has made a series of explosive claims about the president's conduct regarding the Ukraine in his new book which is scheduled to be released on March 17.

Bolton writes that he heard Trump say explicitly that he would withhold military aid to the Ukraine until it announced an investigation into the Bidens. That claim directly implicates Trump in a quid pro quo, contradicting the White House's entire defense.

But Bolton goes further. He writes that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said privately to him that there was no reason to believe the then ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch was corrupt, suggesting that the White House had simply conducted a smear campaign to remove her and that Pompeo had clearly recognized it as such, although he didn't defend her publicly.

Bolton also implicates acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney in the chicanery, claiming he was present for one of Trump's calls with Rudy Giuliani about targeting Yovanovitch, even though Mulvaney told his associates he stayed out of those conversations to protect Trump's and Giuliani's attorney-client privilege.

So Bolton is singing out like a canary in other words and he has kept the receipts, demolishing the key points of the Trump team's defense. And all of this is happening just weeks after Ukrainian American business Lev Parnas produced his own documentation and audio to back his own claims about the president's wrongdoing.

Suddenly McConnell's plan for a quick and witness free acquittal isn't looking so smart. As all of this damning new evidence keeps coming out, connecting all of this wrongdoing to Trump, meaning a vote now against permitting Bolton or Parnas to take the stand will look like what it actually is, a coverup.

When you're the president you can do whatever you want Trump has famously remarked, insisting that the Constitution permits it. “I have an Article II, where I have to the right to do whatever I want as president,” he has said. He is, of course, wrong about that, but Constitutional checks on presidential power only work if we have a Senate with the will to enforce them. That's not what we have here.

Perhaps the only solution now is to have Bolton testify publicly as he claims he wants to. If Bolton is lying as Trump insists, then the time has come to let him make his claims under oath. He has already indicated that he's willing to. We all need to hear him speak.

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