The simple facts, that too many lose sight of in all the yammering about a "quid pro quo", are these:
1. The Constitution makes it abundantly clear that foreign policy is the exclusive responsibility of the president. There are two explicit exceptions enumerated in the Constitution: Declarations of War and Confirmation of Treaties. That's it. We recently covered these constitutional principles (by republishing Professor Turner's outstanding law review article, with comments) in our give part Unconstitutional FISA series. FISA and foreign intelligence gathering generally, of course, is just one more aspect of foreign policy.
2. Foreign policy is always conducted according to the mutual interests of the parties (nations) involved. As such, there is always a quid pro quo than can be enunciated.
3. Legitimate law enforcement concerns of the United States do not stop at our borders--that's the reason we have extradition treaties, embassies and consulates, and FBI Legat offices overseas.
4. Running for office does not exempt a US person from the laws of the United States, nor from the operation of the president's powers and responsibilities in the field of foreign relations. Only the tin foil hat crowd of the Left--for who their ends justify any means no matter how damaging to our constitutional order--imagine otherwise.
Not long ago--January 19, 2020, to be precise--we commented on the Top NSC Staffer Escorted From WH. That NSC staffer was reporter Liz Peek's son, Andrew Peek, who had only recently been appointed as head of European and Russian affairs at the National Security Council (NSC). At the time we cited at length CTH's revelations about Peek's close ties to Deep State (Never Trump) figures. The assumption, of course, was that Peek had been removed from his position for leaking--and we all awaited revelations about what his leaks were.
Today CTH expresses the suspicion that most of us harbored as soon as the Bolton leak came out "officially"--that Peek was behind the leak of Bolton's book to the NYT: Another Carefully Timed National Security Council Leak? – John Bolton Book Manuscript Leaked to New York Times.
Bolton had, as was required, submitted his book to the NSC for pre-publication review regarding any possibly classified material. I will add one fairly obvious factor which offers strong circumstantial support for CTH's view that Peek leaked Bolton's book: Peek, as head of European and Russia affairs at the NSC, would have had responsibility over the review of Bolton's book.
The bottom line is that, while this may lend support to those who wish Bolton to testify at the Senate's Impeachment Theater, it adds nothing at all to the legal and constitutional issues. It does, however, also lend strong support to those who also wish to bring the Bidens and other witnesses to the Ukraine Hoax before the Senate. To include Vindman, Ciaramella, and all the rest. Maybe even such Ukraine involved figures as Glenn Simpson and Nellie Ohr. I'd be very much surprised if Trump's team is not fully prepared for this, so the leak--and Schiff's predictable call for Bolton to testify--may turn out to be another object lesson in being careful what one wishes for.
UPDATE 1: (H/T one of my brothers) Ann Althouse--former professor of Constitutional Law--has a (mostly) pretty shrewd blog on all this today: Why can't John Bolton's publisher just release the book ahead of schedule so we're not subjected to second-hand reports of what's in it? Excerpt:
According to the NYT article, Trump has had the book since December 30. The book is no surprise to Trump.
Notice how cagily the first paragraph of the NYT article is written:
President Trump told his national security adviser in August that he wanted to continue freezing $391 million in security assistance to Ukraine until officials there helped with investigations into Democrats including the Bidens, according to an unpublished manuscript by the former adviser, John R. Bolton.
Did Trump even mention Joe Biden in that conversation?
AND: Why doesn't John Bolton just do an interview? I don't accept the answer: He's following his predetermined plan for marketing his book. He says he'd testify at the trial, but why keep it a secret and let Senators decide whether his input is included or not?
ALSO: Trump has some new tweets (1, 2, 3):
I NEVER told John Bolton that the aid to Ukraine was tied to investigations into Democrats, including the Bidens. In fact, he never complained about this at the time of his very public termination. If John Bolton said this, it was only to sell a book. With that being said, the transcripts of my calls with President Zelensky are all the proof that is needed, in addition to the fact that President Zelensky & the Foreign Minister of Ukraine said there was no pressure and no problems. Additionally, I met with President Zelensky at the United Nations (Democrats said I never met) and released the military aid to Ukraine without any conditions or investigations - and far ahead of schedule. I also allowed Ukraine to purchase Javelin anti-tank missiles. My Administration has done far more than the previous Administration.
And he retweets this from Sean Davis (1, 2):
Just like James Comey, John Bolton is trying to get rich off of a lie- and leak-fueled campaign to overturn the 2016 election results. I suspect it will work out as well as all of Bolton’s other wars.
John Bolton is running the exact same revenge playbook against Trump that James Comey used. He’s even using the same agent and leaking to the same reporters. All because he’s mad Trump fired him for leaking and trying to start new wars. It’s so boring and predictable.
Trump also retweets this from Mollie Hemingway:
This is obviously book promo coordinated with compliant media, yes. But an additional word of skepticism: these *particular* folks have a pattern of overpromising and underachieving with their "bombshell" anti-Trump book roll outs.
To which I'll simply add this question: Does it bother you, knowing that a person--I won't say "man"--like Bolton was so close to the levers of power for so long?
UPDATE 2: Via Breitbart:
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) revealed Saturday he has drafted motions to subpoena former Vice President Joe Biden, his youngest son Hunter Biden, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA), and the so-called “whistleblower.”
Hawley will attempt to force a vote on the subpoenas if the Senate approves additional witnesses and documents as part of the upper chamber’s trial.
Hawley would also seek communications among the whistleblower, Schiff and his staff, transcripts of Atkinson’s congressional testimony, communications between the House impeachment managers and Democratic presidential candidates as well as documents related to Biden’s drive to oust former Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin.
The Missouri Republican’s pledge mirrors one made by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who earlier this month threatened to force a vote on subpoenaing Hunter Biden and the so-called “whistleblower” if Republicans grant the Democrats’ demand for more witnesses.
Paul explained, per Politico:
If you vote against Hunter Biden, you’re voting to lose your election, basically. Seriously. That’s what it is. If you don’t want to vote and you think you’re going to have to vote against Hunter Biden, you should just vote against witnesses, period.
Rand Paul makes a compelling argument.