Actually, the first “next crisis” has already arrived. The New York Times reported Friday that, in his forthcoming book, former National Security Adviser John Bolton writes that Trump first tried to put the squeeze on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in early May 2019—and White House Counsel Pat Cipollone was a witness in the very room where the plot was hatched. Even as Cipollone argued on the president’s behalf that witnesses were unnecessary, he was plausibly alleged to be a crucial fact witness by another fact witness.
This double-dealing will surely trigger a new battle to compel testimony from Bolton and Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney—and perhaps to discipline Cipollone for unethical legal conduct. During impeachment proceedings, Bolton and Mulvaney defied congressional subpoenas; now there’s yet more urgency to determine what the president’s team of lawyers actually knew at the time they were making Trump’s case before the Senate.
Then will come the crisis of the administration’s battle to suppress Bolton’s book—and all the other narratives that current insiders may want to tell in order to clear their own besmirched reputations. Does Mulvaney enjoy being the designated sucker in chief of this story? Maybe not.