If the Trump defense had taken the position that we should assume for argument’s sake that the president put pressure on Ukraine but, in the end, he folded, the Bolton revelation would be a big nothing. The president’s team could have said it is just more of what we already knew.
They could have stayed on the ground where they are strongest: Nothing happened. All foreign policy involves pressure and quid pro quo. There is a good-faith basis to suspect the Bidens were involved in corrupt self-dealing. It is ridiculous to suggest that Ukraine’s defense, let alone American national security, was in any way compromised. President Trump has done much more to protect Ukraine from Russia than President Obama and the Democrats did — indeed, some of the Democratic House impeachment managers voted against the very aid to Ukraine, the brief, inconsequential withholding of which they now feign outrage about.
The president’s team could also have focused their energy on another key point that has gotten no attention: The claim that a Ukrainian investigation of the Bidens would have materially hurt Biden’s presidential campaign is specious.