Why John Bolton’s "bombshell" really isn’t

That it is being played up by the press as such a bombshell is, in part, an artifact of the decisions of the president and his own team.

In Washington scandals, often what becomes important is determined by what is conceded and not by whomever is being investigated. It determines what the ­investigators will focus on proving, what will become tests of credibility, what the press will deem especially newsworthy.

In the Ukraine matter, Trump has conceded nothing. He insists that his call with Zelensky was “perfect” and that there was “no quid pro quo.” This makes any revelation to the contrary damaging when it rightfully should be considered, in that scandal cliché, old news.

Good defense lawyers would never go down this route of denying the obvious. It is unnecessary to the task at hand of getting an ­acquittal in the Senate. But the White House team is constrained by Trump’s smash-mouth instinct for total denial and total war, leaving them no option but to contest the underlying facts and complicate their own argument.