The Times says that the order from Trump came at a meeting attended by Bolton, Cipollone, and acting chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney. Mulvaney’s involvement in the Ukraine plot has been evident from the beginning, as he directed the withholding of funds from Ukraine through the Office of Management and Budget. Bolton had previously referred to the whole affair as a “drug deal” dreamed up by Mulvaney.
But the claim that Cipollone—officially the lead counsel in Trump’s impeachment defense—was directly involved in the events at the core of the case should be explosive. Cipollone has been standing in front of the Senate denying that there are firsthand witnesses available, when he himself is a firsthand witness. He’s been denying facts of which he is a fact witness.
His direct involvement in the Ukraine plot should be an enormous siren sounding through the Senate proceedings. In legal terms alone, it’s indefensible.
However, since Republicans have already determined that the House team has proved its case, and they’re sticking with the Dershowitz Defense that Trump can do as he pleases … it’s not at all clear that learning that Trump’s lead counsel has been directly, repeatedly lying and covering up information right to the Senate’s face will have even a tiny effect.