Congressional Democrats involved former national security adviser John Bolton to testify in President Trump’s impeachment trial following a replacement report that the president told Bolton last August that he wanted to withhold military aid to Ukraine unless it aided investigations into the Bidens.
The NY Times reported Sunday evening that in last summer’s conversation, Trump directly tied the holdup of nearly $400 million in military assistance to the investigations of former vice-chairman Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden. that’s consistent with an unpublished manuscript of Bolton’s forthcoming book, the days said.
The book, “The Room Where It Happened,” is scheduled for publication St Patrick’s Day but a White House review could plan to delay its publication or block a number of its contents.
Two people conversant in the book, who requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the project, confirmed that it details Trump tying aid to the will for Biden probes and details a variety of conversations about Ukraine that he had with Trump and key advisers, like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. They said Bolton is prepared to testify within the Senate impeachment trial.
In a joint statement, the seven House impeachment managers called the report “explosive” and urged the Senate, controlled by Republicans, to comply with call Bolton as a witness in Trump’s trial, which kicks off its second full week on Monday. Bolton has said that he would testify before the Senate if subpoenaed.
“The Senate trial must seek the complete truth and Mr. Bolton has vital information to supply,” the managers said during a statement Sunday. “There is not any defensible reason to attend until his book is published when the knowledge he has got to offer is critical to the foremost important decision senators must now make — whether to convict the president of impeachable offenses.”
Trump is unproved, facing two charges — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
The assertion from Bolton could undermine one core defense that has repeatedly been laid out by Trump, his defenders, and his legal team: that there was no explicit quid pro quo involved when the administration withheld the military assistance, also as a White House visit coveted by Ukraine.
The White House has said that Trump’s request for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to research the Bidens, also as a discredited theory that Ukraine interfered within the 2016 elections, was because he was curious about rooting out corruption which he did nothing improper.
The president’s legal defense is predicted to mount an active defense on Monday once they deliver a full day of arguments against the impeachment charges.
The revelation from the Bolton book was bound to roil the dynamics of the trial in the week when the Senate was expected to face a critical vote on whether to permit witnesses in the least.
Charles Cooper, a lawyer for Bolton, said he submitted the manuscript to the National Security Council’s records management division on Dec. 30 for a typical review process to look at potentially classified information. Cooper said they believed that the book manuscript didn’t include any classified material which its contents wouldn’t be shared with officials outside that review process.
“It is obvious, regrettably, from The NY Times article published today that the prepublication review process has been corrupted which information has been disclosed by persons aside from those properly involved in reviewing the manuscript,” Cooper said within the statement.
Sarah Tinsley, a spokeswoman for Bolton, added: “The ambassador has not passed the draft manuscript to anyone else. Period.”
Senate legislator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and lots of Senate Republicans would like the Senate to avoid witnesses, but a minimum of four GOP senators are seen as potential votes for favoring more testimony: Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Mitt Romney (Utah) and Lamar Alexander (Tenn.).
Romney and Collins have already indicated that they’re likely to support hearing from witnesses and getting more evidence, and Romney has also said that he would really like to listen to from Bolton.
“The odds of deposition for brand spanking new witnesses is certainly rising dramatically,” one senior Republican official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to candidly assess party dynamics, said Sunday evening after the publication of the days’ report.
“John Bolton has the evidence. It’s up to four Senate Republicans to make sure that John Bolton, Mick Mulvaney, and therefore the others with direct knowledge of President Trump’s actions testify within the Senate trial,” Senate legislator Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said during a tweet.