House impeachment managers stepped up calls for witnesses in the Trump impeachment trial after the New York Times reported that former National Security Adviser John Bolton’s forthcoming book directly contradicts Trump’s claim that held-up U.S. military aid was not tied to demands that Ukraine investigate his political opponent, Joe Biden.
The NYT reports: “Over dozens of pages, Mr. Bolton described how the Ukraine affair unfolded over several months until he departed the White House in September. He described not only the president’s private disparagement of Ukraine but also new details about senior cabinet officials who have publicly tried to sidestep involvement. … Mr. Bolton’s submission of the book to the White House may have given the White House lawyers direct insight into what Mr. Bolton would say if he were called to testify at Mr. Trump’s impeachment trial. It also intensified concerns among some of his advisers that they needed to block Mr. Bolton from testifying, according to two people familiar with their concerns.”
House impeachment managers issued a statement late on Sunday renewing calls for witnesses in the Senate trial: “The Senate trial must seek the full truth and Mr. Bolton has vital information to provide. There is no defensible reason to wait until his book is published, when the information he has to offer is critical to the most important decision senators must now make — whether to convict the president of impeachable offenses.”
Trump responded in tweets overnight:
Former White House press secretary Joe Lockhart told CNN New Day hosts Alisyn Camerota and John Berman that Senate Republicans will ignore these developments because they just want it over with.
“It’s obviously more likely that there will be witnesses, but that’s only because of as of Sunday afternoon, there was no chance there were going to be witnesses. I think Republicans were clearly signaling it all day Sunday that they had won this fight and they were willing to swallow the whatever bad press they’d get. … I still don’t know that it makes it extremely likely. Remember, the president’s defense, you say at the heart of the president’s defense, the president’s defense has changed a dozen times. This is just the most recent one. It does go to the heart of whether this is first-hand information. But I think most Republicans, probably the four that we have been concentrating on have made up their mind they just want this over and they’re willing to take a short-term hit.”