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Romney, Collins Push for Witnesses After John Bolton's Book Rocks Impeachment Trial

01-27-2020
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Several key Republican senators spoke out Monday morning about President Donald Trump's impeachment trial, hinting that there's an increased desire to call witnesses in a move that would prolong the trial and add a new degree of uncertainty to the outcome.

GOP Sen. Mitt Romney led the way saying it is “increasingly apparent it is important to hear” from former national security adviser John Bolton about a leak from his upcoming book that appears to undercut a key defense argument.

GOP Sen. Susan Collins agreed about calling Bolton, tweeting, "I’ve always said that I was likely to vote to call witnesses, just as I did in the 1999 Clinton trial." 

In The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir, The New York Times reports Bolton writes that President Trump "wanted to continue freezing $391 million in security assistance to Ukraine until officials there helped with investigations into Democrats including the Bidens."

But Deputy White House Counsel Michael Purpura asked how there could have been a quid quo with Ukraine when the Ukrainians were not even aware that the security assistance was paused. 

Purpura told the Senate, "There can't be a threat without the person knowing he's being threatened. There can't be a quid pro quo without the quo."

President Trump flatly denied the claims from Bolton's book, tweeting, 

"I NEVER told John Bolton that the aid to Ukraine was tied to investigations into Democrats, including the Bidens."

Saturday, President Trump's lawyers began their defense in the impeachment trial.

The president's attorney Jay Sekulow told senators, "We intend to show over the next several days that the evidence is actually really overwhelming that the President did nothing wrong."

And as for the charge of obstruction of Congress, White House Deputy Counsel Patrick Philbin said the subpoenas issued by Schiff's committees were invalid because they were not authorized by the full House, "because under long-settled precedent, there had to be a vote from the House to have authority and the administration would not respond to subpoenas which were invalid."

Meanwhile, President Trump lashed out at House impeachment manager Adam Schiff, tweeting, 

"Shifty Adam Schiff is a CORRUPT POLITICIAN, and probably a very sick man. He has not paid the price, yet, for what he has done to our Country!

Schiff told NBC's Meet The Press he considered the tweet a threat, telling Meet the Press, "This is a wrathful and vindictive president. I don't think there's any doubt about it." 

John Bolton has said he will testify if subpoenaed by the Senate. Democrats say reports about his new book show that Bolton must testify. President Trump says House Democrats should have done their job when it was their responsibility:

 

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