Republican leaders are privately worried about the implications of former National Security Advisor John Bolton possibly testifying before the Senate impeachment trial, as his doing so could result in the demand for more witnesses to be heard.
The prospects of Bolton being compelled to testify increased substantially over the weekend, after news reports provided details of an excerpt from a book he’s planning to publish this spring. In “The Room Where It Happened,” Bolton claims that Trump told him directly that the holdup for funds to Ukraine was done precisely to compel that nation to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden, confirming House Democrats’ case of an abuse of power by the president, and the center of what the impeachment trial is all about, the New York Times reported.
Bolton alleges Trump told him that “he wanted to continue freezing $391 million in security assistance to Ukraine until officials there helped with investigations into Democrats including the Bidens,”
As a result of that revelation, House managers released a joint statement on Sunday demanding that Bolton be allowed to testify at the Senate trial, reporting from the Washington Post detailed.
“The Senate trial must seek the full truth and Mr. Bolton has vital information to provide,” they wrote. “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.”
The revelation challenges the defense offered up by Trump and his attorneys in his Senate impeachment trial and raises the stakes as the chamber decides this week whether to seek sworn testimony from Bolton and other witnesses. https://t.co/Vg0QpOEDSo
— PBS NewsHour (@NewsHour) January 27, 2020
If Bolton testifies during the trial, however, it could result in more subpoenas being issued to former and current Trump administration officials, as well as testimony being requested of known associates of Trump’s — including Lev Parnas, who allegedly worked with Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani in order to push the Ukraine shadow policy of compelling investigations using promised military aide to that nation.
“There is a sense in the Senate that if one witness is allowed, the floodgates are open,” a Republican source told Axios.
In order to get agreement within the Republican-controlled Senate to have additional witnesses testify, at least 4 Republican senators would have to join with Democrats to vote in favor of the idea. Impeachment trials in the senate are unique in that, while Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell sets the rules for the event, the rules can be changed with fewer procedural hurdles.
Trump, for his own part, has decried Bolton’s latest revelation, labeling it as an attempt to make money off of a book deal.
Bolton “never complained about this at the time of his very public termination,” Trump said in a tweet on Sunday evening. “If John Bolton said this, it was only to sell a book.”
I NEVER told John Bolton that the aid to Ukraine was tied to investigations into Democrats, including the Bidens. In fact, he never complained about this at the time of his very public termination. If John Bolton said this, it was only to sell a book. With that being said, the…
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 27, 2020