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Donald J. Trump Senate Impeachment Trial Page 2
Donald J. Trump has been impeached by the house will be tried in the Senate. Mitch McConnell (aka Moscow Mitch) and GOP Senators will make a mockery of our Republic to protect Donald J. Trump. Mitch McConnell (aka Moscow Mitch) and GOP Senators are giving Trump a pass read below to find out more.
By Meg Wagner, Veronica Rocha and Mike Hayes, CNN
KICK MECrimes, conspiracies, and off-the-book ops—that’s just a taste of what an impeachment acquittal could usher in, U.S. officials and Senate Democrats fear.By Sam Brodey - Congressional Reporter, Erin Banco - National Security ReporterLate into Wednesday’s session of the Senate impeachment trial, Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) asked a question of President Trump’s defense team: did they think foreign involvement in U.S. elections was illegal? The Trump team’s reply: nope. “Mere information is not something that would violate the campaign finance laws,” responded White House Deputy Counsel Patrick Philbin. “The idea that any information that happens to come from overseas is necessarily campaign interference is a mistake,” Philbin calmly suggested. The question was asked with a focus on Trump’s open encouragement of Russian help in the 2016 election. And it was answered against the backdrop of Trump’s impeachment for abuse of power—his attempts to strong-arm Ukraine into investigating his political rival by withholding U.S. aid. The Government Accountability Office recently found that such withholding was illegal. And federal law prohibits U.S. political campaigns from taking a “contribution or donation of money or anything of value” from foreign entities. The information Trump sought in Ukraine would seem to be quite valuable indeed. To many senators listening, these arguments flung open the doors for Trump, or any future president or candidate for office, to engage in that kind of behavior again, knowing that it had been defended by White House lawyers on the Senate floor. Earlier that day, Trump lawyer Alan Dershowitz had already gone even further, arguing that Trump could justify his actions with the reasonable belief that his re-election would be in the country’s interest.
Republican legislators abdicated their duty by refusing to seek the truth.By The Editorial BoardAlas, no one ever lost money betting on the cynicism of today’s congressional Republicans. On Friday evening, Republican senators voted in near lock step to block testimony from any new witnesses or the production of any new documents, a vote that was tantamount to an acquittal of the impeachment charges against President Trump. The move can only embolden the president to cheat in the 2020 election. The vote also brings the nation face to face with the reality that the Senate has become nothing more than an arena for the most base and brutal — and stupid — power politics. Faced with credible evidence that a president was abusing his powers, it would not muster the institutional self-respect to even investigate. The week began with such promise, or at least with the possibility the Senate might not abdicate its constitutional duty. Leaks from John Bolton’s forthcoming book about his time in the White House appeared to confirm the core of the impeachment case against Mr. Trump: his extortion of Ukraine by explicitly conditioning hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid on the announcement of investigations into his political rival.
By Dana MilbankIn the end, they didn’t even pretend to take their oaths seriously. Senators were instructed “to be in attendance at all times” during President Trump’s impeachment trial. But as the Democratic House managers made their last, fruitless appeals Friday for the Senate to bring witnesses and documents, several of the body’s 53 Republican senators didn’t even bother to show up. “A trial is supposed to be a quest for the truth,” lead manager Adam Schiff (N.Y.) pleaded. Thirteen GOP senators were missing as he said this. Sens. Kevin Cramer (N.D.), Joni Ernst (Iowa) and Ron Johnson (Wis.) chewed gum. Manager Val Demings (Fla.) reminded them that this would be the “only time in history” that an impeachment trial was held without witnesses or relevant documents. Twelve Republican senators were missing. Josh Hawley (Mo.), Dan Sullivan (Alaska) and Tom Cotton (Ark.) joined in the chewing. “The American people deserve to hear the truth,” insisted manager Sylvia Garcia (Tex.). By now, 15 Republican senators were missing. Manager Hakeem Jeffries (N.Y.) spoke from the well. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), wearing cotton chinos for the occasion, perused a magazine. “Please don’t give up,” manager Zoe Lofgren (Calif.) urged. “This is too important.” Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) stuck a finger in his left nostril. Johnson waved a hand dismissively and shared a chuckle with Cramer. Fully 20 Republican senators were missing. At the start of the impeachment trial, Trump’s Senate allies limited media coverage to hide from public scrutiny. Then they made sure the trial would end without a single witness called or a single document requested. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), the clinching vote against witnesses, declared before Friday’s session began, “I don’t believe the continuation of this process will change anything.”
By Marty JohnsonLev Parnas's attorney penned a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) Friday detailing what his testimony would add to the impeachment trial of President Trump, even as the Senate appears prepared to vote down bringing in new witnesses. In the letter, Joseph Bondy tells McConnell that Parnas, an indicted associate of Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, would be able to tell the Senate information that is "directly relevant to the President's impeachment inquiry," specifically regarding Parnas's relationship with Trump and Giuliani as well as his "actions in Ukraine on behalf of the President, as directed by Mr. Giuliani." The three-page correspondence goes into detail about Parnas's actions in Ukraine as well as those who were privy to what he was doing. The contents are similar to what Parnas said in his sit-down interview with MSNBC's Rachel Maddow two weeks ago. Both the letter and interview indicate that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former Energy Secretary Rick Perry and several other officials within the Trump administration were aware of the pressure campaign in Ukraine that is at the center of Trump's impeachment.
Trump’s former chief of staff says Senate impeachment trial without witnesses is ‘a job only half done’By Jonathan D. Salant | NJ Advance Media for NJ.comWASHINGTON — A Senate vote to end President Donald Trump’s impeachment proceedings without calling witnesses should be considered “half a trial,” the president’s former chief of staff John Kelly said Friday. “In my view, they kind of leave themselves open to a lot of criticism,” Kelly said in an interview with NJ Advance Media in advance of his Feb. 12 appearance at Drew University’s Drew Forum speaker series at the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown. “It seems it was half a trial,” Kelly said. Kelly said he believed former National Security Adviser John Bolton’s assertion that Trump withheld congressionally approved aid to Ukraine to pressure that government into investigating former Vice President Joe Biden, a leading candidate for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. Bolton, who made the claims in an unpublished book reported by the New York Times, was “a copious note taker” and was “an honest guy and an honorable guy,” Kelly said.
By Richard WolffeHow can Republicans pretend to the world that their vision of America – where a president can happily use military aid to coerce a foreign government to smear his political rival in an election – is the model for democracy? Jared Kushner is a genius. It’s all too easy to overlook the sheer brilliance of Donald Trump’s son-in-law, not least when he rolls out a Middle East peace plan that destroys the concepts of both the Israeli and Palestinian states. But for his rapier-like ability to capture the zeitgeist, there’s no one quite like the young slumlord to tell it like it really is. Speaking to CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, Kushner talked dramatically about this week as a time for leaders to step up. Think fake news isn't a real problem? Look at Senator John Kennedy “What we’ve done is create an opportunity for their leadership to either seize or not,” he explained. “If they screw up this opportunity – which again, they have a perfect track record of missing opportunities – if they screw this up, I think they will have a very hard time looking the international community in the face, saying they are the victims, saying they have rights.” Kushner thought he was talking about the Palestinians, in a gloriously brazen blend of racism and gold-leafed ignorance.
By The Times Editorial BoardThe facts are damning and the case is clear. It is time for the U.S. Senate to convict President Trump, remove him from office and disqualify him from holding any “office of honor, trust or profit under the United States.” Not because he’s a Republican. Not because of his conservative policies. Not as a way to nullify the outcome of the 2016 election. But because he engaged in high crimes and misdemeanors of exactly the sort the founders had in mind when they created the impeachment process in the U.S. Constitution. The details of those crimes have been laid out a thousand times, but here they are again: Congress voted to give $391 million to Ukraine, an ally that was at war, defending itself against Russia. But Trump withheld that money in a clear violation — an illegal violation — of Congress’ express wishes. He did so not because he had foreign policy disagreements with Congress, but because he hoped to extort from Ukraine’s president what he called “a favor” in return for the money — the announcement of an investigation into groundless accusations against former Vice President Joe Biden that he believed could be useful to him in winning reelection. In other words, he hijacked national security and foreign policy to induce Ukraine to take actions to smear a prospective political opponent. He abused the power of his office to benefit himself personally. Then, as the second article of impeachment makes clear, he sought to stonewall the investigation by refusing to release documents and ordering his subordinates not to testify in the House inquiry.
By Jordain CarneySenate Republicans rejected a mid-trial effort to call witnesses and documents on Friday, paving the way for President Trump’s acquittal on two articles of impeachment passed by the House. Senators voted 49-51, with Republican Sens. Mitt Romney (Utah) and Susan Collins (Maine) breaking ranks to join Democrats in voting for witnesses. Fifty-one votes were needed to approve witnesses. The vote is a significant win for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Trump, letting them bypass a messy floor fight over hearing testimony from former national security adviser John Bolton and other witnesses. The GOP leader has said publicly and privately that he did not want witnesses, warning that it set up a “mutually assured destruction” because both sides would call controversial witnesses. "There is no need for the Senate to re-open the investigation which the House Democratic majority chose to conclude and which the Managers themselves continue to describe as 'overwhelming' and 'beyond any doubt,'" McConnell said.
By Jennifer RubinSen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) tried to explain his decision to reject witnesses in what now becomes a sham trial not only designed to acquit President Trump but also to shield him from damning evidence: There is no need for more evidence to prove that the president asked Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter; he said this on television on October 3, 2019, and during his July 25, 2019, telephone call with the president of Ukraine. There is no need for more evidence to conclude that the president withheld United States aid, at least in part, to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Bidens; the House managers have proved this with what they call a ‘mountain of overwhelming evidence.’ There is no need to consider further the frivolous second article of impeachment that would remove the president for asserting his constitutional prerogative to protect confidential conversations with his close advisers. The question then is not whether the president did it, but whether the United States Senate or the American people should decide what to do about what he did. I believe that the Constitution provides that the people should make that decision in the presidential election that begins in Iowa on Monday. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) explained that in Alexander’s tortured statement finding Trump’s conduct “inappropriate,” he in essence rejected both the “perfect call” and “So what?” defenses from Team Trump:
The president asked his national security adviser last spring in front of other senior advisers to pave the way for a meeting between Rudolph Giuliani and Ukraine’s new leader.By Maggie Haberman and Michael S. SchmidtWASHINGTON — More than two months before he asked Ukraine’s president to investigate his political opponents, President Trump directed John R. Bolton, then his national security adviser, to help with his pressure campaign to extract damaging information on Democrats from Ukrainian officials, according to an unpublished manuscript by Mr. Bolton. Mr. Trump gave the instruction, Mr. Bolton wrote, during an Oval Office conversation in early May that included the acting White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, the president’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani and the White House counsel, Pat A. Cipollone, who is now leading the president’s impeachment defense. Mr. Trump told Mr. Bolton to call Volodymyr Zelensky, who had recently won election as president of Ukraine, to ensure Mr. Zelensky would meet with Mr. Giuliani, who was planning a trip to Ukraine to discuss the investigations that the president sought, in Mr. Bolton’s account. Mr. Bolton never made the call, he wrote. The previously undisclosed directive that Mr. Bolton describes would be the earliest known instance of Mr. Trump seeking to harness the power of the United States government to advance his pressure campaign against Ukraine, as he later did on the July call with Mr. Zelensky that triggered a whistle-blower complaint and impeachment proceedings. House Democrats have accused him of abusing his authority and are arguing their case before senators in the impeachment trial of Mr. Trump, whose lawyers have said he did nothing wrong. The account in Mr. Bolton’s manuscript portrays the most senior White House advisers as early witnesses in the effort that they have sought to distance the president from. And disclosure of the meeting underscores the kind of information Democrats were looking for in seeking testimony from his top advisers in their impeachment investigation, including Mr. Bolton and Mr. Mulvaney, only to be blocked by the White House.
‘DAY OF POMPEO’The Secretary of State says he's against corruption in Ukraine. But he didn't defend U.S. diplomats who fought it. Now the joint investigation of Yovanovitch surveillance is off.By Anna NemtsovaKYIV—Many Ukrainians—especially those in the government— were nervous on Thursday as they awaited the arrival of U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the first high-ranking U.S. government official to visit since the infamous phone conversation last July between Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky and President Donald Trump. As the impeachment storm that grew out of that phone call continues to swirl around Trump, Kyiv fears that Ukraine will be dragged even deeper into the maelstrom, weakening its defenses against Russia, and perhaps undermining the fight against pervasive corruption. While on the surface, official Washington policy is supportive of Ukraine in both those efforts, Trump has tried to equate the struggle against corruption with his explicit desire, expressed in that July 25 phone call (PDF), to have investigations focus attention on his political rival Joe Biden and various conspiracy theories pushed by Russian propaganda. As he was promoting that narrow program, he also withheld vitally needed military aid from Ukraine. Led by Trump’s personal lawyer, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, several Ukrainians out to curry favor with the U.S. president and undermine their own rivals here helped promote Trump’s pet theories. They also worked successfully to get veteran U.S. Amb. Marie Yovanovitch removed from her post and may have tried to put her under surveillance.
Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large(CNN) When the Senate impeachment trial began on January 21, two things seemed certain -- or at least very, very likely:1) There would be witnesses called by both sides.2) The trial would still be going when President Donald Trump came to Capitol Hill to deliver his State of the Union address two weeks later on February 4.With Tennessee GOP Sen. Lamar Alexander's announcement late Thursday night that he would vote against calling witnesses, it now looks very, very likely that not only will there be no witnesses -- the first time that has been the case in a Senate impeachment trial -- but that the entire trial could wrap up by Friday night or early Saturday morning. How? One man: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. From beginning to (what looks like the) end, the Kentucky Republican has carefully -- and quietly -- executed a strategy designed to keep his conference in line on key votes. It began with McConnell's power play earlier this month, announcing that he had 51 votes to move forward with the start of the Senate impeachment trial with no promises made on whether or not witnesses would be called or further documents would be sought. McConnell's opening gambit effectively knee-capped Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who had been holding on to the two articles of impeachment passed by the House late last year in hopes of extracting concessions from McConnell. Throughout the intervening two-ish weeks, McConnell has had a decidedly low public profile -- usually only speaking in the Senate chamber to announce when there would be a break in either the opening statements or the question-and-answer period. That lack of a public presence was, of course, by design. The best way to think of McConnell is like a duck -- he appears to be gliding slowly and without seeming effort on the surface, all the while paddling furiously under the surface.
More than a few GOP senators have indicated that they consider Trump unfit for office. None will vote to remove him.By Jonathan BernsteinWith Senator Lamar Alexander's announcement Thursday night that he would vote against calling witnesses in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, it appears that the Senate will wrap things up quickly. The last remaining question seems to be whether the final votes to acquit will come Friday evening or later in the night. Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Mitt Romney of Utah say they are planning to vote for witnesses, and Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska remains undecided as I write this. But without Tennessee’s Alexander there aren’t enough votes to force the trial to continue. Alexander said he accepted that Trump was guilty of what he considered “inappropriate” actions, but that they didn’t rise to the level of removal and therefore there was no need to gather additional evidence. As such statements go, it could be worse. Alexander neither defied the obvious facts nor embraced some of the more extreme theories that the president’s lawyers embraced, theories that would in effect write impeachment and removal out of the U.S. Constitution. And his basic argument, that further evidence is unnecessary if he accepts the facts as laid out by the House managers prosecuting the case, is rational.
It’s bad enough to pretend that facts aren’t facts. What’s worse is claiming that a president can’t be removed for abuse of power.By Jonathan BernsteinPresident Donald Trump’s legal team wrapped up its three-day defense presentation in the Senate impeachment trial on Tuesday. The president’s lawyers wound up taking up less than half of their allotted time, which doesn’t necessarily mean anything — after all, the House managers who played the prosecutorial role took up all 24 hours in part by making many of their points multiple times. Keeping the defense short might be thought of as a strategy, rather than an indication of a lack of anything useful to say. In this case, however? It’s really astonishing how unimpressive their overall case turned out to be. It might have been different if persuasion had really been required, but there simply aren’t 20 Republican senators who might even consider voting to remove Trump from office (so that along with all 47 Democrats they could reach the required two-thirds), let alone the 30 or more who realistically are needed to provide cover for each other. And of the 53 Republicans, few seem to feel the need for strong reasons to stick with the president. In part, the problem is that the defense lawyers’ attempt to knock down the factual case against Trump just didn’t work to begin with. And to the extent that a case against the House’s accusations might have been viable — the first article of impeachment says that Trump withheld congressionally approved security assistance and a presidential White House meeting to pressure Ukraine to announce two investigations, one of some fantastical Ukrainian scheme to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and the other of a top Democratic rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, and his son — it was fatally undermined by the news of former National Security Adviser John Bolton’s confirmation of Trump’s direct participation in the plot in his upcoming book. In fact, that track was so unsuccessful that by Tuesday night, some Republican Senators were willing to abandon it and accept that, yes, Trump did what he obviously did.
Abuse of power and obstruction of Congress have long been considered criminal and merit impeachment.By Nikolas BowieWatching CNN last week, I learned that I’m partly responsible for President Trump’s legal defense. On the screen was one of the president’s lawyers, Alan Dershowitz, explaining his new position that impeachment requires “criminal-like behavior.” When the legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin interjected that “every single law professor” disagreed with him, Mr. Dershowitz rejoined that one professor — me! — was “completely” on his side. Mr. Dershowitz encouraged Mr. Toobin to read a law review article I wrote on the impeachment of President Andrew Johnson, in which a former Supreme Court justice, Benjamin Curtis, successfully argued that no one should ever be punished for doing something that wasn’t a crime. Mr. Dershowitz apparently thought my article supported his view that even if Mr. Trump did everything the House has accused him of doing, the president shouldn’t be convicted because he hasn’t been accused of criminal behavior. As an academic, my first reaction was to be grateful that someone had actually read one of my articles.
CNNA CNN panel discusses Sen. Lamar Alexander's (R-TN) announcement that he would oppose calling witnesses in the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.
By Philip EwingPresident Trump's legal position welcoming information from foreigners threatens to open Pandora's box in coming elections and nullify one of the key lessons from 2016, critics warned. "This is setting precedent that is unheard of in our country," said Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich. "It's dangerous, dangerous, dangerous." She and other members of Congress said they were aghast after Trump attorney Patrick Philbin responded to a question in the president's impeachment trial late Wednesday by saying it would be proper for Trump or another politician to take a tip from a foreigner about a political opponent. "If there is credible information of wrongdoing by someone who is running for a public office, it's not campaign interference for credible information about wrongdoing to be brought to light," Philbin said. Congress has limited the ways foreigners can take part in elections — by forbidding them from voting and restricting their contributions — but the idea that simply because "information" originates overseas is a "non sequitur," Philbin said. Intel vice chair: It's outrageous. Democratic Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, who is the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said he was "flabbergasted" by Philbin's explanation and worried it might mean open season for election interference by foreign governments already known to be working to influence this year's race. "The president's counsel ... gave a green light for that kind of behavior to continue," Warner said. "I hope and pray that cooler heads will prevail, but I think there was a dramatic step backwards in terms of protecting the integrity of our election.
By James WalkerGOP Sen. Lindsey Graham was "in the loop" about efforts to dig up dirt on the Bidens in Ukraine, Lev Parnas claimed in an interview on Wednesday. The indicted former associate of Rudy Giuliani told CNN's Anderson Cooper 360° that the South Carolina Republican was "in the loop just like everyone else," and claimed to have "a lot of information about his dealings." But Parnas also said he did not know if Graham was "deeply involved" and clarified that he had not been in direct contact with the senator. The Florida businessman's claims came after his lawyer Joseph Bondy told the Daily Beast Giuliani showed Parnas a letter, allegedly given to Sen. Graham, that urged for sanctions to be levied against Ukrainian officials—including an official who ran the company where Hunter Biden served as a board member.
Why else did the framers create the power to impeach?By Noah FeldmanAs Republicans scramble to argue that they don’t need to call witnesses in President Donald Trump’s Senate impeachment trial, one argument seems to be gaining traction: that witnesses are irrelevant, because even if Trump did everything he’s accused of doing, abuse of power is not an impeachable offense. This argument isn’t merely wrong. It is the single most dangerous argument that any of Trump’s defenders have made during the entire impeachment process. If abuse of power isn’t impeachable, what is? The strongest version of this argument has been made by Alan Dershowitz, who has insisted that the Constitution’s “high crimes and misdemeanors” include only crimes found in the statute books, not abuse of power. That’s obviously wrong. In 1725, in a case the framers knew, Thomas, Earl of Macclesfield, was impeached by the British House of Commons specifically for “Abuse of his Power” and “great Abuse of his Authority.” The House of Lords convicted him for it. At the constitutional convention, on July 20, 1787, Edmund Randolph, the governor of Virginia who had introduced the Virginia plan, stated specifically that “the propriety of impeachments was a favorite principle with him” because “the Executive will have great opportunitys of abusing his power.” In Federalist 65, Alexander Hamilton defined “high crimes and misdemeanors” as “those offenses which proceed from the misconduct of public men, or, in other words, from the abuse or violation of some public trust.” Dershowitz’s view is so absurd that I don’t know of even one legal scholar who studies the Constitution who agrees with him. That includes Dershowitz himself, who in 1998 said (correctly) that impeachment doesn’t have to be for a crime.
Trump lawyer Dershowitz argues president can't be impeached for an act he thinks will help his re-electionBy William Cummings - USA TODAYAttorney Alan Dershowitz, a member of President Donald Trump's defense team, alarmed Democrats and many legal scholars with his argument in the first day of questions and answers in the Senate impeachment trial that presidents cannot be removed from office for an action they believe could help get them re-elected. In response to a question from Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, about whether it mattered if Trump engaged in a "quid pro quo," Dershowitz said that motive was what mattered and that if an act was in the public interest it was not impeachable. And he said it was reasonable for a public official to equate what is in their own political interest with the public good. "Every public official that I know believes that his election is in the public interest," he said. "And if a president does something, which he believes will help him get elected in the public interest, that cannot be the kind of quid pro quo that results in impeachment." Dershowitz said a quid pro quo that involved an illegal act, or was done for personal financial gain, would be impeachable, however. Amid a flood of criticism on social media and cable news, the high-profile attorney and law professor said his answer was being "willfully distorted."
Trump was shaking down Zelensky while trying to keep the rest of the government in the dark. That’s not a 'policy,' that’s a conspiracy.By Tom Nichols Opinion columnistPresident Donald Trump’s lawyers in his Senate trial, along with the usual enablers among elected Republicans, are hiding behind the argument that the president cannot be impeached for policy disagreements. Even Utah's Sen. Mike Lee, who prides himself on his fidelity to the Constitution, is pitching softballs at Trump’s legal counsel about the president’s right to set policy. If Trump were in the Senate dock for a policy dispute, Lee and others would be right — and I would be the first among the president’s critics to argue that he must be acquitted. But this is not a policy dispute, and if the president’s defenders win the day on this argument, then there will be no limit on what any president, ever, can do with the power of the office. The “policy dispute” defense rests on the obvious truth that under Article II of the Constitution, the president of the United States has the right to set foreign policy. Subject to the restrictions of federal law, the Constitution and the power of the purse that is reserved for Congress in Article I, the president can choose to bring us closer to some countries, give the cold shoulder to others, and negotiate treaties and other international agreements as he or she chooses.
'The president knew everything': Key Trump impeachment figure unexpectedly arrives at Capitol Hill demanding to testifyBy Clark MindockRudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas has shown up unexpectedly on Capitol Hill, where he is demanding to meet with senators to tell his side of the impeachment scandal story. Mr Parnas was spotted by reporters as he arrived, and asked what he would tell senators if he were able to get an audience with them. "Call the witnesses," Mr Parnas responded. "The president knew everything." He continued, claiming that there were "many quid pro quos" beyond the one apparently highlighted in the 25 July phone call between Donald Trump and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky in which the American asked for an investigation by the Ukrainian government into a domestic political rival. That phone call sparked a whistle blower complaint, and later the impeachment investigation that has led now to Mr Trump's trial in the Senate. A federal judge ruled on Tuesday that Mr Parnas, who has been indicted last year on charges of alleged campaign finance violations, could attend the Senate impeachment investigation, but that he would not be allowed to take off his GPS ankle monitor to do so. Because of that, it appears as though he would not be permitted to enter the Senate floor due to the chamber's rules.
By Lawrence Friedman, opinion contributorAs extraordinary as a presidential impeachment may be, the Framers must have believed the process might someday have to be used. If this is so, it means they thought that there were some executive actions that would count as high crimes and misdemeanors. One of the main questions the Senate faces in the impeachment trial of President Trump is whether his conduct regarding Ukraine qualifies as impeachable. It does, and the point should not be in serious doubt. Lawyers for Trump have claimed that Ukraine was just business as usual, for this or any other president. Writing in the New York Times, Josh Blackman agrees, arguing that the House of Representatives impeached the president simply for being a politician and, in the words of lawyers for Trump, for considering the effect of his conduct “on the next election.” The president, Blackman maintains, cannot be impeached for pursuing “legal policies that members of the opposition party deem insufficiently publicly spirited.” This view of impeachment is wrong for three reasons. First, as Philip Bobbitt has explained, the problem is not just that Trump solicited a favor from Ukraine that might have proved helpful to his reelection, but what he did “to get that favor” with the refusal to “disburse congressionally authorized military assistance is a violation of the law that strikes at the heart of constitutional government.” The conduct of the president, in other words, is an impeachable offense because he sought to obtain an electoral advantage by ignoring explicit statutory requirements set by Congress in the Impoundment Control Act of 1974. Such action represents an abuse of power.
Analysis by Stephen Collinson, CNN(CNN) Impeachment was meant to punish Donald Trump's unrestrained use of his authority, but the grounds on which Republican senators plan to acquit him may instead give him a green light to use his power however he wants to win reelection. Trump's GOP defenders looking to end his Senate trial in the next few days are increasingly arguing that it's time to shut things down because even if Trump is guilty of coercing Ukraine for political favors, such conduct would not be impeachable. They are seizing on stunning arguments envisioning almost unchallenged presidential power and highly limited criteria for defining the abuse of power and impeachment laid out by a maverick member of Trump's legal team, Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz. Republican leaders are meanwhile increasingly confident they will have the votes to block Democratic demands for the testimony of new trial witnesses, including John Bolton, who reportedly has information implicating Trump in pressuring Ukraine for political favors. The quickening bid to squelch any further fact-finding in the trial is also taking place as the White House seeks to delay publication of the former national security adviser's forthcoming book, which The New York Times has reported to be deeply critical of Trump's behavior towards the Kiev government and elsewhere. The Senate impeachment trial resumed on Wednesday for the first of two days of questioning from senators to the Democratic House impeachment managers and the President's lawyers.
By Clare Foran, Zachary Cohen and Jennifer Hansler, CNNWashington (CNN) House Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot Engel revealed publicly for the first time on Wednesday that he spoke with former national security adviser John Bolton in September about the ouster of former US ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch. In a statement, Engel, a New York Democrat, said that during a phone conversation on September 23, Bolton suggested to him that the Foreign Affairs panel "look into" the ambassador's recall and "strongly implied that something improper had occurred around her removal as our top diplomat in Kyiv." While Engel said in his statement that he informed investigative colleagues, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office told CNN she was not aware of the conversation before a formal impeachment inquiry was announced on September 24, the day after the Engel-Bolton call occurred. Yovanovitch is the former top US diplomat in Ukraine and testified before House lawmakers as part of the impeachment inquiry over the Ukraine scandal. In public testimony, she said that she was "shocked and devastated" after learning that President Donald Trump had disparaged her in his now-famous July phone call with the Ukrainian president, while a tweet from the President attacking her during the impeachment inquiry hearing sparked a real-time response and new Democratic accusations of witness intimidation.
By Nikki Carvajal, Paul LeBlanc and Marshall Cohen, CNN(CNN) A member of President Donald Trump's legal team argued on the Senate floor Wednesday that a politician trying to win reelection is acting in the national interest, and therefore a quid pro quo aimed at boosting reelection chances cannot be impeachable. Alan Dershowitz, a Harvard Law School professor emeritus and high-profile defense attorney, argued that Trump cannot be impeached for pressuring Ukraine for investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden because doing so would be aimed at helping his reelection chances. Dershowitz said Trump's motivations would ultimately be fueled by the public interest because he believes his reelection is what's best for the country."Every public official that I know believes that his election is in the public interest," Dershowitz said. "And mostly you're right. Your election is in the public interest." "And if a president did something that he believes will help him get elected, in the public interest, that cannot be the kind of quid pro quo that results in impeachment." The comments, which came in response to a question about the legality of quid pro quos, could normalize the type of behavior that landed Trump in the middle of the impeachment scandal, and that Democrats say constitutes an improper solicitation of foreign influence in a US election. Dershowitz added that all elected officials consider things in political terms, asking, "If you're just acting in the national interest, why do you need pollsters?"
By Phil Mattingly, Manu Raju, Paul LeBlanc and Chandelis Duster, CNNWashington (CNN) Chief Justice John Roberts on Thursday publicly refused to read a question from Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky during the Senate impeachment trial that named the alleged Ukraine whistleblower. "The presiding officer declines to read the question as submitted," Roberts said after receiving the question card. Paul had expressed frustration with Republican leadership during the trial Wednesday night after it was made clear Roberts would not read his question that named the alleged Ukraine whistleblower, sources with knowledge of the situation said. The development brought Roberts into an unusual position in the trial, where he has served in large part to guide the proceedings, not to decide or make any rulings on how they progress. But prior to the 16-hour question-and-answer period for the trial on Wednesday, Roberts made clear that he would not read the alleged name of the whistleblower, nor would he consider questions that would move to clearly identify the individual, the sources said. Roberts, in his role, reads each question submitted by senators. He was able to review questions from senators who submitted them prior to the start of Wednesday's proceedings, according to two sources. Paul's question, which sources said was revised several times but explicitly would have named the alleged whistleblower, ran afoul of the line Roberts drew on the matter. Paul, for his part, could be seen and overheard expressing his frustration on the Senate floor during a break in the proceedings. "If I have to fight for recognition, I will," he was heard telling a Republican staffer.
Impeachment trial scenes featuring Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Mitt Romney you can't see on TVBy Dan Berman, CNNWashington (CNN)Senate rules limit what images can be broadcast on TV during the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump. Notably, that restricts viewers from seeing how senators are responding to arguments of each side, or if they're even in the chamber as the proceedings continue. Trump's legal team on Tuesday wrapped up its opening arguments. Here's what sketch artist Bill Hennessy saw from his perch in the press gallery, including views of Democratic presidential contenders Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, and former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
By Jake Tapper, Anchor and Chief Washington CorrespondentWashington (CNN) The White House has issued a formal threat to former national security adviser John Bolton to keep him from publishing his book, "The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir," sources familiar with the matter tell CNN. The White House had no comment. Neither Bolton nor a spokesman for the publisher, Simon & Schuster, responded to a request for comment. The letter comes in the midst of President Donald Trump attacking Bolton on Twitter, and Bolton's lawyer accusing the White House of corrupting the vetting process for Bolton's book by sharing the contents of the book with those outside the National Security Council's Records Management Division. Trump's tweets attacking Bolton Wednesday morning suggested he knew the contents of the manuscript.
As Mr. Biden campaigned in the state, residents appeared unmoved: “I don’t think much about anything Joni Ernst says.”By Thomas Kaplan and Nick CorasanitiMUSCATINE, Iowa — Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa, a Republican, wondered aloud about her Democratic constituents as they wrestled with a final decision before the looming Iowa caucuses, particularly those considering supporting former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. After sitting through hours of arguments in the impeachment trial of President Trump on Monday, where his legal team focused on how Mr. Biden’s son, Hunter, had nabbed a lucrative position on the board of a Ukrainian energy company, Ms. Ernst addressed reporters in the basement of the Capitol. “Iowa caucuses are this next Monday evening,” she said. “And I’m really interested to see how this discussion today informs and influences the Iowa caucus voters, those Democratic caucusgoers. Will they be supporting Vice President Biden at this point?” At an event in Muscatine on Tuesday, a handmade sign on the wall seemed to answer her directly: “Joni — We’re w/ Joe.”
By Allie Malloy, CNNWashington (CNN)President Donald Trump on Wednesday tore into his former national security adviser John Bolton, whose explosive allegation in the Ukraine scandal has opened the door for GOP support of potential witnesses in Trump's impeachment trial. Bolton, according to a draft manuscript first reported by The New York Times earlier this week, alleges that Trump told him over the summer that he wanted to continue holding military aid to Ukraine until the country helped with investigations into his potential political opponents. The allegation contradicts Trump claims that his actions in Ukraine were intended to root out corruption, not produce dirt on rivals, and has forced Senate Republicans to reconsider whether to hear from witnesses, including Bolton, in the trial. Trump attacked Bolton's reputation as a military hawk and claimed his forthcoming book is "nasty and untrue" and outed "classified" national security information in a pair of tweets Wednesday morning.
Interviews with a half-dozen people who know Anthony de Caluwe and documents obtained by NBC News show that the Trump superfan has a shadowy past.By Josh Lederman and Anna SchecterWASHINGTON — The Dutch man who claimed to have Marie Yovanovitch under surveillance when she was the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine has been masquerading as a U.S. federal law enforcement officer and told people he was starting a tech company that could track movements electronically, according to interviews and documents obtained by NBC News. And despite saying he had "no connection" to Ukraine, the man, Anthony de Caluwe, was romantically involved with a Ukrainian woman, who returns regularly to her home country, at the same time in early 2019 that he sent text messages about Yovanovitch's purported whereabouts in Kyiv, according to two people who know de Caluwe and photographs obtained by NBC News. How de Caluwe, 54, a citizen of the Netherlands and an ardent, vocal supporter of President Donald Trump, ended up sending encrypted messages about Yovanovitch's supposed whereabouts has been mostly a mystery since his name first surfaced in news stories about the Trump administration and Ukraine this month.
The former national security adviser shared his unease with the attorney general, who cited his own worries about the president’s conversations with the leaders of Turkey and China.By Michael S. Schmidt and Maggie HabermanWASHINGTON — John R. Bolton, the former national security adviser, privately told Attorney General William P. Barr last year that he had concerns that President Trump was effectively granting personal favors to the autocratic leaders of Turkey and China, according to an unpublished manuscript by Mr. Bolton.Mr. Barr responded by pointing to a pair of Justice Department investigations of companies in those countries and said he was worried that Mr. Trump had created the appearance that he had undue influence over what would typically be independent inquiries, according to the manuscript. Backing up his point, Mr. Barr mentioned conversations Mr. Trump had with the leaders, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and President Xi Jinping of China.Mr. Bolton’s account underscores the fact that the unease about Mr. Trump’s seeming embrace of authoritarian leaders, long expressed by experts and his opponents, also existed among some of the senior cabinet officers entrusted by the president to carry out his foreign policy and national security agendas.
At least four Republicans would need to support Democrats' call for testimony in a vote expected this week.By Allan Smith and Dareh GregorianA pair of moderate Republican senators said Monday that a report of major revelations in a soon-to-be-released book by John Bolton strengthens the case for calling witnesses in President Donald Trump's impeachment trial — and even a top ally of the president said Bolton would be a "relevant" witness. Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, said it's "increasingly likely" there will be enough Republican senators to vote to call witnesses. "I think, with the story [about Bolton's book] that came out yesterday, it's increasingly apparent that it would be important to hear from John Bolton," Romney told reporters. Romney said he hasn't fully made up his mind, but he said that what Bolton has to say is "relevant" and that "therefore I'd like to hear it." "I think it's increasingly likely that other Republicans will join those of us who think we should hear from John Bolton," Romney said. "I've spoken with others who've opined upon this, as well."
By Clare Foran, CNNWashington (CNN) Republican Georgia Sen. Kelly Loeffler targeted her colleague GOP Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah on Monday over the issue of witnesses at the Senate impeachment trial. In a tweet, Loeffler leveled an accusation at Romney, saying, "After 2 weeks, it's clear that Democrats have no case for impeachment. Sadly, my colleague @SenatorRomney wants to appease the left by calling witnesses who will slander the @realDonaldTrump during their 15 minutes of fame. The circus is over. It's time to move on!" Loeffler, a political novice and businesswoman, was sworn in as Georgia's newest senator earlier this month, taking over the seat previously held by then-Sen. Johnny Isakson, a Republican who retired at the end of last year over health concerns. Her comments about Romney come as a debate over whether there should be witnesses called during the trial has intensified in the wake of a New York Times report that former national security adviser John Bolton's draft manuscript says President Donald Trump told him US security assistance to Ukraine was conditioned on investigations into Democrats, including former Vice President Joe Biden.
Analysis by Marshall CohenWashington (CNN) New revelations about the Ukraine scandal from former national security adviser John Bolton dealt a significant blow to President Donald Trump's defense strategy, contradicting key elements of the case his attorneys presented to senators in his impeachment trial. According to a bombshell report from The New York Times, Bolton wrote in a draft for his upcoming book that Trump explicitly said he was withholding nearly $400 million in US military assistance until Ukraine helped with investigations into his Democratic rivals. A source with direct knowledge told CNN that the Times' article accurately described the draft manuscript. Bolton was already considered a key witness to important events in the Ukraine scandal, and Democrats have pleaded with their Republican colleagues to buck the White House and support a subpoena for Bolton. Earlier this month, Bolton even said he'd be willing to testify if he received a subpoena. The details from Bolton's book create an immediate problem for Trump: They contradict what he and his legal team has been saying, including in arguments on the Senate floor just two days ago when one White House lawyer said there was "no evidence anywhere" of Trump endorsing the quid pro quo.Here are three ways Bolton's bombshells undermine Trump's case against impeachment.Quid pro quo confirmed, againAccording to The New York Times, Trump told Bolton directly that he didn't want any US aid flowing to Ukraine until Zelensky helped out with the investigations. Trump also used this rationale to rebuff nearly a dozen attempts by Bolton and others to unfreeze the aid package. That account flies in the face of repeated denials from Trump and his lawyers. Trump has tweeted the phrase "no quid pro quo" more than a dozen times since the inquiry began.No policy reason for aid freezeBolton's account makes it clear that the reason for freezing US assistance to Ukraine was rooted in Trump's desire for Ukraine to announce the investigations into his political rivals, including former Vice President Joe Biden, a top Democrat vying for his party's nomination this year.Firsthand accounts of TrumpThe details of Bolton's manuscript cemented the reality that there are still witnesses who didn't testify to the House but have firsthand knowledge of what happened inside the White House. The House inquiry was a speedy process, perhaps propelled by Democratic fears that public support for impeachment would slip if they slowed things down and took a more methodical approach. House Democrats invited Bolton to voluntary testify, but they didn't do anything after his lawyer announced he wouldn't appear without a subpoena, and a lengthy court fight loomed.
GOP senators arrived at the Capitol with a range of conflicting responses.By HEATHER CAYGLE and KYLE CHENEYSenate Republicans were thrown off-balance Monday by the latest John Bolton revelations, offering a range of convoluted — and at times contradictory — responses to an episode that threatens to upend President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial. GOP senators, who hadn’t yet had time to coordinate their responses before arriving at the Capitol, offered an all-over-the-map assessment of the significance of the former national security adviser’s claim that Trump told him he would continue withholding military aid until Ukraine provided information about investigations he had been seeking into his Democratic rivals, including former Vice President Joe Biden. Some said it was meaningless. Others said Bolton should make a statement to divulge his knowledge of the case whether he testifies or not. Some said the Senate should obtain the manuscript of Bolton’s book while others questioned Bolton’s credibility. And still others said the prospect of prolonging the trial by calling Bolton or other witnesses could conflict with the upcoming presidential primaries.“In this case, it may move the needle in one direction or another,” said Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.). “I am not going to deny it’s going to change the decibel level and probably the intensity at which we go about talking about witnesses. It’s a moment that is testing GOP unity at a pivotal point in the trial. Senators are expecting to vote on whether to permit new witnesses and evidence late this week, and until the Bolton news dropped, it appeared that motion was heading for defeat. But the news has already bred hostility among some Republican colleagues.
Analysis by John Harwood, CNNWashington (CNN) Once again, President Donald Trump's Fifth Avenue test for fellow Republicans has grown a little harder. The term refers to Trump's 2016 boast that he could "shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue" without losing support from his political base. For the last five months, revelations about his conduct of Ukraine policy have presented a rolling real-world trial of that proposition. By the end of last week, Trump stood on the verge of securing his votes of absolution by Senate Republicans who didn't even want to hear new witness testimony. Now, a New York Times report that Trump specified his "quid pro quo" directly to then-national security adviser John Bolton has added a jolt of uncertainty into prospects for a summary acquittal.Three years of GOP deference to the President suggest Trump will pass eventually whether or not the Senate seeks Bolton's testimony and other new evidence. Nine-in-10 Republican voters approve of his job performance and oppose his removal from office, even as most other Americans do not, according to a recent CNN poll. And this hardly represents a unique test of GOP acquiescence. Throughout the Ukraine furor, Republican lawmakers have deployed the political equivalent of a bend-but-don't-break defense in football. Republicans wobbled initially when an intelligence community whistleblower complained Trump had warped US foreign policy at the expense of a vulnerable ally for personal political gain. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina allowed that evidence of an aid-for-investigations "quid pro quo" would be "very disturbing."
Opinion by Dean Obeidallah(CNN) "But her emails" became a shorthand way after the 2016 election to explain -- often in jest and as memes -- why Hillary Clinton, who was favored to win, lost to Donald Trump. However, all jokes aside, post-election studies confirmed that Clinton's emails were the most-covered topic during the campaign between May 2015 and November 2016. That was in part because of the "drip, drip" drip" nature of the scandal over her use of a private email server while secretary of state. New developments -- from investigations being opened and closed to the release of previously unreported emails -- resulted in ever more media coverage. Well, it's looking like Trump may be facing a similar "drip, drip, drip" type scandal that could result in "but her emails" being replaced after the 2020 election with "but his tapes."The tapes in question are audio recordings secretly made of Trump by Lev Parnas, an associate of Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who was indicted last year for alleged campaign finance violations to which he has pleaded not guilty. And from what we've seen in past few days, the unexpected release of these tapes has the power to grab headlines, disrupting the media narrative Trump wants to be pushing in this election year and even forcing him or his GOP congressional allies to answer questions about the tape's contents.
By Jeremy Herb and Manu Raju, CNN(CNN) President Donald Trump's former national security adviser has upended the Senate impeachment trial, and new revelations from John Bolton's draft book manuscript could turn the tide on whether senators call for witnesses. The President's legal team resumes its second day of arguments at 1 p.m. ET Monday, but all of the attention will be focused on the Republican senators sitting in the chamber and how they react Sunday night's New York Times bombshell that Bolton's draft manuscript says Trump told him US security assistance to Ukraine was conditioned on investigations into Democrats, including former Vice President Joe Biden.Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah predicted it was "increasingly likely" that others would join him in calling for Bolton to testify, and GOP sources say the revelations add new uncertainty to this week's expected witness vote after Republicans were confident it would be defeated when the Senate gaveled out on Saturday. "I can't begin to tell you how John Bolton's testimony would ultimately play on a final decision but it's relevant," Romney told reporters Monday. "And therefore, I'd like to hear it." Since the Bolton news broke, the White House has heard from Republican senators frustrated that they were kept in the dark when at least someone in the White House had the Bolton manuscript since the end of December, according to a source familiar with the conversations.
CNNLead impeachment House manager Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) said that an unpublished draft manuscript by former national security adviser John Bolton, which was reported by The New York Times, blasts another hole in President Trump's defense. According to the report, the manuscript alleges Trump wanted to continue holding military aid to Ukraine until the country helped with investigations into Democrats.
A report about a book by John Bolton makes the president’s Republican defenders look like liars and fools. Maybe they’ll be fine with that.By Jonathan BernsteinPresident Donald Trump’s team opened its impeachment-trial defense in the Senate on Saturday morning. I was wrong about how the president’s lawyers would go about the job. I had suspected that they would use a tantrum to rally Republicans to their side, but it turned out that Republican Senators had their tantrum late Friday night when they chose to be outraged that the lead House impeachment manager, Representative Adam Schiff of California, referred to a (somewhat thinly sourced) news report that someone at the White House had threatened that Trump would have the “head on a pike” of any Republican who opposed him.Trump’s lawyers began with a misstep, rehashing their flimsy claim that there’s some kind of significance to the fact that Schiff paraphrased, instead of directly quoting, the words Trump used in the July 25 phone call in which he pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to participate in a smear of a leading Democratic rival, former Vice President Joe Biden.
Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large(CNN) The news, first reported by The New York Times Sunday night, that President Donald Trump had told national security adviser John Bolton directly to continue to withhold approved military aid to Ukraine until that country agreed to announce investigations into Democrats, and specifically former Vice President Joe Biden, is an absolute bombshell with the very real possibility of fundamentally altering the calculus for Republican senators in the ongoing impeachment trial. The accusation is made in a draft manuscript of Bolton's time in the Trump White House and, for the first time, would provide -- if confirmed -- direct evidence that Trump not only personally ordered the hold but did so to target the leading Democratic candidate against him in 2020. Bolton's claim -- again, if confirmed -- would be a smoking gun for Trump's use of his office for personal and political gain. Period.Which brings us to the debate within the Senate over whether any witnesses will be allowed to testify in the trial of Trump and, if so, who. Prior to the Bolton news on Sunday, GOP sentiment seemed to be leaning away from allowing witnesses, with Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a key swing vote, offering criticism of the manner and style used by the House Democratic impeachment managers to make their case. While official Washington is still processing the Bolton news, it's hard to see both the accusation and the initial reaction to it not altering that voting calculus for Republicans. Here's why: There now exists a credible claim made by a longtime figure in Republican politics and the conservative movement that, if proven out, directly implicates the President of the United States in a quid pro quo. This isn't Lev Parnas, a somewhat shady Ukrainian businessman under criminal indictment, saying a bunch of things about Trump. Parnas, Republican senators might be OK with dismissing. It's a hell of a lot harder to dismiss someone with the resume of Bolton.
The reported account in an unpublished manuscript by the former national security adviser counters the White House's defense of the president.By Lauren EganWASHINGTON — President Donald Trump told former national security adviser John Bolton that nearly $400 million in frozen security aid to Ukraine would not be released until that nation offered assistance with probes into Democratic targets, including the Bidens, Bolton alleges in an unpublished book whose contents were reported Sunday night. NBC has not verified the report, published The New York Times, which cited multiple sources familiar with Bolton’s account, or seen a copy of that manuscript, but the report immediately produced calls by Democrats for Bolton's testimony in the Senate impeachment trial.The contents of that manuscript were described as a rough account of how the former Trump official would testify, should he be called as a witness in the trial, which is currently underway. The prospect of any new witnesses has been viewed as unlikely, given Republican reluctance to accept additional testimony. The president's allies have said that the aid delay was unconnected to Trump’s requests that Ukrainian officials announce probes that stood to undercut his domestic political opponents, including former Vice President Joe Biden.
Drafts of the book outline the potential testimony of the former national security adviser if he were called as a witness in the president’s impeachment trial.By Maggie Haberman and Michael S. SchmidtWASHINGTON — President Trump told his national security adviser in August that he wanted to continue freezing $391 million in security assistance to Ukraine until officials there helped with investigations into Democrats including the Bidens, according to an unpublished manuscript by the former adviser, John R. Bolton.The president’s statement as described by Mr. Bolton could undercut a key element of his impeachment defense: that the holdup in aid was separate from Mr. Trump’s requests that Ukraine announce investigations into his perceived enemies, including former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son Hunter Biden, who had worked for a Ukrainian energy firm while his father was in office.Mr. Bolton’s explosive account of the matter at the center of Mr. Trump’s impeachment trial, the third in American history, was included in drafts of a manuscript he has circulated in recent weeks to close associates. He also sent a draft to the White House for a standard review process for some current and former administration officials who write books.
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