Democrats on Sunday night stepped up their demand for former national security adviser John Bolton to testify at President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial after an explosive New York Times report revealed that Bolton said in his unpublished book that Trump personally tied Ukraine aid to an investigation of the Bidens.
Citing the manuscript of the book, The Times reported that Trump told Bolton that nearly $400 million in aid to Ukraine would not be released until it offered assistance with investigations of Democratic targets, including former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.
The contents of the manuscript were described as a rough account of how Bolton would testify should he be called as a witness in the Senate trial.
But the prospect of new witnesses has been viewed as unlikely because most Republicans are reluctant to accept additional testimony.
Congressional Democrats said Sunday that the new report highlighted the urgency of a Senate request for Bolton’s testimony — a move that would require several GOP votes.
“John Bolton has the evidence,” tweeted Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.
“It’s up to four Senate Republicans to ensure that John Bolton, Mick Mulvaney, and the others with direct knowledge of President Trump’s actions testify in the Senate trial,” Schumer added. Mulvaney is Trump’s acting chief of staff.
John Bolton has the evidence.
It’s up to four Senate Republicans to ensure that John Bolton, Mick Mulvaney, and the others with direct knowledge of President Trump’s actions testify in the Senate trial.https://t.co/JbazBaYdRU
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) January 26, 2020
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) tweeted that with the news Bolton reportedly had firsthand knowledge of Trump’s decision that ran counter to the White House account of the president’s actions, the “refusal of the Senate to call for him, other relevant witnesses, and documents is now even more indefensible.”
Amb. Bolton reportedly heard directly from Trump that aid for Ukraine was tied to political investigations.
The refusal of the Senate to call for him, other relevant witnesses, and documents is now even more indefensible.
The choice is clear: our Constitution, or a cover-up. https://t.co/HBW82ObvOl
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) January 27, 2020
The House Democrats’ impeachment managers said in a statement that there could be “no doubt now that Mr. Bolton directly contradicts the heart of the President’s defense and therefore must be called as a witness at the impeachment trial of President Trump. Senators should insist that Mr. Bolton be called as a witness, and provide his notes and other relevant documents.”
Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. — one of the senators running for the Democratic presidential nomination whose campaign has been affected by the need to serve as a juror in the impeachment trial — echoed the sentiment Sunday. “I don’t know how my Republican colleagues cannot call for witnesses…” she said while campaigning in Iowa. “We should all be calling for witnesses. We have to get to the truth.”
Bolton is also reported to allege that other administration officials, including Mulvaney, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Attorney General William Barr, were made aware of Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s unusual involvement in a shadow foreign policy in Ukraine well before it became a central element of the whistleblower complaint at the heart of the impeachment inquiry.
Trump last week expressed misgivings over the prospect of Bolton’s testimony.
“The problem with John is, that it’s a national security problem,” he told reporters at an impromptu press conference at the World Economic Forum in Davos, adding that Bolton “knows some of my thoughts, what I think about leaders — what happens if he reveals what I think about a leader and it’s not very positive?”
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.