23/09/2020

Former national security advisor John Bolton is adding fresh uncertainty into President Trump’s i…

Former national security advisor John BoltonJohn BoltonTrump denies telling Bolton Ukraine aid was tied to investigationsFormer senior Senate GOP aide says Republicans should call witnessesTitle, release date revealed for Bolton memoirMORE is adding fresh uncertainty into President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump denies telling Bolton Ukraine aid was tied to investigationsFormer senior Senate GOP aide says Republicans should call witnessesTitle, release date revealed for Bolton memoirMOREs impeachment trial. 
Boltons accusation, made in a forthcoming memoir, that Trump tied $391 million in aid to Ukraine to the country helping with investigations into Democrats including former Vice President Biden and his son Hunter Biden ricocheted across the Capitol. 
Democrats quickly characterized the allegation as a thunderbolt, a bombshell and gut check time for Republicans, arguing that it underscored the need for additional witnesses and documents. 
Republicans, caught flat footed, struggled to get on the same page, as some GOP lawmakers indicated Boltons allegation strengthened the need for witnesses, while others argued the memoir offered nothing that would change the outcome of the impeachment trial. 
Asked if GOP senators had been in touch with the White House, Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneGOP senator says idea that Ukraine interfered in US election is ‘not a conspiracy theory’ No. 2 GOP leader eyes Wednesday of next week for possible votes on witnessesRestlessness, light rule-breaking and milk spotted on Senate floor as impeachment trial rolls onMORE (S.D.), the No. 2 Republican senator, told reporters that my impression is that this sort of caught everybody by surprise. 
Maybe you guys did because you’re writing the stories, he added, but, no, we did not know it was coming. 
Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSunday shows preview: Lawmakers prepare for week two of impeachment trial Trump defense team signals focus on SchiffTrump legal team offers brisk opening defense of presidentMORE (R-S.C.), facing a flurry of Bolton questions, acknowledged that he had no idea how portions of the manuscript were leaked. 
I have no idea how this happened. I don’t know who leaked this. They say they didn’t do it, he added. 
Boltons allegation is a significant curveball in Trumps impeachment trial. GOP leadership and top aides had appeared increasingly confident they would be able to squash a vote, expected to take place on Friday, to open the door to calling new witnesses and compelling the administration to hand over documents. 
Democrats would need four Republicans to side with them in order to call a witness. They’ve requested four including Bolton and acting White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyFormer senior Senate GOP aide says Republicans should call witnessesBolton lawyer slams ‘corrupted’ White House review process after book leakDemocrats step up pressure over witnesses after Bolton bombshellMORE. 
Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyDemocrats step up pressure over witnesses after Bolton bombshellKaine: GOP senators should ‘at least’ treat Trump trial with seriousness of traffic courtDes Moines Register endorses Elizabeth Warren as Democratic presidential nomineeMORE (R-Utah) set off alarm bells for Republicans when he told reporters that he thought it was increasingly likely that other members of his caucus would support hearing from Bolton. He threw in the caveat that he hadnt spoken to his GOP colleagues. 
My thoughts about how we may all react are personal, he said. 
His statement earned him a public roasting by new Sen. Kelly LoefflerKelly LoefflerDoug Collins on potential 2020 Senate run: I’m not ‘ruling it out’Loeffler plans to spend million on Georgia Senate campaignAtlanta’s WNBA owner won’t run for Georgia Senate seatMORE (R-Ga.), who previously donated to a 2012 pro-Romney super PAC. She accused the Utah senator of trying to appease the left. 
But Romney was quickly backed up by Collins, who said in a statement that she thought Boltons allegations strengthen the case for witnesses. Collins reiterated that she will wait until after opening arguments and questions from both sides before she makes a decision, but said she is likely to support calling witnesses. 
Sens. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderDemocrats step up pressure over witnesses after Bolton bombshellSchumer: Trump’s team made case for new witnesses ‘even stronger’The Hill’s Morning Report Dems detail case to remove Trump for abuse of powerMORE (R-Tenn.) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiDemocrats step up pressure over witnesses after Bolton bombshellImpeachment manager dismisses concerns Schiff alienated key Republican votes: ‘This isn’t about any one person’Kaine: GOP senators should ‘at least’ treat Trump trial with seriousness of traffic courtMORE (R-Alaska), two other potential swing votes, were tight lipped as they made their way through crowds of reporters. 
Well I read it. I’ve said before I was curious what Ambassador Bolton might have to say and I’m still curious, Murkowski said Monday when asked by The Hill about her reaction to a New York Times story about Boltons forthcoming memoir. 
She then paused to tell a reporter in front of her, okay, you guys are going to have to move. 
A rotating cast of Republican senators was spotted going into McConnell’s office ahead of the start of the trial on Monday, as the caucus grappled with how to handle Bolton. In addition to normal members of leadership including Sens. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntMeadows says Trump told him he didn’t threaten senators on impeachment voteDemocrats feel political momentum swinging to them on impeachmentTrump team to present case for about two hours on SaturdayMORE (R-Mo.) and John Thune (R-S.D.), Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Mike BraunMichael BraunSunday shows – Spotlight shifts to Trump tweet, Senate trial witnessesGOP senator says impeachment trial will ‘hopefully’ serve as warning to Trump, future presidentsSunday shows preview: Lawmakers prepare for week two of impeachment trial MORE (R-Ind.), part of a group that’s taken over messaging for the caucus during the trial, were spotted heading into the leaders office. 
Monday, the start of the second week of the trial, had been expected to be focused on Trumps legal team, who are making their defense of Trump after a short two-hour preview on Saturday. 
Instead, senators, House managers and Trump allies found themselves besieged with Bolton questions, underscoring how completely he had taken over the debate in the Capitol. 
What it’s done is taken an already hot topic and added some fuel to the fire, said Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.). I’m not going to deny it’s going to change the decibel level and probably the intensity at which we go about talking about witnesses. 
Asked if the Times story had changed her thinking, Sen. Deb FischerDebra (Deb) Strobel FischerThe Hill’s Morning Report Impeachment unknowns await returning lawmakersPressure builds over impeachment impasse in SenateTrump faces pivotal year with Russia on arms controlMORE (R-Neb.) noted that the former administration official could release a statement if he had something to say because it doesn’t take a subpoena to put out a statement. 
When asked a similar question less than a half hour later, Fischer quipped: Do you guys have memos on the same question to ask all the time? Just curious.
A group of House Republicans, who are advising Trumps defense team, got a similar reception. As they repeatedly sought to talk about the House managers and their impeachment case, the House GOP members were hit with question after question about Bolton.
I would just say someone telling the New York Times what John Boltons draft manuscript supposedly says doesnt change the key facts, said Rep. Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanJordan says he thinks trial will be over by next weekCheney’s decision not to run for Senate sparks Speaker chatterThe Hill’s Morning Report – Trump trial begins with clash over rulesMORE (R-Ohio). 
As multiple reporters yelled their questions at the group, Rep. Mike JohnsonJames (Mike) Michael JohnsonThe Hill’s Morning Report – Trump trial begins with clash over rulesWhite House appoints GOP House members to advise Trump’s impeachment teamFive lingering questions as impeachment heads to SenateMORE (R-La.) responded: Everyone just needs to take a deep breath. 
Democrats lapped up the renewed attention on the witness fight, using the Bolton frenzy to turn the spotlight back on Republicans. 
When a reporter tried to ask a non-witness question during a Senate Democratic press conference, Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerBolton book alleges Trump tied Ukraine aid freeze to Biden investigations: NYTTrump legal team offers brisk opening defense of presidentImpeachment has been a dud for DemocratsMORE (D-N.Y.) joked only for a moment. 
The frenzy is only likely to grow as the Senate heads toward a witness vote at the end of the week. 
Sen. John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (R-La.) walked away from reporters as they tried to quiz him on Bolton, but not before dispensing some of his well-known, folksy advice: Calm down. 
Given the fact that my Democratic friends have accused the president of just about everything except abandoning his children to wolves, or hating little warm puppies, Im not surprised that were having these last-minute leaks, Kennedy said. 
He added that were about halfway through the trial. I think everybody ought to pop a Zoloft, take their meds.