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27.01.2020 22:12 News >> Case For Witnesses Gains Steam After Bolton Bombshell

Case For Witnesses Gains Steam After Bolton Bombshell

Sens. Mitt Romney, Susan Collins say John Bolton's revelations stirring Republican pot ahead of vote, expected Friday.

Democratic demands that U.S. President Donald Trump's impeachment trial include testimony from his former national security advisor gained steam Monday with at least two pivotal Republicans indicating that they were now more inclined to back the calls following John Bolton's bombshell revelations.
Sen. Mitt Romney said that after a draft of Bolton's forthcoming book was made public it is "increasingly likely" additional Republicans would want to hear from the ousted top official who alleged Trump made security assistance for Ukraine contingent on the country's declaration of investigations into a leading political rival.
"Whether there are other witnesses or documents, well that's another matter, but I think John Bolton's relevance to our decision has become increasingly clear," Romney told reporters on Capitol Hill. "I can't begin to tell you how John Bolton's testimony would ultimately play on a final decision but it's relevant and therefore I'd like to hear it."
In addition to Romney, Sen. Susan Collins said in a statement that Bolton's allegations "strengthen the case for witnesses and have prompted a number of conversations among my colleagues."
Romney and Collins are among a handful of key Republicans being closely watched as Democrats seek to gain support for witnesses.
Democrats need at least four Republicans to back their witness push in order to gain the 51 votes necessary to call witnesses. But Republican leadership has remained opposed, and sought to downplay the importance of Bolton's revelations.
John Barrasso, the Senate's number three Republican, dismissed the blockbuster claims, saying "there is nothing new here."
But Bolton's claim, first reported by the New York Times, appears to undercut a central tenet of Trump's defense, namely that he sought the probes to root out corruption in Ukraine, not for his personal political benefit.
Bolton wrote that Trump told him in August he wanted to keep aid to Ukraine frozen until the country helped in probes into former Vice President Joe Biden, the leading Democrat seeking the party's nomination in November's presidential polls.
"Amb. Bolton essentially confirms the president committed the offenses charged in the first article of impeachment," Chuck Schumer, the top ranking Senate Democrat, said. "It boils down to one thing: we have a witness with first hand evidence of the president's actions for which he is on trial. He is ready and willing to testify. How can Senate Republicans not vote to call that witness and request his documents?"
Bolton said Jan. 6 that he is "prepared to testify" if the Senate issues a subpoena for his testimony.
Trump has denied Bolton's claims, saying on Twitter that his former top official made them "only to sell a book."
Trump is facing two separate articles of impeachment passed by the House of Representatives in December, tied to his repeated attempts to get Ukraine to declare criminal investigations into Biden and his subsequent decision to refuse to cooperate in the congressional probe into the matter.
The abuse of power article is centered on Trump's decision to hold up millions of dollars in security assistance to Ukraine as well as a coveted Oval Office meeting sought by President Volodymyr Zelensky while he was pushing to have the probes declared. The second article, obstruction of Congress, is tied to his refusal to cooperate with the congressional investigation and his directive that top officials and government agencies do the same.
A vote on whether the Senate will call witnesses is expected Friday. -



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