Jump to content
  • Sky
  • Blueberry
  • Slate
  • Blackcurrant
  • Watermelon
  • Strawberry
  • Orange
  • Banana
  • Apple
  • Emerald
  • Chocolate
  • Charcoal
GreyhoundFan

Impeachment 3: The MF Has Been Impeached! The Trial Has Begun!

Recommended Posts

fraurosena

WaPo:

Democrats call for Bolton to testify in Trump impeachment trial after new report on aid to Ukraine

Quote

Congressional Democrats called for former national security adviser John Bolton to testify in President Trump’s impeachment trial following a new report that the president told Bolton last August that he wanted to withhold military aid to Ukraine unless it aided investigations into the Bidens.

The New York Times reported Sunday evening that in last summer’s conversation, Trump directly tied the holdup of nearly $400 million in military assistance to the investigations of former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden. That is according to an unpublished manuscript of Bolton’s forthcoming book, the Times said.

The book, “The Room Where It Happened,” is scheduled for publication March 17, but a White House review could attempt to delay its publication or block some of its contents.

Two people familiar with the book, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the project, confirmed that it details Trump tying aid to the desire for Biden probes and details a number of conversations about Ukraine that he had with Trump and key advisers, such as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. They said Bolton is ready to testify in the Senate impeachment trial.

In a joint statement, the seven House impeachment managers called the report “explosive” and urged the Senate, controlled by Republicans, to agree to call Bolton as a witness in Trump’s trial, which kicks off its second full week on Monday. Bolton has said that he would testify before the Senate if subpoenaed.

“The Senate trial must seek the full truth and Mr. Bolton has vital information to provide,” the managers said in a statement Sunday. “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.”

Trump is on trial, facing two charges — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

The assertion from Bolton could undermine one core defense that has repeatedly been laid out by Trump, his defenders and his legal team: that there was no explicit quid pro quo involved when the administration withheld the military assistance, as well as a White House visit coveted by Ukraine.

The president responded to the report early Monday, tweeting “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.”

The White House has said that Trump’s request for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate the Bidens, as well as a discredited theory that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 elections, was because he was interested in rooting out corruption and that he did nothing improper.

The president’s legal defense team is expected to mount a vigorous defense on Monday when they deliver a full day of arguments against the impeachment charges.

The revelation from the Bolton book was certain to roil the dynamics of the trial this week, when the Senate was expected to face a critical vote on whether to allow witnesses at all.

Charles Cooper, a lawyer for Bolton, said he submitted the manuscript to the National Security Council’s records management division on Dec. 30 for a standard review process to examine potentially classified information. Cooper said they believed that the book manuscript did not include any classified material and that its contents would not be shared with officials outside that review process.

“It is clear, regrettably, from The New York Times article published today that the prepublication review process has been corrupted and that information has been disclosed by persons other than those properly involved in reviewing the manuscript,” Cooper said in the statement.

Sarah Tinsley, a spokeswoman for Bolton, added: “The ambassador has not passed the draft manuscript to anyone else. Period.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and many Senate Republicans would prefer the Senate avoid witnesses, but at least four GOP senators are seen as potential votes for favoring more testimony: Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Mitt Romney (Utah) and Lamar Alexander (Tenn.).

Romney and Collins have already indicated that they are likely to support hearing from witnesses and getting more evidence, and Romney has also said that he would like to hear from Bolton.

“The odds of deposition for new witnesses is certainly rising dramatically,” one senior Republican official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to candidly assess party dynamics, said Sunday evening after the publication of the Times report.

“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,” Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a tweet.

Earlier Sunday, Trump escalated his attacks on Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), issuing what appears to be a veiled threat against the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

“Shifty Adam Schiff is a CORRUPT POLITICIAN, and probably a very sick man,” Trump tweeted Sunday morning. “He has not paid the price, yet, for what he has done to our Country!”

Schiff is the lead impeachment manager in the Senate trial.

Schiff responded in an interview on NBC News’s “Meet the Press,” saying he believes that Trump’s remarks were intended as a threat.

“This is a wrathful and vindictive president; I don’t think there’s any doubt about it,” Schiff said in the interview. “And if you think there is, look at the president’s tweets about me today, saying that I should ‘pay a price.’ ”

“Do you take that as a threat?” host Chuck Todd asked.

“I think it’s intended to be,” Schiff replied.

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said it was “ridiculous” for Schiff to claim that Trump was threatening him. In an appearance on Fox News Channel’s “Media Buzz,” she accused the California Democrat of “grandstanding,” although she acknowledged that she had not had an opportunity to ask Trump what he meant by the tweet.

“I think he means . . . [Schiff] hasn’t yet paid the price with the voters,” Grisham said.

She also echoed Trump’s attack earlier Sunday on Schiff, saying: “I mean, it seems he’s having a little bit of a mental issue when you sit on the floor for hours and hours and hours. He’s obsessed with this president and trying to take him down.”

Democrats contend that Trump has continued to publicly solicit foreign interference in U.S. elections and that the integrity of the 2020 race is at risk. The president fired back Sunday by leveling the same accusation at his political opponents.

“The Impeachment Hoax is a massive election interference the likes of which has never been seen before,” he said in a tweet.

Some Republicans on Sunday defended Trump’s remarks about Schiff. In an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said he was not troubled by Trump’s declaration that Schiff “has not paid the price.”

“I don’t think it’s a death threat. I don’t think he’s encouraging a death threat,” Lankford said.

Host Jake Tapper responded by saying that “people who are supporters of the president have heard his rhetoric and then actually tried to bomb and kill politicians and the media.”

This prompted Lankford to refer to the 2017 congressional baseball shooting that targeted Republicans and injured several people, including House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.).

“So to be able to say the president’s trying to be able to spur this on would be able to say Democrats were trying to spur on the killing” of Republicans, Lankford said.

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), who is also an impeachment manager, called Trump’s tweet about Schiff “really unfortunate” and said the president has said things before “that seem threatening to people.”

“He really ought to get a grip and be a little more presidential,” she said on “State of the Union.”

In a tweet later Sunday morning, Trump also took aim at Todd, accusing the “Meet the Press” host of holding a “softball interview” with Schiff and “never even calling Shifty out on his fraudulent statement to Congress, where he made up ALL of the words of my conversation with the Ukrainian President!”

Both sides continue to spar over the question of whether the Senate trial will include witnesses. Some key Senate Republicans, already hesitant on the issue, became even more so over the weekend after Schiff referred to a CBS News report in which an anonymous Trump ally was quoted as having warned lawmakers, “Vote against the president and your head will be on a pike.”

 

Here's the original NYT article:

Trump Tied Ukraine Aid to Inquiries He Sought, Bolton Book Says

Quote

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.

Multiple people described Mr. Bolton’s account of the Ukraine affair.

The book presents an outline of what Mr. Bolton might testify to if he is called as a witness in the Senate impeachment trial, the people said. The White House could use the pre-publication review process, which has no set time frame, to delay or even kill the book’s publication or omit key passages.

Just after midnight on Monday, Mr. Trump denied telling Mr. Bolton that the aid was tied to investigations. “If John Bolton said this, it was only to sell a book,” he wrote on Twitter, reprising his argument that the Ukrainians themselves felt “no pressure” and falsely asserting that the aid was released ahead of schedule.

Over dozens of pages, Mr. Bolton described how the Ukraine affair unfolded over several months until he departed the White House in September. He described not only the president’s private disparagement of Ukraine but also new details about senior cabinet officials who have publicly tried to sidestep involvement.

For example, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo acknowledged privately that there was no basis to claims by the president’s lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani that the ambassador to Ukraine was corrupt and believed Mr. Giuliani may have been acting on behalf of other clients, Mr. Bolton wrote.

Mr. Bolton also said that after the president’s July phone call with the president of Ukraine, he raised with Attorney General William P. Barr his concerns about Mr. Giuliani, who was pursuing a shadow Ukraine policy encouraged by the president, and told Mr. Barr that the president had mentioned him on the call. A spokeswoman for Mr. Barr denied that he learned of the call from Mr. Bolton; the Justice Department has said he learned about it only in mid-August.

And the acting White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, was present for at least one phone call where the president and Mr. Giuliani discussed the ambassador, Mr. Bolton wrote. Mr. Mulvaney has told associates he would always step away when the president spoke with his lawyer to protect their attorney-client privilege.

During a previously reported May 23 meeting where top advisers and Senator Ron Johnson, Republican of Wisconsin, briefed him about their trip to Kyiv for the inauguration of President Volodymyr Zelensky, Mr. Trump railed about Ukraine trying to damage him and mentioned a conspiracy theory about a hacked Democratic server, according to Mr. Bolton.

The White House did not provide responses to questions about Mr. Bolton’s assertions, and representatives for Mr. Johnson, Mr. Pompeo and Mr. Mulvaney did not respond to emails and calls seeking comment on Sunday afternoon.

Mr. Bolton’s lawyer blamed the White House for the disclosure of the book’s contents. “It is clear, regrettably, from the New York Times article published today that the pre-publication review process has been corrupted and that information has been disclosed by persons other than those properly involved in reviewing the manuscript,” the lawyer, Charles J. Cooper, said Sunday night.

He said he provided a copy of the book to the White House on Dec. 30 — 12 days after Mr. Trump was impeached — to be reviewed for classified information, though, he said, Mr. Bolton believed it contained none.

The submission to the White House may have given Mr. Trump’s aides and lawyers direct insight into what Mr. Bolton would say if he were called to testify at Mr. Trump’s impeachment trial. It also intensified concerns among some of his advisers that they needed to block Mr. Bolton from testifying, according to two people familiar with their concerns.

The White House has ordered Mr. Bolton and other key officials with firsthand knowledge of Mr. Trump’s dealings not to cooperate with the impeachment inquiry. Mr. Bolton said in a statement this month that he would testify if subpoenaed.

In recent days, some White House officials have described Mr. Bolton as a disgruntled former employee, and have said he took notes that he should have left behind when he departed the administration.

Mr. Trump told reporters last week that he did not want Mr. Bolton to testify and said that even if he simply spoke out publicly, he could damage national security.

“The problem with John is it’s a national security problem,” Mr. Trump said at a news conference in Davos, Switzerland. “He knows some of my thoughts. He knows what I think about leaders. What happens if he reveals what I think about a certain leader and it’s not very positive?”

“It’s going to make the job very hard,” he added.

The Senate impeachment trial could end as early as Friday without witness testimony. Democrats in both the House and Senate have pressed for weeks to include any new witnesses and documents that did not surface during the House impeachment hearings to be fair, focusing on persuading the handful of Republican senators they would need to join them to succeed.

But a week into the trial, most lawmakers say the chances of 51 senators agreeing to call witnesses are dwindling, not growing.

Democrats, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer, the minority leader, said the Bolton manuscript underscored the need for him to testify, and the House impeachment managers demanded after this article was published that the Senate vote to call him. “There can be no doubt now that Mr. Bolton directly contradicts the heart of the president’s defense,” they said in a statement.

Republicans, though, were mostly silent; a spokesman for the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, declined to comment.

Mr. Bolton would like to testify for several reasons, according to associates. He believes he has relevant information, and he has also expressed concern that if his account of the Ukraine affair emerges only after the trial, he will be accused of holding back to increase his book sales.

Mr. Bolton, 71, a fixture in conservative national security circles since his days in the Reagan administration, joined the White House in 2018 after several people recommended him to the president, including the Republican megadonor Sheldon Adelson.

But Mr. Bolton and Mr. Trump soured on each other over several global crises, including Iranian aggression, Mr. Trump’s posture toward Russia and, ultimately, the Ukraine matter. Mr. Bolton was also often at odds with Mr. Pompeo and Mr. Mulvaney throughout his time in the administration.

Key to Mr. Bolton’s account about Ukraine is an exchange during a meeting in August with the president after Mr. Trump returned from vacation at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J. Mr. Bolton raised the $391 million in congressionally appropriated assistance to Ukraine for its war in the country’s east against Russian-backed separatists. Officials had frozen the aid, and a deadline was looming to begin sending it to Kyiv, Mr. Bolton noted.

He, Mr. Pompeo and Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper had collectively pressed the president about releasing the aid nearly a dozen times in the preceding weeks after lower-level officials who worked on Ukraine issues began complaining about the holdup, Mr. Bolton wrote. Mr. Trump had effectively rebuffed them, airing his longstanding grievances about Ukraine, which mixed legitimate efforts by some Ukrainians to back his Democratic 2016 opponent, Hillary Clinton, with unsupported accusations and outright conspiracy theories about the country, a key American ally.

Mr. Giuliani had also spent months stoking the president’s paranoia about the American ambassador to Ukraine at the time, Marie L. Yovanovitch, claiming that she was openly anti-Trump and needed to be dismissed. Mr. Trump had ordered her removed as early as April 2018 during a private dinner with two Giuliani associates and others, a recording of the conversation made public on Saturday showed.

In his August 2019 discussion with Mr. Bolton, the president appeared focused on the theories Mr. Giuliani had shared with him, replying to Mr. Bolton’s question that he preferred sending no assistance to Ukraine until officials had turned over all materials they had about the Russia investigation that related to Mr. Biden and supporters of Mrs. Clinton in Ukraine.

The president often hits at multiple opponents in his harangues, and he frequently lumps together the law enforcement officials who conducted the Russia inquiry with Democrats and other perceived enemies, as he appeared to do in speaking to Mr. Bolton.

Mr. Bolton also described other key moments in the pressure campaign, including Mr. Pompeo’s private acknowledgment to him last spring that Mr. Giuliani’s claims about Ms. Yovanovitch had no basis and that Mr. Giuliani may have wanted her removed because she might have been targeting his clients who had dealings in Ukraine as she sought to fight corruption.

Ms. Yovanovitch, a Canadian immigrant whose parents fled the Soviet Union and Nazis, was a well-regarded career diplomat who was known as a vigorous fighter against corruption in Ukraine. She was abruptly removed last year and told the president had lost trust in her, even though a boss assured her she had “done nothing wrong.”

Mr. Bolton also said he warned White House lawyers that Mr. Giuliani might have been leveraging his work with the president to help his private clients.

At the impeachment trial, Mr. Trump himself had hoped to have his defense call a range of people to testify who had nothing to do with his efforts related to Ukraine, including Hunter Biden, to frame the case around Democrats. But Mr. McConnell repeatedly told the president that witnesses could backfire, and the White House has followed his lead.

Mr. McConnell and other Republicans in the Senate, working in tandem with Mr. Trump’s lawyers, have spent weeks waging their own rhetorical battle to keep their colleagues within the party tent on the question of witnesses, with apparent success. Two of the four Republican senators publicly open to witness votes have sounded notes of skepticism in recent days about the wisdom of having the Senate compel testimony that the House did not get.

Since Mr. Bolton’s statement, White House advisers have floated the possibility that they could go to court to try to obtain a restraining order to stop him from speaking. Such an order would be unprecedented, but any attempt to secure it could succeed in tying up his testimony in legal limbo and scaring off Republican moderates wary of letting the trial drag on when its outcome appears clear.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Xan
3 hours ago, fraurosena said:

John Roberts Can Call Witnesses to Trump’s Trial. Will He?

How much of a political conservative is Justice Roberts?

Remember the "hanging chads" debacle in Florida?  John Roberts was one of the lawyers Dubya sent down to create a scene.  I would hope that being a Supreme would have given him cause to think about trying to be impartial -- but I'm not going to hold my breath on that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
fraurosena
1 minute ago, Xan said:

Remember the "hanging chads" debacle in Florida?  John Roberts was one of the lawyers Dubya sent down to create a scene.  I would hope that being a Supreme would have given him cause to think about trying to be impartial -- but I'm not going to hold my breath on that.

Never heard of this. Can you elaborate?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now



×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.