Reacting to the New York Times’ report about John Bolton’s book, Republican senator Mitt Romney also confirmed he hopes to hear from Trump’s former national security adviser.
Romney had previously indicated he was open to calling new witnesses for the Senate trial, but it remains unclear whether Democratic senators can secure the four Republican votes they need to get their witness request approved.
Romney says it’s ‘increasingly likely’ that more Republicans will back witness request
Mitt Romney, one of the Republican senators that has already expressed openness to calling new witnesses to testify in the impeachment trial, said it was “increasingly likely” other Senate Republicans would support the request.
Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer has proposed calling several White House officials, including Bolton, to testify, but he needs at least four Republican senators to cross party lines to get the request approved.
Following the report about John Bolton’s forthcoming book, five Republican senators have canceled their press conference scheduled for this morning.
Some Republican senators are reportedly pushing for more information from the White House about which officials knew about Bolton’s book.
According to the New York Times, the former national security adviser’s manuscript includes a claims that Trump directly tied Ukraine’s military assistance to investigations of the Democrats.
Arriving at the Capitol this morning, House speaker Nancy Pelosi reiterated her support for calling new witnesses to testify in the Senate impeachment trial, including John Bolton.
The House was on recess last week as the Senate trial got into full swing, but members are returning today for leadership meetings and votes.
Emails contradict Pompeo’s claims that NPR reporter lied to him
Secretary of state Mike Pompeo is attracting criticism for his claim that an NPR reporter lied to him about the parameters of an interview after emails appeared to contradict the allegation.
The Guardian’s Oliver Laughland reports:
Newly released emails between the office of Mike Pompeo and NPR reporter Mary Louise Kelly cast further doubt on the secretary of state’s extraordinary claim that the journalist lied to him before a contentious interview.
Pompeo, who reportedly subjected Kelly to an expletive-ridden rant in his private living room after an interview during which he was asked about his role in the Ukraine scandal, issued a statement in which he accused the reporter of violating ‘the basic rules of journalism and decency’.
Kelly maintained that her meeting with Pompeo after the recorded interview was not agreed to be off the record. NPR has stood by its reporter and emails quoted by the Washington Post show Kelly clearly expressing that Ukraine would be discussed.
Schiff says Americans should see Bolton’s testimony live
Speaking to CNN this morning, lead impeachment manager Adam Schiff said the news about John Bolton’s book underscored the need for the former national security adviser to testify in the Senate trial.
“I think the American people should see his testimony live,” Schiff said.
The House intelligence committee chair added that Bolton’s claims proved Trump’s reasoning for trying to block officials’ testimony — that he was protecting the privileges of future presidents — was “shallow” and “false.”
Bolton wrote in a manuscript of his forthcoming book that Trump directly tied Ukraine’s military assistance to investigations of Democrats, including Joe Biden.
The White House has reportedly had a copy of Bolton’s manuscript since Dec. 30, which Schiff said he found unsurprising given the administration’s response to Trump’s impeachment so far.
Schiff confirmed he has not yet read the manuscript, but he said he was particularly interested in obtaining Bolton’s notes from his time as national security adviser.
The impeachment manager also highlighted one reported detail from the book: that Bolton raised concerns about Trump’s July call with attorney general William Barr, who has claimed he first learned about the conversation with the Ukrainian president in mid-August.
“This was Bill Barr trying to protect Bill Barr,” Schiff said.
According to one of the New York Times reporters who broke the news about John Bolton, some Republican senators are now pushing for more information on which White House officials knew about the former national security adviser’s book.
Bolton’s lawyer, Charles J. Cooper, insisted last night that leaks about the book’s contents clearly came from the White House, which was given a copy of the manuscript on Dec. 30.
“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,” Cooper said.
Bolton’s claims that Trump directly tied Ukraine’s military assistance to investigations of Democrats could make it more difficult for Republicans to oppose calling new witnesses to testify in the Senate impeachment trial.
Trump pushes back against potential Bolton testimony
Good morning, live blog readers!
It seems the president has read his New York Times this morning. Donald Trump began the day by tweeting out his complaints about John Bolton, his former national security adviser.
According to the Times’ report, Bolton wrote in an early draft of his forthcoming book that Trump said military aid to Ukraine was conditioned on investigations into the Democrats, including Joe Biden and his son.
Trump denied that allegation, but the report intensified Democrats’ demands to have Bolton testify in the Senate impeachment trial. The president also pushed back against that, pointing to House Democrats’ decision not to subpoena Bolton during the impeachment inquiry.
But the real question is how the Times’ report will affect Republicans’ thinking on witness testimony. Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer will need four Republicans to cross party lines to get witness testimony approved.
Otherwise, the Senate trial could wrap up this week, and it will almost certainly end in the president’s acquittal.
Here’s what else the blog is keeping its eye on today:
- The impeachment trial will resume at 1 p.m. ET, when the president’s lawyers will continue presenting their opening arguments.
- At the White House, Trump is meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his election opponent, Benny Gantz, as part of discussions over a potential peace plan.
- The Iowa caucuses are one week away, and several Democratic presidential candidates — Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Tom Steyer and John Delaney — are campaigning in the Hawkeye State today.
The blog will have much more coming up, so stay tuned.