John Bolton

Washington – As President Donald Trump’s lawyers continued their defense Monday, Connecticut Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy joined other Democratic colleagues in saying new revelations from John Bolton bolsters their case for summoning witnesses in the Senate’s impeachment trial.

“We need to hear from (Bolton) and see his manuscripts and his notes,” Blumenthal said.

In his forthcoming book, former national security adviser Bolton alleges Trump directly tied the holdup of nearly $400 million in U.S. military aid to Ukraine’s investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter. The New York Times broke the story Sunday.

The allegation – which is at the heart of the charges against the president— prompted two Republican senators, Sue Collins of Maine and Mitt Romney of Utah, to consider supporting Democrats who want to call Bolton and others as witnesses in the Senate trial.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal knocked Trump’s impeachment lawyers’ arguments

But four Republicans must vote with the Democrats for a motion to succeed that calls in witnesses and/or solicits new documents.

“My Republican colleagues are seemingly silent on the Bolton issue,” Blumenthal said during a break in the trial. “Aside from vague noises about ‘maybe witnesses’ and ‘maybe documents.’”

Murphy said he did not know if his GOP colleagues would “step up to the plate,” and vote to allow for witnesses and documents.

He said his conversations with Republican senators “have been harder and harder,” after the impeachment trial got underway.

Murphy also said Bolton’s allegations do not come as a surprise.

“We have voluminous testimony from dozens of witnesses and conspirators about this scheme,” he said.

Blumenthal said if Republicans “made a decision now,” in the second week of Trump’s trial, witnesses could immediately be deposed behind closed doors.

Republicans argue that House impeachment investigators should have called in the witnesses Senate Democrats want to hear from – and battle the White House in court if it continues to block them.

Republicans are also advancing another argument – that the White House would claim executive privilege and block witnesses, resulting in months-long delays in the trial as the courts consider the conflict between Congress and the executive branch.

At the end of the day, however, roiled by Bolton’s allegations, some Republican senators floated the idea of a one-for-one exchange of witnesses, Bolton for Hunter Biden.

Meanwhile, Trump on Monday denied speaking with Bolton about any quid pro quo.

In the 1999 impeachment trial of former President Bill Clinton, the Senate voted to hear from witnesses and spent five days taking depositions. Those depositions were taken after opening arguments and after senators submitted questions to the House impeachment managers and Clinton’s defense team.

The defense of the president on Monday was kicked off by former independent counsel Ken Starr, who investigated Clinton. Starr slammed House Democrats, saying they had denied Trump “basic rights” during the House impeachment inquiry by blocking the participation of the president’s lawyers, although the House Judiciary Committee had invited them to participate.

Starr also lamented the United States is now in the “age of impeachment,” and argued the two articles of impeachment approved by the House — abuse of power and contempt of Congress — are not impeachable offenses because they are not crimes.

Allegations in the yet to be published book by former national security adviser John Bolton has rocked Trump’s impeachment trial.

“All the (legal) scholars reject the argument that it must be a crime,” Blumenthal said.

He also said Starr’s argument “gave new meaning to the word ‘irony,’ or maybe ‘hypocrisy.’”

Starr vigorously pursued Clinton’s impeachment on the charge that he lied to investigators about sex with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

Late in the day,  Harvard Law School professor  a and member of Trump defense team, Alan Dershowitz, also said he could not find constitutional justification for the impeachment of a president for non-criminal conduct, or conduct that was not at least “akin” to defined criminal conduct.

Before Dershowitz made his case, the  president’s lawyers focused on the Bidens.

Pam Bondi questioned why Hunter Biden was given a seat on the board of Ukrainian gas company Burisma, unless it was “because his last name was Biden.”

Trump’s legal team say the president had every right to ask Ukraine to investigate “corruption” because of  Hunter Biden’s involvement in Burisma.

Blumenthal called this legal tactic “a losing argument” because, he said, there’s no evidence the Bidens did anything wrong.

Blumenthal also said Trump’s lawyers were  operating within a “bubble of denial,” because none of them mentioned Bolton on Monday.

“The rest of America is talking about John Bolton and not a single mention of him in this chamber,” Blumenthal said.

Ana has written about politics and policy in Washington, D.C.. for Gannett, Thompson Reuters and UPI. She was a special correspondent for the Miami Herald, and a regular contributor to The New York TImes, Advertising Age and several other publications. She has also worked in broadcast journalism, for CNN and several local NPR stations. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Journalism.

Join the Conversation

24 Comments

  1. It’s obviously very clear what Trump did. It is just a matter of if it’s alright with you. Human beings can rationalize away just about anything; attempt to justify in just about anyway imaginable.

    1. It is not just clear what Trump did. He admitted it! He just doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with what he did, and most Republican members of Congress (House and Senate) seem to agree with him (or are just afraid of his wrath if they disagree). What’s worse is that the Republican Senators are doing the equivalent of sticking their fingers in their ears and going “La la la la la can’t hear you”. The mind boggles.

      1. The Senate will be saying to America and the entire world that corruption is an accepted feature of the United States executive branch. The loss of confidence and respect to America will have the most severe ramifications for decades to come. They’ll talk about this throughout history.

      2. There has been no evidence — Zero, Nada, Zilch — that either Joe or Hunter Biden have done anything wrong, inappropriate, illegal or corrupt. But if Trump had suspicions about them, it would not have been wrong for him to have them investigated. What was wrong was withholding hundreds of millions of dollars in aid as leverage to have a foreign government to do the investigating. He only released the aid when he got caught — when the whistleblower’s complaint was revealed. The GAO’s recent report confirmed that the Trump administration broke federal law. I could go on, but what’s the point? Trump supporters simply refuse to see.

      3. “A million dollars a year with investigations”. What are you even talking about? I’m sure no one else knows either. Please explain.
        Aren’t you sick of being lied to? Aren’t you sick of being so taken for granted that you’ll support this guy until the cows come home? Aren’t you sick of being so gullible that they just say stuff and you just take it and run with it? Aren’t you sick of going out to a party or wherever and being afraid to open your mouth because you have deep down an inferiority complex because you know, you know that where you get your “information” from is not authoritative?

      4. bc2002, I answered that claim above, but I’ll try again: You are misconstruing and misrepresenting that video. I have watched it and listened to it, and I have read the background of what prompted it. Have you? Biden wasn’t threatening Ukraine because of his son. There was a legitimate US policy behind it, as well as the fact that many EU countries also believed that prosecutor was corrupt and wanted him gone. BTW, the investigation involving Burisma — which had
        begun before Biden’s son joined the board — had gone dormant under that
        prosecutor’s watch. Those facts may not matter to you, but facts DO matter.

      5. And once trust is lost, it takes lots of work and lots of time to regain. What a sad chapter in US history.

      6. Can you please cite where you got your information on Biden’s “corruption”? I’ve been looking at a bunch of media outlets and all I’m finding being reported is that there was no evidence of corruption on the part of Joe or Hunter Biden. I have read a bunch of speculation and misinformation on this issue but evidence? No, sorry, it appears to be an effort to turn our attention from the Impeachment of trump and the mounting evidence of his wrong-doing.

      7. Ella,
        The OWNER of BURISMA was being investigated about ALL his business dealings, and not just Burisma.
        Hunter Biden was NOT being investigated.
        Trump and the Republicans are the Masters of Chaos.

      8. bc2002, you are misconstruing and misrepresenting that video. I have watched it and listened to it, and I have read the background of what prompted it. Have you? Biden wasn’t threatening Ukraine because of his son. There was a legitimate US policy behind it, as well as the fact that many EU countries also believed that prosecutor was corrupt and wanted him gone. BTW, the investigation involving Burisma — which had begun before Biden’s son joined the board — had gone dormant under that prosecutor’s watch. Those facts may not matter to you, but facts matter.

      9. Politicians, ex politicians and their relatives have been getting jobs they don’t deserve since the Cavemen days!
        Secondly, did you even read the transcript?

      10. Nononsense,
        It will never happen but Dems should arrange for Hunter Biden to testify if Bolton testifies. And also never happen but see if Joe Biden would also too in exchange for Mick Mulvaney. That would be a great move. It would totally freak out Republicans and force them to say no.

      11. That really would turn this trial into a spectacle. Might make them apopleptic. Might be fun. But what if the Republicans don’t say no? I would prefer to see Chief Justice Roberts rule — rightly — that Joe and Hunter Biden are not relevant witnesses. Not only do they not have firsthand or secondhand or even thirdhand information about Trump’s actions, they have no-hand information.

      12. You do realize you are the only one who doesn’t believe Russia interfered in 2016 election, right?
        the following intelligence and national security groups have stated that Russia interfered in the election:
        1. Central Intelligence Agency
        2. Office of the Director of National Intelligence
        3. F.B.I.
        4. National Security Agency
        5. Justice Department
        6. Department of Homeland Security
        7. House Intelligence Committee
        8. Senate Intelligence Committee

  2. Wow. It is amazing how the FACTS are trumped by the hatred and resentment so deeply rooted. Just keep repeating debunked propaganda and totally disregard the truth as exposed by the dems own witnesses ………REST of THE STORY. Not going to take the time to spell out what has been clearly demonstrated over the past few days. Most notably by a staunch dem who is also a personal friend and supporter of bill and hill. He loves the constitution and America much more than a party. What a rare bird……….Our country and future generations have been damaged by this farce which began 3 years ago.

    1. I agree 100%. This farce of an administration has divided this country and has repeatedly embarrassed the US internationally. The hatred and resentment of the right along with the intellectually-bereft propaganda spewed out 24/7 on fox “news” is further driving a divide between Americans. The amount of misinformation being parroted by the right, regardless of any factual basis, is staggering. Personally, I can’t wait until we return to a time where the truth matters. Thanks!

  3. simple remedy to this – Both Trump and Bolton called as witnesses, raise their right hands, take the oath to tell the truth, and get asked the question.

    1. I’m not sure Trump could tell the truth if his life depended on it. I’m not sure Trump could recognize the truth. And I’m not sure an oath means anything to him.

    2. That would be great. But only if Pompeo, Mulvanney, Bolton testify.
      Not sure what they have to do why Trump was impeached though.

      Realities are, you guys don’t want witnesses. Maybe it is better this way, though it is upsetting that he is getting away with what the Founding Fathers most feared. Getting defeated in November will be more satisfying. This way he is more humiliated. Can’t wait to hear him do what he does best, whine about how unjust and unfair it is.

  4. More allegations, assumptions, and suppositions. Facts anyone?? Bolton’s mantra has always been MAKE WAR , lots of them and make them never ending, and this President has determined that it is Not in the best interest of Our Country to send our young men and women to die on foreign soil to financially profit the Bolton War Machine Camp. , Pile on Kelly and the rest of those profiting by the President’s POLICIES and it really isn’t hard to see what is afoot. That is of course if you are interested.

Leave a comment
Cancel reply