Donald Trump’s lawyers resume their pleadings in the Senate Monday in the impeachment trial, but their task is complicated by statements by a former White House adviser that contradicts one of the key arguments in the defense of the American president.
Former national security adviser John Bolton to publish book stating White House tenant has conditioned Ukraine’s military aid on investigations of political rivals revealed the New York Times Sunday evening.
Donald Trump vigorously denied having made such confidences to his former adviser, whom he sacked in September, and said he had not seen the manuscript of the book in question.
The “give and take” mentioned by John Bolton is at the heart of the historic trial for the dismissal of the Republican president, opened a week ago in the Senate.
Donald Trump is almost guaranteed to be acquitted since it would take two thirds of senators (67 votes out of 100) to convict him, a threshold a priori unattainable. His Democratic opposition hopes, however, that the trial will tarnish his image within 300 days of the presidential election.
The Democrats are trying to convince at least four of the 53 Republican senators to join them in calling for the calling of new witnesses, including John Bolton, which would delay the President’s acquittal and further cloud his re-election campaign.
So far, they have met with the refusal of Republican senators without exception, but the latest revelations may have moved the lines.
“I increasingly believe that other Republicans are joining those of us who think we should be hearing from John Bolton,” Republican Senator Mitt Romney said on Monday.
“The articles on John Bolton’s book (…) sparked many conversations among my colleagues,” added moderate Republican Senator Susan Collins.
A political “coup”
A vote on the issue of witnesses is expected to take place on Tuesday or Wednesday, after Donald Trump’s lawyers have concluded their arguments.
After a short introduction on Saturday, in which they assured that the president had “done nothing wrong”, they will endeavor Monday from midday to dismantle the accusation file drawn up by the Democratic opposition.
The former real estate mogul was indicted on December 18 by the House of Representatives at the hands of the Democrats because he asked his Ukrainian counterpart this summer to investigate Joe Biden, well placed for the to face during the presidential election of November 3.
At the same time, the White House had frozen an envelope of nearly 400 million dollars, approved by the Congress of the United States, to help this ally in armed conflict with Russia.
Democrats say the president has committed an “abuse of power” by using state resources to put pressure on Kiev. Once “unmasked”, he “hindered” the congressional investigation by prohibiting his advisers from cooperating in the investigations, they still accuse him.
Donald Trump and his supporters claim that the president was in his role when he asked Ukraine to investigate the affairs of Joe Biden’s son Hunter in this corrupt country and that the blocking of aid had failed nothing to do with his request.
There has been “no pressure, no give and take”, they have been hammering for months, presenting the president as the victim of a political “coup”.
In his manuscript, John Bolton writes however that the president had confided to him not to want to release the promised aid to Ukraine until this country would not open an investigation on Joe Biden.
“I have NEVER told John Bolton that aid to Ukraine was linked to investigations of Democrats, including the Biden,” the impetuous president tweeted, accusing his former adviser of trying to “sell a delivered”.
“A new section of the president’s defense is collapsing”, for his part judged on CNN the elected representative of the House of Representatives Adam Schiff, while calling again for the summons of John Bolton, who said he was ready to present to the Senate if he receives a summons.
“I don’t know how you can say you want the truth in this trial and refuse to hear a witness who had a direct conversation on the subject at the heart of the indictment,” said the “chief prosecutor”. Democrat.