Thursday, 27 February, 2020

Trump team concludes impeachment defense, argues against calling John Bolton for testimony

Former national security adviser John Bolton’s bombshell allegations may not have the devastating impact Democrats desire but they have caused Trump team wraps impeachment defence with Bolton testimony in question
Travis Berry | 30 January, 2020, 00:26

Democrats, including lead impeachment manager Adam Schiff (right), have argued they did not call Bolton to testify in the House because his deputy, Charles Kupperman (right), filed a lawsuit when he was subpoenaed - which could have held up the impeachment proceedings for months.

The Senate impeachment trial has entered a two-day period of questioning, during which each party will alternate for up to 16 hours throughout Wednesday and Thursday.

Trump's legal team's arguments came after the prosecution from the House of Representatives used almost all of its 24 hours over three days to present its side as to why Trump should be removed from office. Republican leaders conveyed optimism Wednesday that they would have the votes to defeat the Democrats' attempt to call witnesses and ultimately to acquit the president by the weekend.

The Republican-controlled Senate is nearly certain to acquit Trump, who has painted the impeachment proceedings as an effort by Democrats to poison his re-election.

Trump disagreed in a tweet Wednesday in which he complained that Bolton, after he was sacked, "goes out and IMMEDIATELY writes a nasty & untrue book". Democrats need at least four Republican senators to side with them in their plan to file a motion to include witnesses and new evidence in the case. Although two Republicans - Romney and Collins - have indicated they are likely to want to hear from Bolton, it is unclear whether there will be two additional GOP votes.

Trump's defense team, in response, argued that a manuscript of Bolton's book would be "inadmissible" in the trial.

Trump and his allies blast the impeachment case as a political stunt, arguing no more witnesses should be heard and that the House of Representatives rushed a weak case.

Bolton left the White House last September and says he offered his resignation.

"It is not a game of leaks and unsourced manuscripts", Mr Sekulow said, adding that the reports of Mr Bolton's allegations were grossly misrepresentative.

"Mental Health: Every Action Counts", Wednesday is Bell Let's Talk Day
A student attends a Bell Let's Talk Day event at Brescia University College in London, Ont. on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020. Since its inception in 2010, 86 per cent of Canadians report that they are more aware of mental health issues.

President Donald Trump launched his sharpest attack yet on John Bolton on Wednesday after his former national security adviser depicted him as playing a central role in a pressure campaign on Ukraine, while an indicted businessman linked to the scandal created a spectacle arriving for Trump's impeachment trial. And Trump has dismissed Bolton as a disgruntled employee whom he fired because of policy differences.

The implication of the poll for Trump's opponents is clear: Americans want witnesses, so let Bolton in.

Citing multiple people's description of the manuscript, the Times reported that Bolton claims Trump told him in August that he wanted to continue holding military aid to Ukraine until the country helped with investigations into Democrats, including former Vice President Joe Biden - claims that the President denied.

"If a president does something which he believes will help him get elected in the public interest, that can not be the kind of quid pro quo that results in impeachment", retired Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz told the Senate during the first day of the question-and-answer phase of Trump's impeachment trial.

"If John Bolton says that in the book, I believe John Bolton, " Kelly said.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told senators on Tuesday he did not have the votes to block Democrats from calling witnesses because some Republicans remained uncommitted, several media outlets reported.

The President's defense attorneys in his Senate impeachment trial have criticized the House impeachment managers for not producing any first-hand witnesses alleging that any quid pro quo came from the president himself. GOP Sens. Mitt Romney of Utah, Susan Collins of ME and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska all have said they are interested in hearing from witnesses.

'[N] ow that the President has called his credibility into question, it's important to set the record straight, ' Engel said in his statement.

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