SEVERE WX : Winter Weather Advisory View Alerts

GOP strains to contain Bolton fallout in impeachment trial

Republican senators are trying to figure out a way to deal with the fallout from Bolton’s forthcoming book, which provides a potential eyewitness account of Trump’s actions at the heart of the impeachment charges.

Posted: Jan 29, 2020 1:29 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial is shifting to questions from senators, a pivotal juncture as Republicans lack the votes to block witnesses and face a potential setback in their hope of ending the trial with a quick acquittal.

Despite Trump’s defense team’s plea for it to “end now,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell privately told senators he doesn’t yet have the votes to brush back Democratic demands for witnesses now that revelations from John Bolton, the former national security adviser, have roiled the trial.

Republican senators are trying to figure out a way to deal with the fallout from Bolton’s forthcoming book, which provides a potential eyewitness account of Trump’s actions at the heart of the impeachment charges.

But ideas being floated are fizzling almost as soon as they arise — among them, a witness “swap” with Democrats or issuing a subpoena for Bolton’s manuscript.

GOP senators are sternly warned by party leaders that calling Bolton as a witness could entangle the trial in lengthy legal battles and delay Trump’s expected acquittal.

One key Republican, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, gave fresh momentum Wednesday to a one-for-one witness deal saying it’s “very important that there be fairness, that each side be able to select a witness or two.”

But Democrats dismissed those offers, especially as Republicans want to draw Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, deeper into the proceedings.

“It’s irrelevant. It’s a distraction,” said Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer.

Bolton writes in a forthcoming book that Trump told him he wanted to withhold military aid from Ukraine until it helped with investigations into Democratic rival Joe Biden. That assertion, if true, would undercut a key defense argument and go to the heart of one of the two articles of impeachment against the president.

“I think Bolton probably has something to offer us,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska.

Trump disagreed in a tweet Wednesday in which he complained that Bolton, after he left the White House, “goes out and IMMEDIATELY writes a nasty & untrue book. All Classified National Security.”

The White House on Wednesday sent a letter to Bolton’s attorney objecting to “significant amounts of classified information” in the manuscript, including at the Top Secret level. The former national security adviser and his attorney have insisted that the book does not contain any classified information.

The finding could delay the book’s publication if Bolton is forced to revise the draft.

Bolton left the White House last September and says he resigned. Trump says he was fired.

The uncertainty about witnesses arises days before crucial votes on the issue. In a Senate split 53-47 in favor of Republicans, at least four GOP senators must join all Democrats to reach the 51 votes required to call witnesses, decide whom to call or do nearly anything else in the trial. Several Republicans apparently are ready to join Democrats in calling witnesses.

One Democrat, the centrist Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, said he’d wouldn’t have a problem hearing from Hunter Biden,who was on the board of a Ukrainian gas company, but doubted it will happen.

The witness swaps seem likely to fail as most Republican senators don’t want to call Bolton and most Democrats would rather avoid dragging the Bidens further into the impeachment proceedings. The Bidens were a focus of defense arguments though no evidence of wrongdoing has emerged.

One person watching from the sidelines Wednesday is Lev Parnas, the indicted associate of Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who arrived at the Capitol saying, “I want to testify.” Parnas, who has turned over evidence for the proceedings, cannot enter the Senate with his court-ordered electronic-tracking device.

The two days set aside for questions, Wednesday and Thursday, also allow each side more time to win over any undecided senators pondering the witness issue.

In the meantime, all will have the opportunity to grill both the House Democrats prosecuting the case and the Republican president’s defense team.

Senators are to submit their written questions to be read by Chief Justice John Roberts.

A key question for both sides is whether Trump’s actions rise to the level of “high crimes and misdemeanors,” but that issue is seen through a highly partisan lens on each side.

Trump faces charges from Democrats that he abused his power like no other president, jeopardizing U.S.-Ukraine relations by using the military aid as leverage while the vulnerable ally battled Russia. Democrats say Trump then obstructed their probe in a way that threatens the nation’s three-branch system of checks and balances.

The president’s legal team tried to lock up its case Tuesday and convince GOP senators that the president was right to ask Ukraine for investigations of Biden and his son Hunter and was well within his power to block the aid. They said he was not bound to abide by the congressional investigation.

Trump attorney Jay Sekulow addressed the Bolton controversy head-on in closing arguments by dismissing the former national security adviser’s manuscript as “inadmissible.”

Attorney Alan Dershowitz, the Harvard scholar, said earlier that even if Bolton’s story is true the actions don’t rise to an impeachable offense.

Senate Republicans spent considerable time in private discussing how to deal with Bolton’s manuscript without extending the proceedings or jeopardizing the president’s expected acquittal. They were set to meet privately again Wednesday.

Some Republicans including Sen. Pat Toomey want reciprocity -- bringing in Bolton or another Democratic witness in exchange for one from the GOP side.

It’s an idea initially pushed by conservative Sens. Josh Hawley, Ted Cruz and Mike Braun, separate from the centrists whose votes are in doubt.

Some Republicans want to hear from Biden and his son, who was on the board of the Ukrainian gas company when his father was vice president.

“I don’t know that the manuscript would make any difference in the outcome of the trial,” said Roy Blunt of Missouri, a member of GOP leadership. And some Republicans said they simply don’t trust Bolton’s word. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky called Bolton “disgruntled”’ and seeking to make money off his time at the White house.

But John Kelly, Trump’s former White House chief of staff, told an audience in Sarasota, Florida, that he believes Bolton.

White House officials privately acknowledge that they are essentially powerless to block the book’s publication but could sue after the fact if they believe it violated the confidentiality agreement Bolton signed.

Trump and his lawyers have argued repeatedly that Democrats are using impeachment to try to undo the results of the last presidential election and drive Trump from office.

Democrats, meanwhile, say Trump’s refusal to allow administration officials to testify only reinforces that the White House is hiding evidence.

The White House has had Bolton’s manuscript for about a month, according to a letter from Bolton’s attorney.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 611039

Reported Deaths: 9716
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion844351336
Lake45508685
Allen32891552
Hamilton29546315
St. Joseph27449381
Elkhart24440345
Vanderburgh19513250
Tippecanoe18043140
Johnson15140295
Porter14865169
Hendricks14440248
Madison11009222
Vigo10769181
Clark10731144
Monroe9424113
Delaware9152134
LaPorte9103164
Howard8268144
Kosciusko808983
Warrick676599
Hancock6741104
Bartholomew6523100
Floyd6469110
Wayne6157162
Grant6011116
Dubois556980
Boone554668
Morgan545795
Henry509764
Marshall505384
Cass485264
Dearborn483245
Noble474059
Jackson426747
Shelby419581
Lawrence392980
Clinton374243
Gibson372559
Harrison350945
DeKalb348264
Montgomery346554
Knox335839
Miami323044
Steuben314545
Whitley309726
Wabash304551
Adams302136
Ripley300046
Putnam297850
Huntington293159
Jasper290534
White274143
Daviess271274
Jefferson264738
Decatur248983
Fayette247848
Greene241162
Posey240328
Wells236451
LaGrange229662
Scott225739
Clay223532
Randolph214948
Jennings199336
Sullivan192933
Spencer192422
Washington187523
Fountain184627
Starke175643
Jay168223
Owen166837
Fulton164230
Orange160835
Carroll159115
Rush155818
Perry155229
Vermillion149334
Franklin149033
Tipton133033
Parke13088
Pike118226
Blackford111422
Pulaski97337
Newton91721
Brown88235
Benton86910
Crawford8069
Martin74413
Warren6857
Switzerland6665
Union6287
Ohio4957
Unassigned0376

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 864322

Reported Deaths: 10711
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin101705707
Cuyahoga860661145
Hamilton64392448
Montgomery43309418
Summit35063761
Lucas31500625
Butler31128232
Stark25933435
Warren19746141
Lorain19165223
Mahoning17383338
Lake16178154
Clermont16057111
Delaware1445479
Licking13274137
Fairfield1287781
Trumbull12861316
Greene12114139
Medina11666168
Clark10995265
Wood10407158
Allen9945126
Portage9382109
Miami921073
Richland9186118
Marion7467113
Tuscarawas7410182
Columbiana7356124
Pickaway728450
Wayne7080171
Muskingum705241
Erie6188129
Hancock554390
Ross5532100
Scioto541664
Geauga513555
Darke471092
Lawrence457958
Ashtabula454673
Union454628
Sandusky438562
Mercer434489
Seneca431566
Huron430041
Auglaize423064
Shelby421922
Jefferson420569
Belmont417740
Washington391840
Athens38129
Putnam376275
Madison356529
Knox354422
Ashland347438
Fulton339343
Defiance332286
Crawford323874
Preble321437
Brown313921
Logan309132
Ottawa294943
Clinton290743
Williams279467
Highland276718
Jackson265345
Guernsey256326
Champaign252628
Fayette237330
Morrow23334
Perry232018
Holmes225674
Henry220149
Hardin214033
Coshocton205722
Van Wert202645
Gallia198826
Wyandot196151
Pike177417
Adams176915
Hocking172624
Carroll156216
Paulding144721
Noble120740
Meigs109024
Monroe101032
Harrison89421
Morgan83430
Vinton70813
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Cloudy
32° wxIcon
Hi: 32° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 20°
Angola
Cloudy
28° wxIcon
Hi: 31° Lo: 20°
Feels Like: 17°
Huntington
Cloudy
31° wxIcon
Hi: 32° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 22°
Fort Wayne
Cloudy
32° wxIcon
Hi: 32° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 20°
Lima
Cloudy
32° wxIcon
Hi: 32° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 22°
Wintry Mix & Snow
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events