Willing to Testify Before Senate on Trump's Impeachment Trial, Says Bolton

Willing to Testify Before Senate on Trump's Impeachment Trial, Says Bolton

The Republican-dominated Senate has yet to decide on what format Trump's trial will take, following his impeachment late past year by the lower House of Representatives.

Democrats believe Bolton has direct knowledge supporting charges of abuse of power and obstruction by the president.

Pelosi is demanding Senate testimony from current and former Trump administration officials, including White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and former National Security Adviser John Bolton, as the price for submitting the House impeachment articles to the Senate.

In a July 25 phone call, Trump allegedly made almost $400 million military aid to help Ukraine fight Russian-backed separatists and a coveted White House meeting for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky contingent on a "quid pro quo" arrangement.

Trump's ex-national security adviser, who parted ways with the administration on a sour note in September, revealed he would comply with Democrats who have expressed interest in his testimony. Former Bolton deputy Fiona Hill testified to House investigators that Bolton referred to the Ukraine scheme as a "drug deal" and warned that Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani was a "hand grenade who's going to blow everybody up".

Chuck Schumer, top Democrat in the Senate, has proposed calling several witnesses, including Bolton, but McConnell has so far rejected Schumer's terms. Republicans hold 53 seats in the Senate, so Hawley's proposal stands little chance unless majority Republicans take the "nuclear option" to bypass the rules and pass the measure with 51 votes.

"And then, we took up the issue of witnesses", she added. It puts McConnell and Senate Republicans in a position in which they'll have to decide whether to hear from an important witness, who's ready to talk, and who has first-hand information directly relevant to the case, or whether GOP senators will say, "No, thanks, we prefer willful ignorance".

Democrats have been hopeful they could persuade a few Republicans to side with them on their push for witnesses, which would require only a simple majority and could unearth evidence damaging to Trump.

Since the vote, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has held the articles and has yet to turn them over to the Senate. It sounds like he spent some time deliberating over a scenario in which he would have to choose between a congressional subpoena to testify and presidential directive to refrain from doing so.

Other witnesses have already testified that Mr Bolton was opposed to the aid freeze, and tried to convince Mr Trump to end it.

Schumer has sparred with McConnell to try to win assurances that key Trump White House aides will be allowed to testify at the impeachment trial, which would be only the third such impeachment proceeding in US history.

Citing the impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton in 1999, McConnell, the Senate majority leader, said that a decision to call witnesses should be made only after the trial has begun.

Trump on Sunday reiterated his threat that Iranian cultural sites were fair game following a warning by Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Hosseini Khamenei that "a harsh retaliation is waiting".

Despite rising tensions with Iran, President Trump has reserved much of his social media ire on Monday for the impeachment proceedings against him. The White House was not informed. The first step is trying to get articles of impeachment which we haven't gotten yet.

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