Jan 28, 2020

Former top Trump aide John Kelly: "I believe John Bolton"

Kelly in the Oval Office in 2018. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly is backing claims made by John Bolton in a new book about President Trump, according to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

Why it matters: Bolton alleges in his upcoming book that Trump told him he needed to freeze military aid to Ukraine until the country opened an investigation into Democrats, including the Bidens, the New York Times reported on Sunday.

What he's saying: "If John Bolton says that in the book I believe John Bolton," Kelly said Monday to an audience in Sarasota, Florida.

  • "Every single time I was with him ... he always gave the president the unvarnished truth," Kelly said of Bolton, according to the Herald-Tribune.

The big picture: Admitting additional witnesses — specifically Bolton — has become a focus for House impeachment managers in Trump's ongoing trial in the Senate.

  • A few GOP senators signaled that they may support additional witnesses Monday following the revelations about Bolton's book. The president's defense, however, shied away from the reports.
  • Republican sources told Axios on Monday that Republicans feel "there is a sense in the Senate that if one witness is allowed, the floodgates are open."

Go deeper ... Live impeachment updates: Trump's team set to close out its case

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Republicans fear "floodgates" if Bolton testifies

Photo: Yuri Oreshkin/TASS via Getty Images

There may be enough new pressure on Senate Republicans to allow witnesses at President Trump's impeachment trial, after the leak from a forthcoming book by former national security adviser John Bolton that contradicts what the White House has been telling the country.

Why it matters: This is a dramatic, 11th-hour inflection point for the trial, with an eyewitness rebuttal to Trump's claim that he never tied the hold-up of Ukrainian aid to investigations into Joe Biden.

Go deeperArrowJan 27, 2020

Romney: It's "increasingly likely" Senate Republicans will vote for Bolton testimony

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) said Monday that it is "increasingly likely" that he and at least three other Senate Republicans will vote to call former national security adviser John Bolton as a witness in President Trump's impeachment trial.

Why it matters: His comments come after the New York Times reported that Bolton alleges in his forthcoming book that Trump told him he needed aid withheld from Ukraine until it helped with investigations into Democrats, including the Bidens.

Go deeperArrowJan 27, 2020

The GOP senators signaling support for witnesses following Bolton report

From left: Sen. Susan Collins, former national security adviser John Bolton, Sen. Mitt Romney. Photos: Getty Images

At least three Republican senators are signaling support for calling John Bolton as a witness in President Trump's Senate impeachment trial, following reports that the former national security adviser's forthcoming book includes allegations that Trump said he conditioned aid to Ukraine on the nation investigating his political rivals.

The state of play: The revelations from Bolton's book could be enough to sway the four Republican senators needed to vote for witness testimony in the trial, GOP sources told Axios on Monday.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Jan 30, 2020