Jan 31, 2020 - Politics & Policy

John Kelly: Impeachment without witnesses "seems like a half trial"

Former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly said Friday that the Senate impeachment proceedings for President Trump seem "like a half trial" without witnesses, according to NJ.com.

Context: Kelly's statement comes on the same day the New York Times detailed a portion of former national security adviser John Bolton's unpublished book in which he reportedly writes that Trump asked Bolton to ensure that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky would meet with Rudy Giuliani. Kelly described Bolton as a "copious note taker" and "an honest guy and an honorable guy."

What he's saying: Speaking at an event in New Jersey, Kelly said, "If I was advising the United States Senate, I would say, 'If you don't respond to 75% of the American voters and have witnesses, it's a job only half done [...] You open yourself up forever as a Senate that shirks its responsibilities."

  • Kelly previously said he believes Bolton's account that Trump withheld congressionally approved aid to Ukraine to pressure their government into investigating political rival Joe Biden.

Go deeper: Trump headed for fast acquittal

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Bolton says in new book that Trump asked him to assist Ukraine pressure

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Former national security adviser John Bolton says in a manuscript of his forthcoming book that President Trump asked him in early May to ensure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky would meet with Rudy Giuliani, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: If verified, Bolton's account marks the earliest known point that Trump asked his subordinates to begin to coordinate a push Ukraine to investigate the president's political rivals, including former Vice President Joe Biden and his family.

Bolton indicates more Ukraine details if book prevails over WH "censorship"

Former national security adviser John Bolton on stage at Duke University on Monday. Photo: Melissa Sue Gerrits/Getty Images

Former national security adviser John Bolton said during a talk at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, he hopes his new book is "not suppressed" by the White House, according to journalists present in the room.

This is an effort to write history and I did it the best I can. We'll have to see what comes out of the censorship."
— JohnBolton's comments, per Bloomberg and the New York Times

Trump fires back at John Kelly: He "just can't keep his mouth shut"

Hours after former White House chief of staff John Kelly unleashed broad criticism of President Trump's policy decisions, the president fired back, saying that Kelly "misses the action" and "just can’t keep his mouth shut" in a pair of Thursday tweets.

The big picture: At a New Jersey event, Kelly said that Trump's decision to condition military aid to Ukraine to investigate political rivals overturned long-standing U.S. policy and bashed the president's recent moves on North Korea and immigration.