Jan 29, 2020

Graham argues Bolton shouldn't be witness in Trump impeachment trial

Photo: Getty Images

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Wednesday that he does not feel additional witnesses are needed in President Trump's impeachment trial — despite the Ukraine-linked revelations from former national security adviser John Bolton's unpublished manuscript.

The state of play: In a statement, Graham argued that "one could assume everything attributable to John Bolton is accurate and still the House case would fall well below the standards to remove a president from office."

  • Republican leadership has moved to avoid calling witnesses, particularly Bolton, hoping to keep the trial short.
  • But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told his caucus Tuesday that the GOP does not currently have the votes to block witnesses.

Between the lines: Graham said that he was concerned about Bolton's credibility being attacked, saying "it makes it more likely some will feel the need to call him as a witness."

  • That's likely a reference to Trump lashing out at Bolton on Twitter on Wednesday morning. The president said the U.S. "would be in World War Six by now" if he had listened to his former national security head during his tenure.
  • Graham said that if Bolton were called as a witness, then it would be important "to call witnesses on other issues," implying that he'd support pushing for Hunter Biden to take the stand.

Go deeper: Manchin says he believes Hunter Biden is relevant impeachment witness

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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

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

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.

Go deeperArrowJan 28, 2020