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White House counsel Pat Cipollone arrives for the Senate impeachment trial. Photo: Olivier Doulery/AFP via Getty Images

Just days ago, Republicans were optimistic President Trump’s defense team could cruise to an acquittal by the end of this week, but many believe his lawyers now face a steep climb to stop a vote to allow new witnesses and drag out the impeachment proceedings.

The bottom line: Allegations in excerpts of former national security advisor John Bolton's forthcoming book — leaked to the New York Times for a story published Sunday night — have shifted the dynamic of the impeachment trial and threaten to upend Republicans' plans.

  • “It’s still possible it could end this week. But over the weekend Republicans were like, ‘Oh the White House doesn’t have to do anything, they should just run [the clock] out.’ But now they have to actually do the work,” a Senate GOP aide said.
  • A source close to Trump's defense team conceded that the Bolton leak was "a complication," but said even if what he claims is true "it doesn't change any of the core facts. The aid was released without any investigations. The meetings were given to [Ukrainian President] Zelensky," the official added.

What we're hearing: Republican senators and their aides are frustrated about the way the Bolton manuscript leaked, with some privately venting suspicions that White House Counsel Pat Cipollone must have known about its contours before a Saturday presentation on the Senate floor during which Trump's defense team asserted there was "no evidence anywhere" that Trump linked Ukraine aid to any investigations.

  • “I don’t see how it’s possible he didn’t,” one GOP aide told Axios. "My boss was pissed to read about it in the Times."
  • A spokesman for the White House National Security Council said in a statement Monday that Bolton's manuscript had been submitted to the NSC for pre-publication review but that "no White House personnel outside the NSC have reviewed the manuscript."

The president's defense team hardly acknowledged the Bolton leak Monday during its arguments on the Senate floor.

  • The first mention of Bolton came around 8:30pm when lawyer Alan Dershowitz asserted that even if Trump did what Bolton claims, it "would not constitute an impeachable offense."
  • The source close to the White House team said they don't plan to focus much more on Bolton beyond Dershowitz's brief mention of him. Instead they'll make their argument more indirectly, through media interviews and private communications with senators.
  • “The floor arguments are designed to be much broader," the source said.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - World

Over 3,000 detained in protests across Russia demanding Navalny's release

Russian police officers beat protestesters at a rally against of jailing of oppositon leader Alexei Navalny in Moscow on Saturday. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

Police in Russia on Saturday arrested more than 3,300 people as protesters nationwide demanded that opposition leader Alexey Navalny be released from jail.

Details: Demonstrations began in the eastern regions of Russia and spread west to more than 60 cities.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Arizona Republicans censure Cindy McCain and GOP governor

Combination images of Cindy McCain and Gov. Doug Ducey. Photo: FilmMagic/FilmMagic for U.S.VETS/Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Arizona Republican Party members voted on Saturday to censure prominent GOP figures Cindy McCain, Gov. Doug Ducey and former Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who've all faced clashes with former President Trump.

Why it matters: Although the resolution is symbolic, this move plus the re-election of the Trump-endorsed Kelli Ward as state GOP chair shows the strong hold the former president has on the party in Arizona, despite President Biden winning the state in the 2020 election.

Updated 8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Health: Most vulnerable Americans aren't getting enough vaccine information — Fauci says Trump administration's lack of facts on COVID "very likely" cost lives.
  2. Education: Schools face an uphill battle to reopen during the pandemic.
  3. Vaccine: Florida requiring proof of residency to get vaccine — CDC extends interval between vaccine doses for exceptional cases.
  4. World: Hong Kong puts tens of thousands on lockdown as cases surge — Pfizer to supply 40 million vaccine doses to lower-income countries — Brazil begins distributing AstraZeneca vaccine.
  5. Sports: 2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck.