Jan 27, 2020

Republicans take a "deep breath" on impeachment trial after Bolton report

Photo: Senate Television via Getty Images

Despite the Bolton hullabaloo, the floodgates still aren't open on the Trump impeachment trial.

Why it matters: There won't be a witness vote for at least another few days, putting an edge on the proceedings but hardly shutting them down.

  • Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) told reporters the Senate will have a vote on witnesses on Friday.

The big picture: There’s a growing sense on the Hill that the White House has a lot of cleanup to do to keep Republicans in line on witnesses, Axios' Alayna Treene reports.

  • Most Senate Republicans are still waiting to hear the White House’s arguments, and have an opportunity to ask questions, before committing to anything.
  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told senators today to "take a deep breath and let’s take one step at a time.”
  • Sen. Mitt Romney: "I think it's increasingly likely that other Republicans will join those of us who think we should hear from John Bolton."

Speaking of John Bolton: The former national security adviser denied that he, his publisher or his literary agent coordinated with the N.Y. Times.

  • "Any assertion to the contrary is unfounded speculation."

Between the lines: Trump's team is working to portray Democrats' arguments on the Senate floor as a slanted picture of reality and not the whole truth, Alayna notes.

  • That includes making a point to frequently say "the House managers didn't tell you that" or "they didn't mention this."
  • A senior Democratic staffer responded by saying "they are cherry-picking the evidence. We aren’t cherry-picking the evidence.”

Inside the chamber: Sen. Bernie Sanders looked particularly frustrated that he's stuck in the Senate rather than on the trail, just a week before the Iowa caucuses.

  • He was staring straight ahead during presentations, not moving his gaze even for video clips, and was fidgety and slouched low in his seat.

Go deeper

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

Trump impeachment trial recap, day 10: Vote to call witnesses fails

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) gives the thumbs up as he leaves the Senate chamber after adjourning for the night during the impeachment trial of U.S. President Donald Trump at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 31, 2020 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Drew Angerer / Staff/Getty Images

The Senate voted Friday to move forward with Trump's impeachment trial without calling for additional witnesses or evidence, an expected result after two key Republicans decided to vote against it.

The state of play: The Senate voted to reconvene Monday at 11 a.m. ET with a final vote Wednesday at 4 p.m., after the Senate goes on recess for the weekend. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer's last-ditch effort to get witnesses — forcing amendments to subpoena John Bolton, Mick Mulvaney and other officials — were shot down.