Trump’s Lawyers Resume Defense in Impeachment Trial

U.S. President Donald Trump’s lawyers resume their impeachment defense Monday, as Democrats renew calls for witnesses in the Senate trial after accounts emerged of Trump telling his then national security adviser John Bolton he wanted to withhold military aid to Ukraine until it launched an investigation of a key Democratic rival.The New York TimesHouse Democratic impeachment managers, from left, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., Rep. Sylvia Garcia, D-Texas, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla.Democrats: Bolton should testify The lead House impeachment manager, Congressman Adam Schiff, told CNN on Monday, “The senators ought to hear him first hand. The senators should see the man testify live.”He said Bolton kept contemporaneous notes of White House meetings, which Schiff said “are more important than the manuscript” he has written. “The president is clearly trying to hide the truth here.”Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer called the revelation of the Bolton claim “stunning. It goes right to the heart of the charges against the president. How can the Senate vote to not call that witness and his documents?”The White House blocked several current and former administration officials from testifying before House committees during the impeachment investigation, including Bolton and acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, citing executive privilege to protect the sanctity of White House conversations.Trump ousted Bolton from his post in September. Bolton says he is willing to testify at Trump’s impeachment trial if the Senate subpoenas him.U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speaks during the second day of the Senate impeachment trial of U.S. President Donald Trump in this frame grab from video shot in the U.S. Senate Chamber at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S.,…Impeachment rule stipulations
The rules for the impeachment trial blocked any consideration of new witnesses at the outset, leaving only the possibility for a vote after both sides have made their presentations and the 100 senators have had 16 hours to ask them questions. That discussion will come later this week, and Democrats will try to convince four Republicans to join them to get the simple majority necessary to vote in favor of witnesses.White House counsel Pat Cipollone began his defense Saturday during two hours of arguments.Cipollone said Trump’s legal team does not believe the House Democrats came “anywhere close to meeting their burden” that Trump committed “high crimes and misdemeanors” – the U.S. Constitution’s standard for impeachment and removal from office.Now, Cipollone and other Trump defense attorneys have said they will expand on their defense, in part focusing on why they believe there was nothing wrong with Trump’s request last July to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate the Bidens and the Ukraine election meddling theory. No evidence has ever surfaced against either of the Bidens.Trump is all but certain to be acquitted by the Senate with its 53-47 Republican majority. A two-thirds vote is necessary for conviction and no Republican has called for his ouster.Chris Hannas contributed to this report

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