President Donald Trump’s fellow Republicans in the U.S. Senate came under renewed pressure on Monday to allow witnesses in his impeachment trial, while his defense team largely ignored disclosures from a former White House adviser, Reuters writes.
The biggest concern on Day 2 of Trump’s defense arguments was John Bolton, the former national security adviser whose unpublished book manuscript, according to the New York Times, included disclosures that go to the heart of the abuse of power charge against Trump, Reuters adds.
Bolton wrote that Trump told him he wanted to freeze $391 million in security aid to Ukraine until Kiev helped with investigations into Democrats, including political rival Joe Biden, and his son Hunter Biden, the Times reported.
The Bolton disclosures prompted new calls by Democrats for Bolton and other witnesses to testify. Trump is accused of abusing the power of his office in seeking foreign interference in a U.S. election and of obstructing Congress.
Trump’s lawyers said after about seven hours of arguments that they would resume their presentation on Tuesday.
Republican Senator Mitt Romney, a moderate who has at times criticized Trump, said there was a growing likelihood that at least four Republican senators would choose to call Bolton to testify, which would give Democrats the votes necessary in the Republican-led Senate to summon him.
The Senate may resolve the issue of whether to call witnesses in a vote on Friday or Saturday. Democrats said the Bolton manuscript made it all the more pressing for the Senate to call Bolton as a witness.
The Democratic-led House of Representatives impeached Trump last month, setting up the trial in the Senate on whether he should be removed from office. Trump is expected to be acquitted in the 100-seat chamber, where Republicans hold 53 seats.
The White House directed current and former administration officials not to provide testimony or documents in the House inquiry that preceded the trial, and Senate Republicans have so far refused to allow any witnesses or new evidence.
Senator Ted Cruz, a staunch Trump defender, said the Bolton book would not “impact the legal issue before this Senate”.
Trump’s legal team on Monday resumed its presentation of opening arguments in the trial, including remarks by Ken Starr, the former independent counsel whose investigation into a sex scandal led to the 1998 impeachment of President Bill Clinton, a Democrat. Another Trump lawyer, Jane Raskin, defended his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani.