Battle for witnesses looms as defence rests in Trump trial

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Rep. Adam Schiff, the lead House manager, said they did call on Bolton to testify and explained that they did not subpoena him because they expected that it would have resulted in a lawsuit that would have dragged on for months.

The Senate on Wednesday started the clock on a total of 16 hours of questions from lawmakers - spread over two days and directed at House impeachment managers and President Trump's attorneys. Democrats have said Trump abused his power by using the security aid - passed by Congress to help Ukraine battle Russia-backed separatists - as leverage to get a foreign power to smear a political rival. The senate must now decide whether to acquit the president or convict him of the charges and remove him from office. If this is true, House impeachment managers could bypass the Senate to get what they want from Roberts, if the chief justice agreed with the Democratic position.

Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in July 2019 to "look into" the corruption allegations against the Bidens, noting that Joe Biden bragged in 2018 about events in 2016 that featured the vice president pressuring Ukraine to oust a prosecutor who was probing Hunter Biden's employer, the Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings. Democrats need four Republican senators to join them in voting for witnesses in order to get a majority in the 100-seat Senate.

Whether Republicans can defeat the Democrats' push for witnesses, including Bolton, remains an open question.

Trump's defense team, in response, argued that a manuscript of Bolton's book would be "inadmissible" in the trial.

In the tweet, Trump also complained that Bolton, after he was sacked, "goes out and IMMEDIATELY writes a nasty & untrue book".

The National Security Council said after a preliminary review of the manuscript - a vetting process applied to any White House employees writing books - that it contained "significant amounts of classified information". Engel said the two then had a call days later, on September 23, when Bolton "suggested to me - unprompted - that the committee look into the recall of Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch".

Others offered proposals to make Mr Bolton's manuscript, which is set to be published in March, available for the senators to view confidentially. "You know what the right answer is in your heart", White House Counsel Pat Cipollone stated.

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House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chair Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), one of the leaders who developed the plan, calls it a "definitive departure from our last 70 years, since Eisenhower", per Politico.

In the second phase of the impeachment trial, Roberts will read questions submitted by the senators, alternating queries from Republicans and Democrats, leading up to a vote, expected Friday, on whether to call witnesses. "It's not appropriate for a president to engage a foreign government in an investigation of a political opponent", The Columbus Dispatch reported Portman said in October. The probability that Bolton will present any new or damning information is low, no matter how the Democrats and their media spin machine may claim, and it might even play in Trump's favor.

President Donald Trump went on the offensive against John Bolton over the latter's leaked manuscript on Wednesday, accusing the former national security advisor of bad judgement and calling his forthcoming book "nasty and untrue".

Sekulow criticized a decision by House Democrats to delay transmitting the articles of impeachment to the Senate after the House impeached Trump in December.

Nonetheless, Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah and Susan Collins of ME appeared to be backed by others in the move to seek more testimony.

Senior figures in Mr Trump's Republican Party are now fighting to prevent Mr Bolton being called as a witness at the impeachment trial, while a small handful say they will vote for witnesses to appear.

"The Republicans can call who they want".

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