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Democrats and internet users are pushing for former national security adviser John Bolton to testify in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial in the wake of reports about a leaked manuscript of his new book.
In the upcoming memoir, Bolton writes that the president said he wanted to withhold military aid to Ukraine until the country investigated former Vice President Joe Biden and his son.
The New York Times on Sunday first reported that an unpublished manuscript of Bolton’s forthcoming memoir says Trump told his then-national security adviser in August that he wanted to withhold the military aide until Ukraine looked into the former vice president and his son Hunter Biden.
The question of whether Trump withheld the aide to try and get an investigation into his political rival is at the center of the Democratic case for impeachment. The news of Bolton’s claims in his upcoming book quickly caused people online to push for his testimony in the trial—a suggestion Republicans have not been keen on doing. Sources told Axios that they will resist witnesses being involved in the trial because “there is a sense in the Senate that if one witness is allowed, the floodgates are open.”
Last week, NBC News reported that the White House could use executive privilege to block Bolton from testifying.
“@GOP You are on trial now. If you decide that the country should not hear Bolton’s testimony, you become part of the coverup. #boltonmusttestify,” one Twitter user wrote on Sunday night.
On Saturday, White House Counsel Mike Purpura made the argument that there is no proof that Trump conditioned the release of Ukrainian aid on an investigation into Biden.— Amee Vanderpool (@girlsreallyrule) January 27, 2020
John Bolton's manuscript directly contradicts this now. #BoltonBombshell #BoltonMustTestify pic.twitter.com/jylbz0XXlH
It’s now more clear than ever that #BoltonMustTestify. If he won’t testify voluntarily, the Senate — or the House — needs to subpoena him. #DefendOurDemocracy#WitnessesAndDocuments https://t.co/GLQ99t8vcm— Jon Cooper 🇺🇸 (@joncoopertweets) January 27, 2020
I'm just waiting for Trump to say, "John Bolton? Who's that? Never met him. Wait, didn't he sing that one song - 'When a Man Grabs a Woman'? Great song. Great song. 'Steel Balls' was a good one too. Underrated, bigly."#BoltonBombshell #TrumpIsGuilty #Snark pic.twitter.com/OENHN3R7J0— Craig Rozniecki (@CraigRozniecki) January 27, 2020
Republicans are between a rock and a hard place. The Bolton manuscript is damning. If they say it isn’t admissible because he wasn’t under oath, how do they not call him to testify now without it looking like a coverup? #BoltonBombshell— (((Adenovir Unleashed))) (@Adenovir) January 27, 2020
Democratic lawmakers also amped up their calls for Bolton to testify, including Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), among others.
The President blocked our request for Bolton’s testimony.— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) January 27, 2020
Now we see why:
Bolton directly contradicts the heart of the President’s defense.
If the trial is to be fair, Senators must insist that Mr. Bolton be called as a witness, and provide his notes and other documents. https://t.co/go9DJdRDEf
For months there just hasn’t been any question what happened.— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) January 27, 2020
But Republicans hung on to the idea that if they kept Trump’s top people from testifying, they could plausibly deny he was behind it all.
The game is now up. Their coverup has fallen apart.
BOLTON MUST TESTIFY.
The @NYTimes report suggests multiple top Trump Admin officials knew the facts and deliberately misled Congress and the American people.— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) January 27, 2020
A massive White House cover-up.
All we need is four Republican Senators to get the truth.https://t.co/JbazBaYdRU
The president has also weighed in on the news, denying the claims that are reportedly in Bolton’s book.
“I NEVER told John Bolton that the aid to Ukraine was tied to investigations into Democrats, including the Bidens. In fact, he never complained about this at the time of his very public termination. If John Bolton said this, it was only to sell a book. With that being said, the…,” the president wrote in a series of tweets on Sunday night. “…transcripts of my calls with President Zelensky are all the proof that is needed, in addition to the fact that President Zelensky & the Foreign Minister of Ukraine said there was no pressure and no problems. Additionally, I met with President Zelensky at the United Nations……(Democrats said I never met) and released the military aid to Ukraine without any conditions or investigations – and far ahead of schedule. I also allowed Ukraine to purchase Javelin anti-tank missiles. My Administration has done far more than the previous Administration.”
Senate Republicans canceled a press conference this morning in the wake of the news.
Andrew Wyrich is a politics staff writer for the Daily Dot, covering the intersection of politics and the internet. Andrew has written for USA Today, NorthJersey.com, and other newspapers and websites. His work has been recognized by the Society of the Silurians, Investigative Reporters & Editors (IRE), and the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ).