web analytics
a

Facebook

Twitter

Copyright 2015 Libero Themes.
All Rights Reserved.

8:30 - 6:00

Our Office Hours Mon. - Fri.

703-406-7616

Call For Free 15/M Consultation

Facebook

Twitter

Search
Menu
Westlake Legal Group > Bolton, John R

For John Bolton, an ‘Upside-Down World’ After Trump Revelation

Westlake Legal Group 28dc-bolton-1-facebookJumbo For John Bolton, an ‘Upside-Down World’ After Trump Revelation United States Politics and Government Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Senate impeachment Bolton, John R

WASHINGTON — Not long ago, they called him “too extreme,” “aggressively and dangerously wrong” and “downright dangerous.” They called him “nutty,” “reckless” and “far outside the mainstream.”

Now they would like to call him their star witness.

Suddenly, John R. Bolton, the conservative war hawk and favorite villain of the left, is the toast of Senate Democrats, the last, best hope to prove their abuse-of-power case against President Trump. Democrats who once excoriated him are trumpeting his credibility as they seek his testimony in Mr. Trump’s impeachment trial.

On the other side of the aisle, some of Mr. Bolton’s longtime Republican friends are just as abruptly tossing him to the curb, painting him as a disgruntled former adviser who just wants to sell books. Some of the same senators who allied with him, promoted his career, consulted with him on foreign affairs and took his political action committee money are going along as he is painted as “a tool for the radical Dems and the deep state,” as he was termed on one of the Fox News channels, part of the network where he worked for 11 years.

“It’s a totally upside-down world,” said Senator Chris Van Hollen, a Democrat from Maryland who two years ago denounced Mr. Bolton’s “history of warmongering” when he was appointed Mr. Trump’s national security adviser. “But what we should all agree on is we want to get to the truth of the matter about the impeachment charges and we should accept his testimony under penalty of perjury.”

There is, in fact, no agreement on that as Senate Republicans try to wrap up the trial without calling Mr. Bolton or any other witnesses in a vote likely to be held on Friday. Many Republicans argue that nothing has changed despite Mr. Bolton’s account that Mr. Trump wanted to hold up American security aid to Ukraine until it investigated his domestic political rivals — an assertion that directly contradicts the president.

This is one of those moments that capture Mr. Trump’s Washington, where ideology, philosophy, party and policy mean less than where you stand on Mr. Trump — for or against him. Mr. Bolton is actually more conservative and more consistent than Mr. Trump, but since his story appears to threaten the president, he has been promptly be embraced by one camp and exorcised by the other.

Among those who understand what that feels like are other refugees from the Trump White House, who despite devoting what they described as endless hours trying to making his presidency a success are now branded apostates for speaking out. Among them are John F. Kelly, the former secretary of homeland security and White House chief of staff.

Mr. Kelly was one of the few prominent conservatives to jump to Mr. Bolton’s defense since news of his account, included in an unpublished book submitted to the White House for review, broke in The New York Times on Sunday.

“If John Bolton says that in the book, I believe John Bolton,” Mr. Kelly said during a lecture in Sarasota, Fla., according to a report in The Herald-Tribune.

Mr. Kelly did not always get along with Mr. Bolton. At one point, they had a profanity-laced shouting match, after which Mr. Kelly left the White House for the rest of the day. But Mr. Kelly said Mr. Bolton “always gave the president the unvarnished truth,” adding: “John’s an honest guy. He’s a man of integrity and great character, so we’ll see what happens.”

That it has come to this surprises no one who actually knows Mr. Bolton. An iconoclastic believer in a forceful approach to the world, he disdains what he views as weak-kneed conventional diplomacy, international organizations that intrude on American sovereignty and free-rider allies. When he is on someone’s side, there is no more relentless ally. When he is not, there is no more implacable foe.

Loyalty to party or president takes a back seat to principle as he defines it. While President George W. Bush gave him high-ranking positions, including a recess appointment as ambassador to the United Nations, Mr. Bolton did not hold back criticizing his former boss after leaving the administration for going soft on North Korea and Iran. He wrote a bracingly candid memoir that named names and spared no one. Simply reading that would have made clear to Mr. Trump or his aides what might happen when he left this White House.

And so it has. Just months after leaving Mr. Trump’s White House amid tension over policy toward Iran, North Korea, Afghanistan and Ukraine, Mr. Bolton has written “The Room Where It Happened,” to be published in March, in which he reports that the president explicitly told him that he did not want to release $391 million in aid to Ukraine until it announced investigations into his Democratic rivals, including former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

That account threw the Senate trial into temporary disarray since it directly contradicted Mr. Trump’s defense. The president denied Mr. Bolton’s account, and his personal attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani called him a “back-stabber.” On the Fox Business channel, Lou Dobbs assailed Mr. Bolton for using the same literary agents as James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director fired by Mr. Trump — prompting one of the literary agents to point out that one of their other clients was Mr. Dobbs.

While Mr. Bolton has left plenty of bruises over the years and he was accused of politicizing intelligence before the Iraq war, an accusation he denied, many former colleagues said he was forthcoming to a fault.

“Ambassador Bolton was known for being frank and candid — in fact, some complained that his frankness and candor got in the way of a more indirect, diplomatic approach,” said Peter D. Feaver, a national security aide in Mr. Bush’s White House. “I do not recall ever hearing people complain that he made up stuff.”

Democrats at this point are happy to vouch for his honesty. “I think Bolton has a lot of credibility,” Senator Thomas R. Carper of Delaware, who once called him “too extreme,” said on Fox News this week. “Not just among the Republicans but our side as well.”

On the other hand, Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, said Mr. Bolton was not to be believed. “I would say that he’s a witness very interested in making a lot of money right now,” Mr. Paul said on CNN. “A month ago, he was against testifying. Now that his book is complete and available for $29.95, he’s all for testifying. So I think we need to take with a grain of salt his testimony if he comes in.”

More painful for Mr. Bolton may be closer friends who have distanced themselves. Senator James M. Inhofe, Republican of Oklahoma, who called Mr. Bolton “one of my closest friends” a few weeks ago, suggested that his close friend had a grudge. “He was fired by the president,” Mr. Inhofe told reporters, although Mr. Bolton insists he resigned. “That can have an effect on a person.”

Fred Fleitz, another longtime friend who served as Mr. Bolton’s chief of staff twice, most recently in the Trump White House, even wrote an op-ed for Fox News criticizing his former boss for publishing a book about the president before the election.

“Presidents have to be able to consult and confide in their national security adviser without worrying about those discussions being published,” Mr. Fleitz said in an interview on Tuesday. He added that “he’s a straight shooter, he’s an honest man, he’s an honorable man.”

Mr. Bolton has often been misunderstood or mischaracterized. His critics call him a neoconservative, but in fact he cares little for the democracy promotion that drives actual neoconservatives. Instead, he is a hard-core “Americanist,” as he puts it, favoring tough policies up to and including the use of force to defend American interests. He supported the invasion of Iraq, he has said, not to create a Jeffersonian republic in Baghdad but to eliminate what he saw as a security threat to the United States.

He has consistently advocated regime change or military action to resolve conflicts with states like Iran and North Korea and spent much of his tenure as national security adviser trying to keep Mr. Trump from entering what Mr. Bolton considered unwise agreements with enemies.

He struggled over whether to testify in the impeachment hearings even as he wrote his latest book. He finally offered to appear if the Senate subpoenaed him, knowing that he would be harshly criticized if he refused to testify and his account of the Ukraine matter only became public in the book after the trial.

But while colleagues said he was disturbed by the president’s actions on Ukraine — and he has openly criticized the president’s Iran and North Korea policies since leaving the White House — that does not mean that Mr. Bolton has joined the ranks of the Never Trump Republicans.

Friends say he still wants a future in Republican politics, having reconstituted his political action committee shortly after leaving the White House. But they say he understands that donors would be reluctant to contribute if he was perceived as an accuser of Mr. Trump. He also remains as contemptuous of Democrats as ever and has not explicitly expressed support for impeachment or conviction.

“I think the Democrats should be careful in what they wish for if they do get him as a witness,” Mr. Fleitz said. “I don’t know that he would say what they hope he would say.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Bolton Book Puts New Focus on Trump’s Actions in Turkey and China Cases

Westlake Legal Group merlin_166171011_07f9240c-40ea-4835-a031-e972f1f1d8dc-facebookJumbo Bolton Book Puts New Focus on Trump’s Actions in Turkey and China Cases ZTE Corp Xi Jinping United States Politics and Government United States International Relations Turkey Trump, Donald J Treasury Department Ross, Wilbur L Jr Presidential Election of 2020 Politics and Government Mnuchin, Steven T Halkbank Erdogan, Recep Tayyip Embargoes and Sanctions China Bolton, John R Barr, William P

WASHINGTON — It was late 2018, and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey was on the phone with an unusual request for President Trump: Could he intervene with top members of his cabinet to curb or even shut down a criminal investigation into Halkbank, one of Turkey’s largest state-owned banks?

It was not Mr. Erdogan’s only effort to persuade the Trump administration to back off the investigation into the bank, which had been accused of violating United States sanctions against Iran.

His government had hired a lobbying firm run by a friend of and fund-raiser for Mr. Trump to press his case with the White House and State Department. And there would be more phone calls between the two leaders in which the topic came up, according to participants in the lobbying.

Mr. Erdogan’s influence campaign is now under scrutiny again in Washington, following the disclosure that Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, John R. Bolton, reported in his forthcoming book his concern that the president was effectively granting personal favors to Mr. Erdogan and President Xi Jinping of China.

People familiar with the unpublished manuscript said Mr. Bolton wrote that he had shared his concern with Attorney General William P. Barr and that Mr. Barr responded by pointing to Mr. Trump’s intervention in two cases linked to Turkey and China: the investigation of Halkbank and Mr. Trump’s decision in 2018 to lift sanctions on ZTE, a major Chinese telecommunications company.

The Justice Department has disputed Mr. Bolton’s account. But on Tuesday, top Democrats seized on the suggestions of meddling in the Halkbank and ZTE cases as fresh evidence that Mr. Trump, whose family enterprise has extensive business ties to Turkey and also has considered building new towers in China and expanding in other areas, was using the presidency to enrich himself and his family.

“Several members of the administration had concerns about the president’s dealings with autocrats,” Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic minority leader, said at a news conference. “Did the president have financial interests at stake when he was talking to Erdogan or Xi and others?”

He added: “Maybe his kids had some economic interest at stake. And did it impact our nation’s foreign policy with those countries?”

Former foreign policy officials — including some who served in Republican administrations — said in interviews that Mr. Trump plays an unusual and at times disturbing role in high-profile criminal and sanction cases involving foreign governments.

“What I know about his intervention in the Halkbank case is highly abnormal and quite worrying, actually,” said Philip Zelikow, a history professor at the University of Virginia who served on the National Security Council staff for President George Bush.

Suggesting that Mr. Trump was putting private, commercial interests above those of the United States, Mr. Zelikow added: “There have been interventions on behalf of a foreign government that are hard to explain in traditional public interest terms.”

Mr. Trump’s involvement in the Halkbank investigation started early in his administration. In 2017, he was asked by Rudolph W. Giuliani during an Oval Office meeting with Rex W. Tillerson, then the secretary of state, to help secure the release of a Turkish gold trader at the center of Halkbank’s sanctions-evasion efforts.

The gold trader, Reza Zarrab, who had hired Mr. Giuliani to help secure his release, had been accused by federal prosecutors of playing a central role in an effort by Halkbank to funnel more than $10 billion in gold and cash to Iran, in defiance of United States sanctions designed to curb Iran’s nuclear program.

Turkey also wanted the trader released, former Turkish government officials said, so that he would not testify against top bank officials or implicate members of Mr. Erdogan’s family or Mr. Erdogan himself.

The push failed to secure Mr. Zarrab’s release and was abandoned after he agreed to testify on behalf of the Justice Department to help obtain the conviction of a Halkbank executive in early 2018.

But that was just the start of the lobbying.

Mr. Erdogan, in a series of phone calls and in-person conversations in 2018 and 2019, repeatedly tried to persuade Mr. Trump to use his power to limit additional enforcement action against Halkbank itself, something the Justice Department had made clear it was considering.

After one phone conversation in late 2018, Mr. Erdogan told reporters in Turkey that Mr. Trump had told him that “he would instruct the relevant ministers immediately” to follow through on the matter.

“Talks are underway about this issue,” Mr. Erdogan said at the time. “It is very important that this process has begun.”

Mr. Erdogan’s son-in-law, who serves as Turkey’s finance minister, also took up the case, pressing Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on the matter. Other appeals were made by the former project manager of Trump Towers Istanbul, a twin-tower complex and mall that was the Trump family’s first high-rise project in Europe.

Asked about Turkey’s lobbying efforts in an interview in October, Mr. Mnuchin cited the ongoing legal process and would not comment.

The bank had separately hired a lobbying firm run by Brian D. Ballard, a top fund-raiser for Mr. Trump’s campaign and the Republican National Committee. The lobbyists from Mr. Ballard’s team argued to the State Department and White House that any criminal charges against the state-owed bank could destabilize the Turkish economy.

For months, it looked like Turkey was going to succeed in this unusual lobbying campaign — asking a United States president to put pressure on his own Justice Department to protect a state-owned bank. Mr. Barr, who was confirmed in February 2019, played a key role in overseeing the negotiations over a possible settlement with the bank that would have seen it avoid criminal charges, representatives for Halkbank said in interviews last year.

Only after Turkey invaded Syria in early October did the Justice Department move to indict the bank.

“President Trump has been carrying water for President Erdogan and Turkey’s state-owned Halkbank,” said Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, the top Democrat on the finance committee. “Every member of Congress should be profoundly alarmed that Donald Trump is trying to get the bank accused of the largest Iranian sanctions violation scheme in U.S. history off the hook because his authoritarian pal asked for a favor.”

Mr. Trump’s 2018 intervention in the case of ZTE was equally perplexing to some observers. Two years before, the United States found the Chinese company guilty of violating American sanctions on Iran and North Korea. In April 2018, the Trump administration moved to punish ZTE by banning it from buying American technology.

But Mr. Trump suddenly had a change of heart, essentially pardoning the company in exchange for a $1 billion fine and promises to replace its senior leadership and allow American compliance monitors.

The decision came after a direct plea to Mr. Trump from Mr. Xi in the midst of intense maneuvering over trade talks between the two countries and as the United States was preparing for a summit with North Korea.

It drew bipartisan backlash on Capitol Hill. Top lawmakers, including Senators Marco Rubio of Florida, Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, had urged the administration not to bend on ZTE, which they considered a law enforcement and national security issue.

Chinese officials had made it clear that they considered lifting ZTE’s penalty a condition for reaching a trade deal. There was also the implicit threat that, if the penalty was not lifted, American companies operating in China would face further retaliation. The United States has also relied on China to exert pressure on North Korea to dismantle its nuclear program.

The Trump family had for years worked on plans to build a series of new hotel or apartment building projects in China, goals put on hold after Mr. Trump was elected president.

His administration scrambled to quiet the growing dissent, and Mr. Trump lashed out at Democrats for having allowed ZTE to flourish under President Barack Obama’s watch.

In May 2018, Wilbur L. Ross Jr., the commerce secretary, and Mr. Mnuchin traveled to Capitol Hill to brief a group of Senate Republicans, including Mr. Rubio, John Cornyn of Texas and Bob Corker of Tennessee, on their plans for ZTE. Mr. Ross and Mr. Mnuchin sought to assure the lawmakers that they were planning on harsh penalties for ZTE and appealed to Republicans to dampen their public criticism so a deal could be reached, a person briefed on the discussions said.

Chinese officials widely speculated that the penalties on ZTE were an effort by the Trump administration to gain the upper hand in the trade talks. But people briefed on the discussions say Trump administration officials had not fully realized what a complication the measure would become in the trade talks.

Since then, ZTE has made a gradual recovery, and its profits have rebounded. And although its run-in with the Trump administration tarnished its smartphone brand with consumers, cellphone carriers around the world have still been willing to work with the company to build 5G mobile networks.

The handling of ZTE has raised questions about whether Mr. Trump will follow through with imposing restrictions on Huawei, another Chinese telecommunications company that the White House views as a national security threat.

Elizabeth Rosenberg, who served as a senior Treasury adviser working on sanctions issues during the Obama administration and who now studies sanctions policy at the Center for a New American Security, said Mr. Trump’s interventions were unusual and disruptive.

“This is not the norm in Washington,” she said. “He is making up sanctions policy on his own, and influencing the course of policy in a way that undermines United States priorities and has shocked United States allies.”

Ana Swanson contributed reporting from Washington, Raymond Zhong from Shanghai and Michael Forsythe from New York.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Trump’s Defense Team Discounts Bolton as Republicans Work to Hold Off Witnesses

WASHINGTON — President Trump’s defense team appealed to the Senate on Tuesday to disregard a new account by John R. Bolton that bolsters the impeachment case against the president. But by day’s end, Republican leaders indicated that they had not corralled the votes they sought to prevent his former national security adviser or other witnesses from coming forward.

On the final day of arguments on Mr. Trump’s behalf, Jay Sekulow, one of the president’s private lawyers, sought to raise doubts about Mr. Bolton’s claim in an unpublished manuscript that Mr. Trump tied the release of military aid to Ukraine to investigations into his political rivals, calling it an “unsourced allegation” that was “inadmissible” in his impeachment trial.

Just after Mr. Trump’s team ended a three-day legal defense, Republican senators rushed into a private meeting room in the Capitol, where Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, worked to herd his rank and file in line behind ending the trial. He brandished a card that bore a tally of Republican votes on the question, and warned that he did not yet have enough to block an expected Democratic move to call witnesses because some Republicans remained uncommitted, according to people familiar with the meeting not authorized to discuss it publicly.

“It was a serious family discussion,” Senator Kevin Cramer, Republican of North Dakota, told reporters as he emerged from the senators-only meeting in the Strom Thurmond Room. “Some people are sincerely exploring all the avenues.”

The talks unfolded after Mr. Trump’s team essentially rested their case against removing him from office, ending its oral arguments by urging senators to ignore what Mr. Bolton might have to say. Without directly denying the veracity of his account, whose existence was first reported by The New York Times, Mr. Sekulow argued that the behavior Mr. Bolton described was not had no place in the discussion of the president’s fate.

Impeachment “is not a game of leaks and unsourced manuscripts,” Mr. Sekulow said. “That is politics, unfortunately. Hamilton put impeachment in the hands of this body, the Senate, precisely and specifically, to be above that fray.”

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_168000216_2a2594f7-125f-4118-b27a-3ba00831a7e6-articleLarge Trump’s Defense Team Discounts Bolton as Republicans Work to Hold Off Witnesses United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Senate Schiff, Adam B Republican Party Presidential Election of 2020 McConnell, Mitch impeachment House of Representatives Democratic Party Cipollone, Pat A Bolton, John R

Senator Mitch McConnell said he does not have the votes to block Democrats to call for  witnesses during the impeachment trial.Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

The argument was a bid to quiet the anger and anxiety that Mr. Bolton’s revelation prompted in Republican ranks when it emerged at a critical stage in Mr. Trump’s impeachment trial. Conservatives said the case for moving directly to acquittal without new testimony or documents was overwhelming, but key moderates, including Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, said they were still undecided. Earlier, another moderate, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, indicated that “Mr. Bolton probably has some things that would be helpful for us.”

Two other Republicans, Senators Mitt Romney of Utah and Susan Collins of Maine, have said they would vote for witnesses, but Democrats would need four Republicans to join them in order to prevail.

Inside the private meeting on Tuesday, Mr. McConnell warned that allowing witnesses would blow the trial wide open and potentially prolong it by weeks. Clutching his whip count of yeses, noes and maybes, Mr. McConnell appeared to be suggesting that undecided senators needed to make up their minds and get in line with the majority of their colleagues.

The activity inside and outside the Senate chamber underscored just how thoroughly Mr. Bolton’s account has upended the trial, injecting an element of unpredictability into a proceeding that appeared headed for Mr. Trump’s acquittal by week’s end.

The longtime Republican foreign policy figure has made clear he would testify if called, but senators also know that regardless of his account, it is a virtual impossibility that the Republican-controlled chamber would vote to convict Mr. Trump and remove him from office less than 10 months before a presidential election. A 67-vote supermajority would be needed to do so.

How they proceed could have significant political ramifications not just for Mr. Trump, whose very defenses could be further undermined, but for Republican senators up for re-election in swing states this fall who want to show voters they conducted a fair tribunal.

Democrats pounced on Mr. Sekulow’s remarks about Mr. Bolton, saying that his reference to “unsourced allegations” proved their point that the Senate must subpoena Mr. Bolton to testify in the trial to clarify his precise account.

“Once again, the president’s team, in a way that only they could, have further made the case for calling John Bolton,” Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the lead House manager, told reporters during a break in the proceedings.

Proponents of calling Mr. Bolton got an unexpected bit of support late Monday from John F. Kelly, the former White House chief of staff, who told an audience in Florida that he believed Mr. Bolton’s account and supported the Senate seeking direct witnesses.

“I think some of the conversations seem to me to be very inappropriate, but I wasn’t there,” he said, according to The Sarasota Herald-Tribune. “But there are people that were there that ought to be heard from.”

Republican leaders appeared to be slowing down what had been a breakneck trial schedule to allow for fuller consideration of the matter. They were hopeful that by putting distance between the emergence of Mr. Bolton’s account and the vote on witnesses, tensions would cool enough to hold a majority intact to reject Democrats’ demands for witnesses.

Beginning Wednesday, senators will have up to 16 hours spread over two days to question the prosecution and the defense teams. Much of that time will most likely be used to allow the two sides to respond to one another’s arguments, but Democrats and Republicans were also preparing pointed questions intended to highlight soft spots in the respective cases.

At the White House, Mr. Trump was uncharacteristically quiet about the impeachment proceedings, which he has followed on television in recent days. He sought instead to put his policy agenda on full display, unveiling a long awaited Middle East peace plan that bolstered arguments by his lawyers that the president was a boon, not a threat, to American interests.

Mr. Trump framed the matter even more directly on Twitter.

“Are you better off now than you were three years ago?” he wrote. “Almost everyone say YES!”

Inside the Senate chamber, Mr. Sekulow and two White House lawyers delivered a voluble and indignant final defense, capping three days of oral arguments on the president’s behalf against the House’s abuse of power and obstruction of Congress charges.

Punctuating his remarks with a refrain of “danger, danger, danger,” Mr. Sekulow insisted that the managers’ case was built solely on a dressed up policy dispute with the president over his push to combat corruption there.

“If that becomes the new normal, future presidents, Democrats and Republicans will be paralyzed the moment they are elected, even before they can take the oath of office,” Mr. Sekulow said. “The bar for impeachment cannot be set this low.”

Despite his warnings, Mr. Sekulow did not directly deny the former national security adviser’s account, instead reading aloud from statements by Mr. Trump, the Justice Department and the vice president’s office contesting Mr. Bolton’s specific recollections.

Democrats spent three days last week arguing just the opposite. They said that the House’s two-month investigation concluded that Mr. Trump had used the powers of his office not in the pursuit of a policy objective but a political advantage. When he was caught, they argued, he sought to conceal what he had done by ordering an across the board defiance of their investigation.

Clocking in at under an hour and a half, the bare-bones closing argument from Mr. Trump’s lawyers underscored their confidence in the final outcome. In the end, they used less than half of the 24 hours available to them to present a case to senators.

Pat A. Cipollone, the White House counsel, capped the presentation by playing a highlight reel of House and Senate Democrats arguing against a partisan impeachment in 1998, including Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, one of the House managers, and Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader.

“You were right,” Mr. Cipollone said, looking directly at Mr. Schumer.

“All you need in this case are the Constitution and your common sense,” Mr. Cipollone sad. “The articles of impeachment fall far short of any constitutional standard, and they are dangerous.”

Reporting was contributed by Carl Hulse, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Emily Cochrane and Catie Edmondson.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

What to Watch For in Trump’s Impeachment Trial on Tuesday

Westlake Legal Group 28dc-whattowatch1-facebookJumbo What to Watch For in Trump’s Impeachment Trial on Tuesday United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Senate impeachment Bolton, John R

President Trump’s lawyers will complete their third and final day of oral arguments on Tuesday, wrapping up a defense that has sought to give Republican senators reasonable doubt and present them with alternative explanations for the president’s actions toward Ukraine.

Their assignment grew more difficult on Sunday after the revelation that John R. Bolton, the former White House national security adviser, wrote in an unpublished manuscript that Mr. Trump refused to release military aid for Ukraine until the country provided investigative information on his political rivals. That corroborates a central element of the abuse of power charge against Mr. Trump, which accuses him of using his position to pressure a foreign power to interfere on his behalf in the 2020 election.

Now, the question is whether the disclosure will move enough Republican senators to join Democrats in insisting on calling Mr. Bolton as a witness in the impeachment trial.

What we’re expecting to see: A summation of the president’s legal defense, including a strong argument against calling witnesses who would shed more light on Mr. Trump’s actions. His legal team will seek to drive home the argument that the House made a shoddy case, and the Senate need not reach in and bolster it by hearing new evidence.

When we’re likely to see it: The trial will convene at 1 p.m. and could stretch into the evening. Mr. Trump’s lawyers have used less than half of the 24 hours they were allotted, although they are not expected to take all of their time.

How to follow it: The New York Times’s congressional and White House teams will be following all the developments. Visit nytimes.com for coverage throughout the day.

News of Mr. Bolton’s forthcoming book landed like a bombshell in the middle of the impeachment trial, angering some Republicans who complained privately that they had been blindsided by the White House and snarling plans for a quick move to an acquittal of Mr. Trump as early as Friday.

Republican moderates like Senators Mitt Romney of Utah and Susan Collins of Maine are now more likely than ever to vote for witnesses, although it is not clear whether others like Lamar Alexander of Tennessee were moved by the disclosures. Still, on Monday several more conservative Republicans expressed a new openness to hear from witnesses, suggesting that Mr. Bolton’s account may have changed the game.

Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, cautioned his colleagues to remain calm and reserve judgment, but Republicans are already whispering among themselves about a potential negotiation over witnesses, and Democrats — who need only four Republicans to join them in voting to hear new evidence — are ratcheting up the pressure.

As Mr. Trump’s team wraps up its case and quiet discussions continue over whether to call witnesses, senators are turning their attention to their first opportunity to participate actively in the impeachment trial, during a 16-hour question-and-answer session.

Under the rules, the senators — who are sworn to silence during the impeachment trial — will submit written questions to the House impeachment managers and the president’s legal team through Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., who is presiding over the trial. Chief Justice Roberts will read the questions aloud, alternating between Republicans and Democrats.

The questions are a chance for senators to gain a better understanding of the facts presented during the oral arguments, but they are also strategic opportunities for each side to focus on the aspects of the case most favorable to them. The process could begin as soon as Mr. Trump’s legal team completes its presentation.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Bolton Was Concerned That Trump Did Favors for Autocratic Leaders, Book Says

Westlake Legal Group 27dc-bolton-facebookJumbo Bolton Was Concerned That Trump Did Favors for Autocratic Leaders, Book Says ZTE Corp Xi Jinping United States Politics and Government United States International Relations Turkey Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Halkbank Erdogan, Recep Tayyip Embargoes and Sanctions China Bolton, John R Barr, William P

WASHINGTON — John R. Bolton, the former national security adviser, privately told Attorney General William P. Barr last year that he had concerns that President Trump was effectively granting personal favors to the autocratic leaders of Turkey and China, according to an unpublished manuscript by Mr. Bolton.

Mr. Barr responded by pointing to a pair of Justice Department investigations of companies in those countries and said he was worried that Mr. Trump had created the appearance that he had undue influence over what would typically be independent inquiries, according to the manuscript. Backing up his point, Mr. Barr mentioned conversations Mr. Trump had with the leaders, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and President Xi Jinping of China.

Mr. Bolton’s account underscores the fact that the unease about Mr. Trump’s seeming embrace of authoritarian leaders, long expressed by experts and his opponents, also existed among some of the senior cabinet officers entrusted by the president to carry out his foreign policy and national security agendas.

Mr. Bolton recounted his discussion with Mr. Barr in a draft of an unpublished book manuscript that he submitted nearly a month ago to the White House for review. People familiar with the manuscript described its contents on the condition of anonymity.

The book also contains an account of Mr. Trump telling Mr. Bolton in August that he wanted to continue freezing $391 million in security assistance to Ukraine until officials there helped with investigations of political rivals, The New York Times reported on Sunday. The matter is at the heart of the articles of impeachment against the president.

A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment on Mr. Barr’s conversations with Mr. Bolton, as did a spokesman for the National Security Council. In a statement on Monday, Mr. Bolton, his publisher and his literary agency said they had not shared the manuscript with The Times.

“There was absolutely no coordination with The New York Times or anyone else regarding the appearance of information about his book, ‘The Room Where It Happened,’ at online booksellers,” Mr. Bolton, Simon & Schuster and Javelin said in a joint statement. “Any assertion to the contrary is unfounded speculation.”

Dean Baquet, the executive editor of The Times, responded that “The Times does not discuss its sources, but I should point out that no one has questioned the accuracy of our report.”

Mr. Bolton wrote in the manuscript that Mr. Barr singled out Mr. Trump’s conversations with Mr. Xi about the Chinese telecommunications firm ZTE, which agreed in 2017 to plead guilty and pay heavy fines for violating American sanctions on doing business with North Korea, Iran and other countries. A year later, Mr. Trump lifted the sanctions over objections from his own advisers and Republican lawmakers.

Mr. Barr also cited remarks Mr. Trump made to Mr. Erdogan in 2018 about the investigation of Halkbank, Turkey’s second-largest state-owned bank. The Justice Department was scrutinizing Halkbank on fraud and money-laundering charges for helping Iran evade sanctions imposed by the Treasury Department.

Mr. Erdogan had been making personal appeals to Mr. Trump to use his authority to halt any additional enforcement against the bank. In 2018, Mr. Erdogan told reporters in Turkey that Mr. Trump had promised to instruct cabinet members to follow through on the matter. The bank had hired a top Republican fund-raiser to lobby the administration on the issue.

For months, it looked as though the unusual lobbying effort might succeed; but in October, the Justice Department indicted the bank for aiding Iran. The charges were seen in part as an attempt by the administration to show that it was taking a tough line on Turkey amid an outcry over Mr. Trump’s endorsement of its incursions in Syria.

Mr. Bolton’s statements in the book align with other comments he has made since leaving the White House in September. In November, he said in a private speech that none of Mr. Trump’s advisers shared the president’s views on Turkey and that he believed Mr. Trump adopted a more permissive approach to the country because of his financial ties there, NBC News reported. Mr. Trump’s company has a property in Turkey.

Mr. Trump has repeatedly praised dictators throughout his presidency. Last year, he said, “Where’s my favorite dictator?” as he waited to meet with President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Mr. Trump’s soft spot for authoritarians dates at least to his presidential campaign, when he praised Saddam Hussein for being “good” at killing terrorists and suggested that the world would be better off were Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, the deposed Libyan dictator who was killed in a violent uprising in 2011, “in charge right now.” Mr. Trump then suggested the ouster of both men was ultimately worse for the Middle East because the Islamic State had filled the void.

Mr. Trump declared himself “a big fan” of Mr. Erdogan as they sat side by side in the Oval Office last fall after Mr. Trump cleared the way for Turkish forces to invade Syria, though he warned Mr. Erdogan behind the scenes against the offensive.

Of Mr. Xi, Mr. Trump has been similarly effusive. When the Chinese Communist Party eliminated term limits, allowing Mr. Xi to keep his tenure open-ended, Mr. Trump extolled the outcome.

Mr. Xi had personally asked Mr. Trump to intervene to save ZTE, which was on the brink of collapse because of tough American penalties for sanctions violations.

Lifting the sanctions on ZTE, a Chinese telecommunications giant that also serves as a geopolitical pawn for its government, most likely helped Mr. Trump negotiate with Mr. Xi in the trade war between the two countries. But Republican lawmakers and others objected to helping a Chinese company that broke the law and has been accused of posing a national security threat.

Mr. Bolton’s reputation for muscular foreign policy was always an odd fit with Mr. Trump, who often threatens excessive force but rarely reacts with it. Mr. Bolton was pleased when Mr. Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers, including the United States, that the Obama administration had entered into. Other Trump advisers had urged him against it.

But Mr. Trump’s lack of action after Iranian aggression against the United States rankled Mr. Bolton.

Mr. Bolton’s book has already netted significant sales. Shortly after the disclosure of its contents on Sunday night, Amazon listed the book for purchase. By Monday evening, it was No. 17 on Amazon’s best-seller list.

Eric Lipton contributed reporting.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Bolton Revelations Anger Republicans, Fueling Push for Impeachment Witnesses

Westlake Legal Group 27dc-impeach1-facebookJumbo Bolton Revelations Anger Republicans, Fueling Push for Impeachment Witnesses Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Senate Romney, Mitt Murkowski, Lisa impeachment Collins, Susan M Bolton, John R

WASHINGTON — The White House and Senate Republican leaders struggled on Monday to salvage their plans to push toward a quick acquittal of President Trump this week in his impeachment trial, after a new account by his former national security adviser corroborated a central piece of the case against him.

The newly disclosed revelations by John R. Bolton, whose forthcoming book details how Mr. Trump conditioned military aid for Ukraine on the country’s willingness to furnish information on his political rivals, angered key Republicans and reinvigorated a bid to call witnesses, which would prolong the trial and pose new dangers for the president.

A handful of Republicans from across the ideological spectrum appeared to be moving closer to joining Democrats in a vote to subpoena Mr. Bolton, even as their leaders insisted that doing so would only delay his inevitable acquittal.

“I think it’s increasingly likely that other Republicans will join those of us who think we should hear from John Bolton,” Senator Mitt Romney, Republican of Utah, told reporters. He later told Republican colleagues at a closed-door lunch that calling witnesses would be a wise choice politically and substantively.

As they opened the second day of their defense, Mr. Trump’s lawyers ignored the revelations from Mr. Bolton, reported on Sunday by The New York Times, which bolstered the case made by the House Democratic prosecutors that the president had repeatedly tied the security assistance to investigations he wanted. The assertion is at the heart of their abuse of power charge against Mr. Trump, which accuses him of using his position to gain foreign help in his re-election campaign.

Instead, the White House team doubled down with a defense that was directly contradicted by the account in Mr. Bolton’s book, due out in March. Mr. Trump’s lawyers told senators that no evidence existed tying the president’s decision to withhold security aid from Ukraine to his insistence on the investigations, which they have claimed were requested out of a concern for corruption.

“Anyone who spoke with the president said that the president made clear that there was no linkage between security assistance and investigations,” said Michael Purpura, the deputy White House counsel.

On their second full day of oral arguments, Mr. Trump’s legal team sought to turn the Democrats’ accusations on their head. They defended and played down the role of Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer who was at the center of Mr. Trump’s Ukraine pressure campaign, calling him a “shiny object” Democrats were brandishing to distract from a weak case. The president’s lawyers sought to raise doubts about former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., and his son Hunter Biden, suggesting they were corrupt in an effort to bolster their claim that the president had a legitimate reason to demand that they be investigated.

And they continued to argue that Mr. Trump’s actions were far from impeachable.

Alan Dershowitz, a celebrity law professor, argued that the Constitution holds that impeachment is for “criminal-like behavior,” telling senators that the country’s founders “would have explicitly rejected such vague terms as ‘abuse of power’ and ‘obstruction of Congress’ as among the enumerated and defined criteria for impeaching the president.”

The theory has been rejected by most constitutional scholars.

But behind closed doors, Republicans were singularly focused on the revelations from Mr. Bolton, which stoked turmoil in their ranks and opened new cracks in their so far near monolithic support for the White House strategy of denying witnesses and rushing toward a final verdict, almost certain to be an acquittal.

Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, sought to calm his colleagues at the private lunch, telling them to “take a deep breath” and not to leap to conclusions about how to proceed.

But according to people familiar with Mr. McConnell’s thinking, he was angry at having been blindsided by the White House about Mr. Bolton’s manuscript, which aides there have had since late December. The leader put out a rare statement saying that he “did not have any advance notice” of Mr. Bolton’s account.

Inside the gathering near the Senate floor, just before the trial got underway, Senator Patrick J. Toomey, Republican of Pennsylvania, told colleagues that he might be willing to support calling witnesses as long as the roster would include someone friendlier to Mr. Trump’s case, like Hunter Biden, according to people familiar with the gathering who were not authorized to discuss it. The idea appeared to be gaining broader currency among Republicans.

“My expectation is that were there to be testimony from Mr. Bolton, there would be testimony for someone on the defense side as well,” Mr. Romney said.

Even Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina and usually a reliable ally of the president’s, said that Mr. Bolton “may be a relevant witness” and that he would like to see a copy of Mr. Bolton’s manuscript.

At the White House, Mr. Trump raged throughout the morning at Mr. Bolton, accusing him of lying. Hosting Israeli leaders, the president told reporters that he had not seen the manuscript of the former adviser’s book but disputed its claims as “false.”

In a series of early-morning tweets hours before the trial resumed, the president accused Mr. Bolton of telling stories “only to sell a book” and defended his actions toward Ukraine as perfectly appropriate.

“I NEVER told John Bolton that the aid to Ukraine was tied to investigations into Democrats, including the Bidens,” President Trump wrote just after midnight.

But Mr. Trump later complained to associates that the presentations from his defense team were boring.

On the Senate floor, Mr. Trump’s lawyers followed the president’s lead, never mentioning Mr. Bolton’s claims and at one point appearing to suggest that they were immaterial.

“We deal with transcript evidence, we deal with publicly available information,” said Jay Sekulow, one of the president’s lawyers. “We do not deal with speculation, allegations that are not based on evidentiary standards at all.”

As the session progressed, Mr. Trump’s lawyers began their promised assault on Mr. Biden and his son, asserting that Mr. Trump demanded investigations of them because there was significant evidence that they were corrupt.

They methodically sought to undermine the case that House managers delivered over more than 22 hours last week. They argued that Mr. Trump said nothing wrong on a July 25 call with the president of Ukraine, never sought to leverage an Oval Office meeting, and did more to support Ukraine against Russian aggression than previous presidents.

“The managers have not met their burden, and these articles of impeachment must be rejected,” Eric Herschmann, one of the president’s lawyers, told senators.

In a somewhat improbable echo of the last presidential impeachment trial, Ken Starr, who relentlessly pursued President Bill Clinton for lying about an extramarital affair with a young aide, also appeared before the Senate to defend Mr. Trump. He argued that the president committed no impeachable offense and urged senators to “restore our constitutional and historical traditions,” in which impeachment was rare.

“Like war, impeachment is hell,” Mr. Starr told senators, casting himself as a skeptic of the constitutional remedy he enthusiastically pursued 21 years ago. “Or at least, presidential impeachment is hell.”

While it is not clear that Republicans will vote to call additional witnesses when they vote on the issue this week, the revelations from Mr. Bolton appeared to shift the dynamic that had taken hold at the end of last week’s arguments, when it appeared unlikely that Democrats would win the support of the four Republicans they need to force the issue.

On Monday, Democrats said they were newly optimistic that the momentum of the trial was pushing toward a vote for witnesses and documents, and they worked to increase the pressure on hesitant Republicans to embrace the moves.

“It boils down to one thing: we have a witness with firsthand evidence of the president’s actions for which he is on trial,” said Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader. “He is ready and willing to testify. How can Senate Republicans not vote to call that witness and request his documents?”

Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, who had previously indicated she would most likely support additional witnesses, said the revelations about Mr. Bolton’s book “strengthen the case for witnesses and have prompted a number of conversations among my colleagues.” Senator Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska, said she was “curious” about what Mr. Bolton would say, but gave no hint of how she would vote on the matter.

But Republican leaders labored to play down the significance of Mr. Bolton’s account.

“The best I can tell from what’s reported in The New York Times, it is nothing different from what we have already heard,” Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas, said on Fox News.

Mr. Herschmann and Pam Bondi, another of Mr. Trump’s lawyers, delved deeply into Hunter Biden’s work on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company, at the time his father was vice president, suggesting it was improper for him to hold the post while his father served. Ms. Bondi also noted that the elder Mr. Biden had called for the removal of prosecutor who was looking into Burisma.

“What we are saying is that there was a basis to talk about this, to raise this issue,” Ms. Bondi said.

But it was United States policy at the time that the prosecutor, who was widely regarded as corrupt, should be removed. In a statement on Monday, Andrew Bates, the Biden campaign’s rapid-response director, said: “Here on Planet Earth, the conspiracy theory that Bondi repeated has been conclusively refuted.”

Later, Jane Raskin, one of the president’s lawyers, called Mr. Giuliani a “colorful distraction” in the case, arguing that the House impeachment investigators did not subpoena him to testify because they did not think he would back up their claims that he was executing a shadow foreign policy.

“In this trial, in this moment, Mr. Giuliani is just a minor player — that shiny object designed to distract you,” Ms. Raskin said.

Mr. Giuliani defied a House subpoena for documents. Legal experts suggest he would have refused to disclose any of his conversations with Mr. Trump on the basis of attorney-client privilege even if called to testify. And he would surely have been a difficult witness, given his often erratic performance in televised interviews.

Reporting was contributed by Catie Edmondson, Maggie Haberman, Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Patricia Mazzei.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Live Impeachment Trial Highlights

Video

Westlake Legal Group 27vid-impeach-videoSixteenByNine3000 Live Impeachment Trial Highlights United States Politics and Government Schiff, Adam B Republican Party Presidential Election of 2020 impeachment House of Representatives Democratic Party Bolton, John R

President Trump’s lawyers continue their opening arguments before the Senate amid intensifying calls for witnesses to appear in the impeachment trial.CreditCredit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

Here’s what you need to know:

President Trump’s lawyers avoided on Monday any mention of a newly disclosed firsthand account from his former national security adviser, John R. Bolton, that directly undercuts one of the defense’s main arguments.

The New York Times first reported details from drafts of Mr. Bolton’s upcoming book Sunday night, including Mr. Bolton’s assertion that Mr. Trump said he wanted to continue a freeze on military aid to Ukraine until officials there helped with investigations into Mr. Trump’s political rivals.

Calls for witnesses intensified as a result, and three Republican senators — Mitt Romney of Utah, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine — indicated they might vote with Democrats to allow new witnesses to testify at the trial. Democrats need four Republicans for such a measure to pass.

Mr. Romney told reporters on Monday, “I think it’s increasingly likely that other Republicans will join those of us who think we should hear from John Bolton.”

The decision not to address Mr. Bolton’s explosive account hung over the lawyers’ first round of arguments as they repeated many of the same assertions offered over the past six months from Mr. Trump and the White House about why a hold was placed on military aid to Ukraine.

Mr. Trump denied Mr. Bolton’s account on Monday.

Mr. Bolton said weeks ago that he would testify at the Senate trial if he was subpoenaed to do so. Democrats have said Republican attempts to prevent new witnesses like Mr. Bolton from coming forward suggests they are covering up for Mr. Trump.

One of Mr. Trump’s lawyers, Michael Purpura, said the president’s decisions regarding Ukraine were rooted in his desire to get European countries to pitch in more with aid.

“Scrutinizing, and in some cases curtailing, foreign aid was a central plank of his campaign platform,” Mr. Purpura said. “President Trump is especially wary of sending American taxpayer dollars abroad when other countries refuse to pitch in.”

Mr. Purpura left out details about Trump administration officials scrambling to find legal justification for freezing the military aid. An independent government watchdog concluded that Mr. Trump’s decision to withhold the funds was against the law.

Jane Raskin, a member of the president’s defense team, raised the topic of Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, and his role in the Ukraine affair.

Ms. Raskin listed Mr. Giuliani’s accomplishments and called him a “colorful distraction.” She said the central role Democrats have affixed to him is undercut by their decision not to subpoena him to testify in the impeachment inquiry last year. (Democrats subpoenaed Mr. Giuliani to provide documents, but he did not comply).

In the midst of the White House efforts to pressure Ukraine, Mr. Bolton last summer described Mr. Giuliani as “a hand grenade who’s going to blow everybody up,” according to testimony from one of Mr. Bolton’s aides. And it was in part the involvement of Mr. Giuliani, who was not a government official, in American foreign policy that prompted an intelligence officer to file a whistle-blower complaint that ultimately led to the impeachment of Mr. Trump.

Ken Starr, the dogged independent counsel during the impeachment of President Bill Clinton, resumed Mr. Trump’s defense on Monday afternoon with a discursive and at times academic overview of the history of impeachment.

“Like war, impeachment is hell. Or at least presidential impeachment is hell,” said Mr. Starr, who has been a regular guest on Fox News during the Trump administration.

Mr. Trump added Mr. Starr to his legal team shortly before his trial began.

“Those of us who lived through the Clinton impeachment, including members of this body, full well understand that a presidential impeachment is tantamount to domestic war, but thankfully protected by our beloved First Amendment, a war of words and a war of ideas,” said Mr. Starr, who resigned as independent counsel in 1999 over the “intense politicization” of the investigation.

Mr. Starr’s choice to dwell on history appeared to ignore criticism from some Republican senators that the House managers spent too much time last week on the rehashing of historical references and past legal precedents to justify removing Mr. Trump from office. Mr. Trump’s other lawyers have steered clear of any suggestion that the proceedings will leave an indelible mark on the nation’s history.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Trump Impeachment Trial Stream: Full Highlights

Here’s what you need to know:

Video

Westlake Legal Group 27vid-impeach-videoSixteenByNine3000 Trump Impeachment Trial Stream: Full Highlights United States Politics and Government Schiff, Adam B Republican Party Presidential Election of 2020 impeachment House of Representatives Democratic Party Bolton, John R

President Trump’s lawyers continue their opening arguments before the Senate amid intensifying calls for witnesses to appear in the impeachment trial.CreditCredit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

House impeachment managers and Senate Democrats have been clamoring to persuade Republicans to allow new evidence and witnesses into President Trump’s Senate trial. In particular, they want John R. Bolton, Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, who has already said he would be willing to appear if subpoenaed.

Those calls intensified on Sunday night when The New York Times reported details from Mr. Bolton’s upcoming book, including Mr. Bolton’s assertion that Mr. Trump said he wanted to continue a freeze on military aid to Ukraine until officials there helped with investigations into Mr. Trump’s political rivals. The revelation could undercut a key element of Mr. Trump’s impeachment defense: that the hold was separate from the investigations Mr. Trump wanted.

Mr. Trump denied Mr. Bolton’s account on Monday.

It was not yet clear whether the details from Mr. Bolton would be enough to persuade the handful of Senate Republicans needed to join Democrats voting in favor of calling witnesses. But one of the Republicans who has been open to hearing new witnesses, Senator Mitt Romney of Utah, said late Monday morning that he expected other Senate Republicans to come around.

It’s rare to see a defendant attack the lead prosecutor in the middle of a trial. But that’s what Mr. Trump did a day after his defense team began their opening arguments, making the case that the president should not be removed from office.

Mr. Trump on Sunday lashed out at Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California, who led the House impeachment inquiry and is serving as the lead prosecutor in the Senate trial.

Mr. Schiff is “a CORRUPT POLITICIAN, and probably a very sick man,” Mr. Trump wrote in a Twitter post, followed by a warning: “He has not paid the price, yet, for what he has done to our Country!”

Asked if he took that to be a threat, Mr. Schiff on Sunday, appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” said, “I think it’s intended to be.”

Mr. Trump’s defense team used just two hours on Saturday out of their 24-hour allotment in their first opportunity in the Senate to respond to the case made by House impeachment managers last week during the trial.

The president’s team went straight to offense, accusing the Democrats of levying a partisan witch hunt against Mr. Trump to help gain an advantage in the 2020 presidential election. As part of that, they offered a diametrically different interpretation of the Constitution than the Democrats presented a week earlier, and argued that nothing that Mr. Trump did warranted removing a president from office.

The length of the arguments on Saturday — just two hours compared with the Democrats’ eight hours on their first day — was notable, as some Republican senators had complained about the repetition of the House managers’ arguments over the course of their three days.

Mr. Trump has also complained that the Saturday television viewership was less than ideal and previously said it “is called Death Valley in T.V.” in the world of television ratings.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Live Trump Impeachment Trial Stream

Here’s what you need to know:

Video

Westlake Legal Group 27vid-impeach-videoSixteenByNine3000 Live Trump Impeachment Trial Stream United States Politics and Government Schiff, Adam B Republican Party Presidential Election of 2020 impeachment House of Representatives Democratic Party Bolton, John R

President Trump’s lawyers continue their opening arguments before the Senate amid intensifying calls for witnesses to appear in the impeachment trial.CreditCredit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

House impeachment managers and Senate Democrats have been clamoring to persuade Republicans to allow new evidence and witnesses into President Trump’s Senate trial. In particular, they want John R. Bolton, Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, who has already said he would be willing to appear if subpoenaed.

Those calls intensified on Sunday night when The New York Times reported details from Mr. Bolton’s upcoming book, including Mr. Bolton’s assertion that Mr. Trump said he wanted to continue a freeze on military aid to Ukraine until officials there helped with investigations into Mr. Trump’s political rivals. The revelation could undercut a key element of Mr. Trump’s impeachment defense: that the hold was separate from the investigations Mr. Trump wanted.

Mr. Trump denied Mr. Bolton’s account on Monday.

It was not yet clear whether the details from Mr. Bolton would be enough to persuade the handful of Senate Republicans needed to join Democrats voting in favor of calling witnesses. But one of the Republicans who has been open to hearing new witnesses, Senator Mitt Romney of Utah, said late Monday morning that he expected other Senate Republicans to come around.

It’s rare to see a defendant attack the lead prosecutor in the middle of a trial. But that’s what Mr. Trump did a day after his defense team began their opening arguments, making the case that the president should not be removed from office.

Mr. Trump on Sunday lashed out at Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California, who led the House impeachment inquiry and is serving as the lead prosecutor in the Senate trial.

Mr. Schiff is “a CORRUPT POLITICIAN, and probably a very sick man,” Mr. Trump wrote in a Twitter post, followed by a warning: “He has not paid the price, yet, for what he has done to our Country!”

Asked if he took that to be a threat, Mr. Schiff on Sunday, appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” said, “I think it’s intended to be.”

Mr. Trump’s defense team used just two hours on Saturday out of their 24-hour allotment in their first opportunity in the Senate to respond to the case made by House impeachment managers last week during the trial.

The president’s team went straight to offense, accusing the Democrats of levying a partisan witch hunt against Mr. Trump to help gain an advantage in the 2020 presidential election. As part of that, they offered a diametrically different interpretation of the Constitution than the Democrats presented a week earlier, and argued that nothing that Mr. Trump did warranted removing a president from office.

The length of the arguments on Saturday — just two hours compared with the Democrats’ eight hours on their first day — was notable, as some Republican senators had complained about the repetition of the House managers’ arguments over the course of their three days.

Mr. Trump has also complained that the Saturday television viewership was less than ideal and previously said it “is called Death Valley in T.V.” in the world of television ratings.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

John Bolton’s Account Upends Trump’s Denials, but Will It Upend Trump?

Westlake Legal Group 27usbriefing_bolton-facebookJumbo John Bolton’s Account Upends Trump’s Denials, but Will It Upend Trump? Watergate Affair Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Nixon, Richard Milhous impeachment Bolton, John R

WASHINGTON — In another time, in another Washington, this might be the moment that changed the trajectory of the presidency. A former national security adviser confirms that the president, despite his denials, conditioned security aid to a war-torn ally on its cooperation against his domestic rivals, the issue at the heart of his ongoing impeachment trial.

At first glance, at least, John R. Bolton’s account of President Trump’s private remarks sounds like an echo of the so-called smoking gun tape that proved that President Richard M. Nixon really had orchestrated the Watergate cover-up and ultimately forced him from office. But this is Mr. Trump’s era and Mr. Trump’s Washington, and the old rules do not always apply.

The reality show star who was elected president even after he was captured on an “Access Hollywood” tape boasting about sexual assault has gone on to survive one revelation after another in the three years since, proving more durable than any national politician in modern American history. So will this be the turning point or just one more disclosure that validates his critics without changing other minds? Will it be another smoking gun or another “Access Hollywood”?

The news of Mr. Bolton’s account in an unpublished book, first reported by The New York Times, could hardly come at a worse time for Mr. Trump, just as his lawyers have opened his defense on the Senate floor and days before the senators will vote on whether to call witnesses like Mr. Bolton. Until now, Mr. Trump seemed assured not only of acquittal but appeared likely to fend off the testimony of any more witnesses.

But the pressure on the handful of Republican senators who had been wavering on calling witnesses will now increase exponentially and the president’s defense has suddenly been thrown into disarray. When Mr. Trump’s lawyers address the Senate Monday afternoon, they will face the challenge of explaining how his own former top aide says the president did exactly what they say he did not do — or trying to ignore it altogether.

What’s perhaps even more shocking is that the White House knew what Mr. Bolton had to say at least as far back as Dec. 30, when he sent his manuscript to the National Security Council for standard pre-publication review to ensure that no classified information would be released, yet continued to promote a completely opposite narrative.

In his book, Mr. Bolton writes that Mr. Trump told him in August that he wanted to continue freezing $391 million in congressionally approved security assistance to Ukraine until its government helped with investigations into Democrats including former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son Hunter Biden — exactly what Mr. Trump is on trial for.

Mr. Trump and his defenders quickly sought to undercut Mr. Bolton by dismissing him as a disgruntled former employee seeking to take revenge and sell books. Mr. Bolton abruptly left the White House in September after months of tension with the president over his policies toward North Korea, Iran, Afghanistan and Ukraine; the president insisted he fired him while Mr. Bolton insisted he resigned.

Starting early Monday morning, hours after the Times’s report on Mr. Bolton’s book, Mr. Trump firing off more than a half-dozen messages on Twitter rebutting his former adviser’s account and attacking him as untrustworthy.

“I NEVER told John Bolton that the aid to Ukraine was tied to investigations into Democrats, including the Bidens,” the president wrote. “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.”

He also reposted messages from supporters assailing Mr. Bolton and comparing him to others the president viewed as disloyal like James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director he fired in 2017. “Just like James Comey, John Bolton is trying to get rich off a lie- and leak-fueled campaign to overturn the 2016 election results,” read one of the messages the president retweeted.

But Mr. Bolton is a hard witness for Mr. Trump to simply brush off. He is no liberal Democrat or deep-state bureaucrat, nor is he even a Never Trump Republican, but a conservative hawk with years of credibility among Republicans and a strong following from his days as ambassador to the United Nations and Fox News commentator. He spent 17 months as Mr. Trump’s national security adviser and knows a lot about what happened on the inside during that time.

Mr. Bolton’s account on its face seems to eviscerate a central part of the defense that the White House began presenting on the Senate floor on Saturday. The president’s lawyers hammered House Democrats for relying on secondhand testimony and argued that no witness had come forward to say that Mr. Trump had explicitly linked the aid to the investigations.

“Most of the Democrats’ witnesses have never spoken to the president at all, let alone about Ukraine security assistance,” Michael R. Purpura, a deputy White House counsel, told the Senate on Saturday. “The two people in the House record who asked President Trump about whether there was any linkage between security assistance and investigations were told in no uncertain terms that there is no connection between the two.”

In their trial brief submitted earlier last week, the president’s lawyers made that one of their key points. “Not a single witness with actual knowledge ever testified that the president suggested any connection between announcing investigations and security assistance,” the lawyers wrote. “Assumptions, presumptions and speculation based on hearsay are all that House Democrats can rely on to spin their tale of a quid pro quo.”

The House managers prosecuting Mr. Trump said that distorted the strength of their evidence, but either way, Mr. Bolton’s recollection is clearly a firsthand account — which at least some in the White House had reason to know at the time the brief was filed and the presentation was made on the Senate floor.

Mr. Bolton has been one of the most intriguing figures in the Ukraine matter for weeks, ever since other former officials testified that he opposed the pressure campaign, calling it a “drug deal” he wanted no part of and warning that Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal attorney organizing the pressure, was a “hand grenade who’s going to blow everybody up.” He told aides to report what they learned about the pressure campaign to a White House lawyer.

Until now, Mr. Bolton has remained publicly silent and, in fact, despite the Times report about his book, has remained so. His lawyer blamed the report on a leak by the White House.

House Democrats requested his testimony during their hearings last month, but they ultimately did not subpoena him, reasoning that a court fight would only prolong the investigative process for months.

Once the House impeached Mr. Trump and the case reached the Senate, Mr. Bolton announced that he would testify if subpoenaed. But Senate Republicans voted against subpoenaing him at the start of the trial, putting off a final decision until after arguments are complete, which could come later this week.

Another witness sought by the House managers, Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, has already publicly confirmed to reporters that Mr. Trump suspended the security aid in part to get Ukraine to investigate a conspiracy theory involving Democrats during the 2016 election campaign, although he later issued a statement trying to take that back.

As damaging as Mr. Bolton’s account would seem to be, it was too early to judge its effect. Unlike the Nixon smoking gun tape, there is no recording — and events of the last three years have suggested even that may not matter.

Mr. Trump has endured so many scandals that would have brought down an ordinary politician not even counting “Access Hollywood.”

Just weeks before moving into the White House, he agreed to pay $25 million to settle fraud claims against Trump University. Since becoming president, he repaid hush money given to Stormy Daniels, the pornographic film actress, to keep quiet about an alleged affair. Another woman has sued him for rape and more than a dozen others have accused him of sexual misconduct.

His son, son-in-law and campaign chairman met with Russians offering “dirt” on his opponent that they said came from the Russian government. A special counsel investigation identified 10 instances when the president may have obstructed justice. His family foundation was forced to shut down after authorities found “a shocking pattern of illegality.” His businesses have benefited from foreign patrons with cause to curry favor with the president despite the Constitution’s emoluments clause.

Investigative reporting found that he engaged in dubious tax schemes during the 1990s, including instances of outright fraud. A wide swath of people around him have been convicted of various crimes, including his campaign chairman, his deputy, first national security adviser, longtime political adviser, longtime personal lawyer and others. And now Mr. Giuliani and a couple of his longtime associates are under federal investigation.

To Mr. Trump’s most fervent supporters, all of that is proof not that he is corrupt but that he has struck a nerve in Washington’s “swamp” and the establishment is coming after him, manufacturing “hoaxes” to tear him down. That unwavering support within the Republican Party, which he telegraphs on Twitter regularly, has hardly gone unnoticed by Republican senators as they sit in judgment of him.

But polls also show that two-thirds of the public wanted to hear from new witnesses in the trial now underway on Capitol Hill. Given the latest revelations, Mr. Bolton stands ready to testify with the fate of the president on the line.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com