New reports of the contents of former White House adviser John Bolton’s book have surfaced hours before the Senate is scheduled to vote on whether to call witnesses in the impeachment trial of President Trump.
According to the New York Times, Bolton writes in his forthcoming book that Trump directed him to assist in the pressure campaign to coerce Ukrainian officials to conduct investigations against Joe and Hunter Biden during a May meeting at which the president’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, and White House counsel Pat Cipillone were present.
During the meeting, Trump directed Bolton to set up a meeting between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Giuliani, who was then planning a trip to Ukraine to discuss the opening of the Biden investigation with government officials. Giuliani on Friday denied he was present at such a meeting, while Trump said Bolton’s alleged account was wrong.
The Times’ Sunday report on Bolton’s book, The Room Where it Happened, disrupted Republicans’ blanket opposition to calling witnesses in the impeachment trial. After unanimously resisting Democrats’ calls for Bolton to testify, moderate Republicans began to waver on Monday.
Democrats need four Republican senators to vote in favor of calling witnesses in order for the motion to pass. Senators Mitt Romney of Utah and Susan Collins of Maine have announced their support, however moderate Lisa Murkowski of Alaska has still not released her position. Senator Lamar Alexander (R., Tenn.), considered a swing vote, came out Thursday against calling witnesses.
Democrats may argue that because revelations from Bolton’s book have surfaced once again, a vote to allow witnesses at the trial–presumably including Bolton–would be necessary.
The revelation that Trump’s pressure campaign had begun as early as May and involved Bolton directly came moments after Senator John Cornyn (R., Texas) warned of the possibility the vote on President Trump’s impeachment may be pushed back to next week.
“My guess is it probably is going to carry us over to the first part of next week,” Cornyn told CNN. White House officials also told the network it was possible the trial would drag out into next week.
“I never instructed John Bolton to set up a meeting for Rudy Giuliani, one of the greatest corruption fighters in America…to meet with President Zelensky. That meeting never happened,” Trump told the Times.