January 27, 2020

Daily Senate Impeachment Trial Update: January 27



This update was compiled and presented by our partners at Hub Action (www.hubaction.org). For the latest on the impeachment from the ACS network, visit our Impeachment Resources page.


A bombshell New York Times report revealed that John Bolton, in his forthcoming book, asserts President Trump explicitly told him he that he wanted to keep Ukraine’s’ military aide frozen until they helped launch an investigation into the Bidens, increasing pressure on GOP Senators to call Bolton to testify.


  • New York Times: Trump Tied Ukraine Aid to Inquiries He Sought, Bolton Book Says


  • “President Trump told his national security adviser in August that he wanted to continue freezing $391 million in security assistance to Ukraine until officials there helped with investigations into Democrats including the Bidens, according to an unpublished manuscript by the former adviser, John R. Bolton. The president’s statement as described by Mr. Bolton could undercut a key element of his impeachment defense: that the holdup in aid was separate from Mr. Trump’s requests that Ukraine announce investigations into his perceived enemies, including former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son Hunter Biden, who had worked for a Ukrainian energy firm while his father was in office.”


  • “The book presents an outline of what Mr. Bolton might testify to if he is called as a witness in the Senate impeachment trial, the people said. The White House could use the pre-publication review process, which has no set time frame, to delay or even kill the book’s publication or omit key passages. Over dozens of pages, Mr. Bolton described how the Ukraine affair unfolded over several months until he departed the White House in September. He described not only the president’s private disparagement of Ukraine but also new details about senior cabinet officials who have publicly tried to sidestep involvement.”


  • “For example, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo acknowledged privately that there was no basis to claims by the president’s lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani that the ambassador to Ukraine was corrupt and believed Mr. Giuliani may have been acting on behalf of other clients, Mr. Bolton wrote. Mr. Bolton also said that after the president’s July phone call with the president of Ukraine, he raised with Attorney General William P. Barr his concerns about Mr. Giuliani, who was pursuing a shadow Ukraine policy encouraged by the president, and told Mr. Barr that the president had mentioned him on the call. A spokeswoman for Mr. Barr denied that he learned of the call from Mr. Bolton; the Justice Department has said he learned about it only in mid-August.


  • “And the acting White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, was present for at least one phone call where the president and Mr. Giuliani discussed the ambassador, Mr. Bolton wrote. Mr. Mulvaney has told associates he would always step away when the president spoke with his lawyer to protect their attorney-client privilege. During a previously reported May 23 meeting where top advisers and Senator Ron Johnson, Republican of Wisconsin, briefed him about their trip to Kyiv for the inauguration of President Volodymyr Zelensky, Mr. Trump railed about Ukraine trying to damage him and mentioned a conspiracy theory about a hacked Democratic server, according to Mr. Bolton.”


  • Axios: Why this matters: The revelations present a dramatic 11th hour turn in Trump's Senate impeachment trial. They directly contradict Trump's claim that he never tied the hold-up of Ukrainian aid to his demands for investigations into his political opponent Joe Biden. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has already seized on the New York Times story, tweeting: ‘John Bolton has the evidence. It's up to four Senate Republicans to ensure that John Bolton, Mick Mulvaney, and the others with direct knowledge of President Trump's actions testify in the Senate trial.’”


In a separate explosive development, a new recording emerged from an April 2018 dinner in which Trump asks Lev Parnas how long Ukraine “could last in a fight with Russia” without U.S. aid before demanding that Amb. Yovanovitch be fired, contradicting multiple claims Trump has repeatedly made.


  • AP: “President Donald Trump inquired how long Ukraine would be able to resist Russian aggression without U.S. assistance during a 2018 meeting with donors that included the indicted associates of his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani. ‘How long would they last in a fight with Russia?’ Trump is heard asking in the audio portion of a video recording, moments before he calls for the firing of U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch…  The recording contradicts the president’s statements that he did not know the Giuliani associates Lev Parnas or Igor Fruman, key figures in the investigation who were indicted last year on campaign finance charges.”


  • ABC News: 'Take her out': Recording appears to capture Trump at private dinner saying he wants Ukraine ambassador fired  |  “A recording reviewed by ABC News appears to capture President Donald Trump telling associates he wanted the then-U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch fired while speaking at a small gathering that included Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman -- two former business associates of Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani who have since been indicted in New York. The recording appears to contradict statements by Trump and support the narrative that has been offered by Parnas during broadcast interviews in recent days. Sources familiar with the recording said the recording was made during an intimate April 30, 2018, dinner at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. Trump has said repeatedly he does not know Parnas, a Soviet-born American who has emerged as a wild card in Trump’s impeachment trial, especially in the days since Trump was impeached. ‘Get rid of her!’ is what the voice that appears to be Trump’s is heard saying. ‘Get her out tomorrow. I don't care. Get her out tomorrow. Take her out. OK? Do it.’”


  • New York Times: “A former associate of Rudolph W. Giuliani, President Trump’s personal lawyer, said on Friday that he had turned over to congressional Democrats a recording from 2018 of the president ordering the removal of Marie L. Yovanovitch as the United States ambassador to Ukraine. The associate, Lev Parnas, who worked with Mr. Giuliani to oust the ambassador and to pressure the Ukrainian government to pursue investigations to help Mr. Trump, located the recording on Friday after its existence was first reported by ABC News, said Joseph A. Bondy, Mr. Parnas’ lawyer.”


  • Vanity Fair: “Take Her Out”: Chilling Recording Captures Trump Threatening Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch



  • New York Times: 6 Revelatory Moments From the Video of Trump’s Private Donor Dinner


  • Politico: “Senate Democrats had a surprising takeaway on Saturday: President Donald Trump's lawyers are making their argument for them. In their fight to win new witnesses and evidence, Democrats latched onto a line from White House deputy counsel Patrick Philbin — that ‘cross-examination in our legal system is regarded as the greatest legal engine ever invented for the discovery of truth.’ Given the stiff opposition from the Trump administration and Republicans to hearing from witnesses with direct knowledge of the president's actions in the Ukraine saga, Democrats almost couldn’t stand the irony.”


  • BuzzFeed: Democrats Say Trump’s Lawyers Just Made A Great Case — For Calling Witnesses and Documents  |  “White House lawyers spent about two hours Saturday beginning their defense in Trump’s impeachment trial. Their arguments included that no one has testified they heard Trump directly demand a political quid pro quo from Ukraine or say explicitly that foreign aid was held up to benefit himself. They accused House impeachment managers of leaving out key information and presenting a skewed narrative. Leaving the trial, several Democratic senators said the obvious way to solve this dispute is to subpoena new witnesses and documents.”


  • Vox: “In their first arguments of the impeachment trial, counsel for President Donald Trump accused House Democrats of obscuring facts while distorting the impeachment process. Inadvertently, they also presented an argument about past testimony that actually made Democrats’ rationale for calling more witnesses even stronger.”


  • Washington Post: Schiff ‘has not paid the price’ for impeachment, Trump says in what appears to be veiled threat  |  “President Trump escalated his attacks on Rep. Adam B. Schiff on Sunday, issuing what appears to be a veiled threat against the California Democrat one day before Trump’s team is expected to deliver the crux of its defense in the third presidential impeachment trial in U.S. history. ‘Shifty Adam Schiff is a CORRUPT POLITICIAN, and probably a very sick man,’ Trump tweeted Sunday morning. ‘He has not paid the price, yet, for what he has done to our Country!’”


  • NBC News: Trump suggests Schiff will pay a 'price' for pushing impeachment


  • New York Times: “Representative Adam B. Schiff, the House’s lead impeachment manager, accused President Trump on Sunday of trying to threaten him on Twitter and urged Republican senators to find the ‘moral courage to stand up’ to a ‘wrathful and vindictive president.’... It was an extraordinary back-and-forth between a member of Congress and a sitting president, coming at a turning point in Mr. Trump’s impeachment trial on charges of high crimes and misdemeanors — the third presidential impeachment trial in American history.”


New polls?


  • ABC News: 66% call for witnesses in Trump's impeachment trial: Poll  |  “Ultimate views of the trial may hinge on developments ahead: As noted, 66% say the Senate should call new witnesses to testify. That includes 45% of Republicans, rising to 65% of independents and 87% of Democrats. Similarly, nearly half of those who oppose Trump’s removal from office nonetheless want to hear from new witnesses – 47% – as do 85% of those who say he should be removed.”


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