As pressure intensifies on Republicans, the Trump team will argue against hearing new witnesses.
As more details surfaced from a manuscript by John R. Bolton, the president’s former national security adviser, Republicans began the day in damage-control mode with just hours left for President Trump’s defense lawyers to make their case.
New details about Mr. Trump’s motivations regarding Ukraine, described in a manuscript of Mr. Bolton’s upcoming book, have undercut one of the defense’s key arguments and are adding pressure for the Senate to allow new witnesses into the trial.
The latest disclosure from the Bolton manuscript describes anxiety among some of the president’s closest advisers over concerns that Mr. Trump was granting personal favors to foreign autocrats.
Adding to the pressure, the president’s former chief of staff, John F. Kelly, said that he believed Mr. Bolton’s accounts.
Mr. Kelly, speaking to an audience in Florida, said that he believed the revelations in the book and that the Senate should call witnesses in the impeachment trial. Mr. Kelly and Mr. Bolton overlapped at the White House during much of 2018.
The Democrats would need to secure at least four Republican defectors to approve hearing new testimony. The Senate would then hold separate votes on each potential witness.
Mr. Bolton has said he would comply with a Senate subpoena to testify during the trial.
Republican senator says Bolton manuscript should be shared with the Senate.
Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma said he was recommending that the White House turn the Bolton manuscript over to senators who can review it in a classified setting “and see for ourselves if there is anything significant.”
Seeing the manuscript six weeks from now is not sufficient, Mr. Lankford told CNN, because senators have to vote on whether to hear witnesses in just a few days.
“This needs to be a part of our information so we can make that decision about witnesses,” Mr. Lankford said.
Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina and one of the president’s closest allies in the Senate, expressed his support.
“It makes perfect sense to me,” Mr. Graham said Tuesday. “I don’t know if it’s achievable, but that would be a solution of voluntary choice by the White House.”
Trump’s lawyers will hit hard on the House managers.
The defense is expected to hammer the point that House Democrats fell down on the job and did not present a strong enough case for impeachment.
“The managers have not met their burden, and these articles of impeachment must be rejected,” one of the president’s lawyers, Eric Herschmann, told senators Monday.
Much of the president’s defense has centered on poking holes in the House managers’ arguments and turning the Democrats’ accusations about attempts to interfere in the 2020 election back on them.
Trump takes aim at Fox News ahead of the Tuesday’s trial.
Mr. Trump lashed out at Fox News on Tuesday for airing an interview with Senator Chris Van Hollen, a Democrat, whom Mr. Trump described as “the no name Senator from Maryland.”
Fox News has long held the prize for being the president’s favorite news network.
“So, what the hell has happened to @FoxNews,” Mr. Trump wrote in a pair of tweets Tuesday morning. “Watch, this will be the beginning of the end for Fox, just like the other two which are dying in the ratings. Social Media is great!”
The clock winds down.
Once the president’s lawyers conclude their arguments that Mr. Trump should not be removed from office, senators will submit written questions for the House managers and the president’s defense team through Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., who is presiding over the trial. The chief justice will read the questions to the lawyers, alternating between submissions from Democrats and Republicans.
The senators can ask questions to seek clarification as well as strategically compose questions that are more likely to yield answers favorable to their side. Senators have 16 hours for that process. The senators could then vote on whether to hear from new witnesses.