As the historic impeachment trial of President Donald Trump continues this week, explosive new revelations about Trump’s decision to freeze aid to Ukraine emerged Sunday. The New York Times reports former national security adviser John Bolton writes in his forthcoming book that Trump personally told him in August that he wanted to continue withholding nearly $400 million in security aid until Ukraine turned over materials related to former Vice President Joe Biden and supporters of Hillary Clinton in Ukraine. The reports are based on a leaked manuscript of Bolton’s book. Trump took to Twitter shortly after midnight Monday to deny the claims, writing, “I NEVER told John Bolton that the aid to Ukraine was tied to investigations into Democrats, including the Bidens. In fact, he never complained about this at the time of his very public termination. If John Bolton said this, it was only to sell a book.”
This comes as Trump’s defense team is resuming their opening arguments today, after using just two hours of their allotted 24 hours Saturday. White House counsel Pat Cipollone argued that Trump’s July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky did not explicitly tie aid to the investigations, and accused Democrats of trying to “overturn the results of the last election.”
This is Trump’s longtime personal lawyer Jay Sekulow speaking on the Senate floor Saturday.
Jay Sekulow: “We really intend to show over the next several days that the evidence is actually really overwhelming that the president did nothing wrong. … This case is really not about presidential wrongdoing. This entire impeachment process is about the House managers’ insistence that they are able to read everybody’s thoughts, they can read everybody’s intention, even when the principal speakers, the witnesses themselves, insist that those interpretations are wrong.”
Senators are preparing to vote this week on whether new evidence and witnesses can be introduced in Trump’s impeachment trial. Four Republicans would need to side with Democrats and vote in favor of the move. We’ll have more on the impeachment trial after headlines with Mother Jones reporter Dan Friedman.