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28 January 2020 - 10:48
News ID: 448685
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US President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate enters a critical stage this week following a new report that could increase pressure on Republican senators to call former US national security adviser John Bolton to testify in the impeachment trial.

RNA - The Senate began the second week of the impeachment trial on Monday as Trump’s lawyers resumed their defense following the fresh report in The New York Times that may undercut a key element of Trump’s defense in the Ukraine scandal.

The Times reported Sunday that Bolton claims in an upcoming book that Trump wanted to freeze Ukrainian military aid until Kiev investigated his political rivals, including former Vice President Joe Biden, and his son, Hunter Biden.

Hunter Biden worked for a Ukrainian energy firm while his father was vice president.

Trump denied the allegations in a series of tweets early on Monday.

“I NEVER told John Bolton that the aid to Ukraine was tied to investigations into Democrats, including the Bidens ... If John Bolton said this, it was only to sell a book,” Trump wrote.

The newspaper’s report may damage a key element of Trump’s defense, which is that there was no quid pro quo when he asked Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskiy to investigate the Bidens in a July phone call.

The report drew immediate Democratic demands that the Senate call Bolton as a witness, an issue the 100-member chamber is likely to address later in the week.

The Democrats want key Trump administration officials to testify, including Bolton and acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, in the belief that they know a lot about Trump's dealings with Ukraine. Bolton has said he is willing to testify if subpoenaed.

If the Senate called witnesses or demanded documents, the trial could lengthen. If not, the Senate could vote toward the end of the week on whether to remove Trump from office.

While the Republican-controlled Senate is highly unlikely to remove Trump from office, it is important for him to try to blunt the Democratic accusations to limit political damage to his bid for a second term.

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