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Democrats stepped up their calls Sunday night for former national security adviser John Bolton to testify at President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial after an explosive report alleged that in his unpublished book, he said Trump personally tied aid for Ukraine to an investigation of the Bidens — an account that conflicts with the president’s.
“John Bolton has the evidence,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., tweeted.
According to the manuscript, as reported by The New York Times on Sunday night, Trump told Bolton that nearly $400 million in aid to Ukraine would not be released until it offered assistance with investigations of Democratic targets, including former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.
NBC News has not seen a copy of the manuscript or verified the report, which cited multiple sources familiar with Bolton’s account.
The contents of the manuscript were described as a rough account of how Bolton would testify should he be called as a witness in the Senate trial. The prospect of new witnesses has been viewed as unlikely given most Republicans’ reluctance to accept additional testimony.
Trump addressed the report in a series of tweets Sunday night. “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,” Trump said.
Hill Democrats said Sunday that the new report highlighted the urgency of a Senate request for Bolton’s testimony — a move that would require several GOP votes.
“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,” Schumer tweeted. Mulvaney is Trump’s acting chief of staff.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., tweeted that because of the report that Bolton had firsthand knowledge of Trump’s decision that ran counter to the White House’s account, the “refusal of the Senate to call for him, other relevant witnesses, and documents is now even more indefensible.”
The House Democrats’ impeachment managers said in a statement that there could be “no doubt now that Mr. Bolton directly contradicts the heart of the President’s defense and therefore must be called as a witness at the impeachment trial of President Trump. Senators should insist that Mr. Bolton be called as a witness, and provide his notes and other relevant documents.”
Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. — one of the senators running for the Democratic presidential nomination whose campaigns have been affected by the need to serve as jurors in the impeachment trial — echoed the sentiment Sunday.
“I don’t know how my Republican colleagues cannot call for witnesses,” she said while campaigning in Iowa, adding: “We should all be calling for witnesses. We have to get to the truth.”