, , , , , , , , , , ,

From VOA News (additional info added in brackets):
Trump Impeachment Trial Turns into Debate Over Bolton Testimony
By Ken Bredemeier, Kenneth Schwartz
Updated January 29, 2020 04:37 PM
WASHINGTON – U.S. President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial quickly turned into a debate Wednesday over whether his former national security adviser John Bolton should be called as a witness.

“There’s no way to have a fair trial without witnesses,” Congressman Adam Schiff, the lead House of Representatives manager prosecuting Trump, told the 100 members of the Senate acting as jurors.

He said there was “no question about the president’s motivation” in asking Ukraine to investigate a key 2020 Democratic rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, to benefit himself politically, at the same time blocking release of $391 million in military aid Kyiv [Ukraine] wanted [and that the US Congress appropriated, meaning that he was legally obligated to give the aid to Ukraine].

But with Trump’s repeated denial of a quid pro quo with Ukraine — military aid for the politically tinged investigation — Schiff said it “makes it all the more sense to call a witness who knows what happened.”

Bolton, who often met with Trump until the president ousted him from his security post last September, claims in the new book “The Room Where It Happened” that Trump told him directly last August he wanted the Biden investigation before he would release the defense assistance Kyiv wanted to help fight pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.

“Don’t wait for the book to find out what (Trump’s) motivation was,” Schiff said.
But a Trump lawyer, deputy White House counsel Patrick Philbin, accused the Democratic-controlled House of approving two articles of impeachment against Trump in a “hurried, half-baked, partisan fashion” and that to call witnesses now “could drag (the Senate trial) on for months.”

The Senate is voting Friday on whether to subpoena witnesses, including Bolton and other key Trump aides, which could significantly extend the length of the trial.

But Republican leaders are hoping to reject Democrats’ bid for their testimony and then move quickly to acquit Trump by week’s end. Trump’s case is only the third presidential impeachment trial in the country’s history.

Senate Republicans and Democrats alternated submitting written questions to the House managers and Trump lawyers that were read by Chief Justice John Roberts, who is presiding over the trial. The questioning is planned to last for 16 hours over two days, before the crucial Friday debate on whether to call Bolton as a witness.

At the outset, the Republican and the Democratic lawmakers directed their questions almost entirely to their side of the political aisle.

Bolton’s possible testimony looms large after details from his upcoming book surfaced this week. The issue of Trump’s request to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy for the Biden investigation is at the center of the two articles of impeachment Trump faces — whether he abused the presidency by seeking the investigation to benefit himself politically, and obstructed congressional efforts to investigate his Ukraine-related actions.

Trump, however, released the military assistance in September without Zelenskiy launching the Biden investigation [once caught], proof, Republicans say, that Trump had not engaged in a reciprocal quid pro quo deal with Kyiv.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a staunch Trump supporter, conceded Tuesday that he does not yet have the firm votes needed to block Democrats from calling witnesses and extending the trial“.https://www.voanews.com/usa/trump-impeachment/trump-impeachment-trial-turns-debate-over-bolton-testimony

Important information excluded by the article has been added in brackets.
[…] represents exclusions of text.
We hope that US government owned VOA is not now falling under active Trump control. In the past, Bredemeier has generally been a great reporter.

Trump Knew of Whistle-Blower Complaint When He Released Aid to UkraineBy Michael S. Schmidt, Julian E. Barnes and Maggie Haberman, Nov. 26, 2019, New York Times, https://archive.li/604tJ

The US Congress – NOT Trump – has the “Power of the Purse”, i.e., to determine appropriations.