Republican senators were struggling Tuesday with how to respond to explosive claims from Trump's former national security advisor John Bolton that purported to corroborate the heart of the Democrats' charges against President Donald Trump.
Senator Lindsey Graham on Tuesday said he would support a plan making the Bolton book manuscript available for senators to review in a classified setting. So far, only summaries have been reported by the New York Times.
Graham’s idea didn’t get far with the Democrats.
SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) SENATE DEMOCRATIC LEADER CHUCK SCHUMER, SAYING:
"What an absurd proposal. It's a book! There's no need for it to be read in the SCIF unless you want to hide something... To what extent are some of our Republican colleagues going to twist themselves an entire pretzel to avoid the truth."
According to a New York Times report on Bolton's unpublished manuscript, Trump told Bolton to freeze aid to Ukraine until they delivered on his requested investigations into the Bidens.
Trump denied these claims, and his defense team on Monday largely ignored the substance of Bolton’s explosive disclosures. But the president’s defense lawyer Alan Dershowitz claimed the allegations didn’t even matter.
SOUNDBITE (English) PRESIDENT TRUMP IMPEACHMENT DEFENSE LAWYER ALAN DERSHOWITZ, SAYING:
"Nothing in the Bolton revelations, even if true, would rise to the level of an abuse of power or an impeachable offense."
Indeed many Republicans have shown no interest in hearing from Bolton, a first-hand witness of the charges at hand. Instead they want to hear from Joe Biden's son.
SOUNDBITE (English) SEN. TED CRUZ, SAYING:
"I think at a minimum the most important witness for the Senate to hear from is now Hunter Biden."
SOUNDBITE (English) SENATE DEMOCRATIC LEADER CHUCK SCHUMER, SAYING:
"Hunter Biden has nothing to do with the facts of this trial."
Republican Senator Romney told Reuters on Tuesday that he was open to idea of a "one-for-one" witness deal between Republicans and Democrats, but wouldn't specify who that might be.
Romney on Monday said there was a growing likelihood that at least four Republican senators would choose to call Bolton to testify, which would give Democrats the votes necessary in the Republican-led Senate to summon him.
The Senate may resolve the issue of whether to call witnesses in a vote on Friday or Saturday.