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Pelosi on Bolton saying he’d testify: Trump, McConnell ‘have run out of excuses’

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other top Democrats are calling on President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to allow John Bolton to testify in the upper chamber’s impeachment trial after the former national security adviser said on Monday that he would comply with a subpoena.

Pelosi said in a tweet that Trump and McConnell have “run out of excuses” and that the Republican-controlled Senate must seek Bolton’s testimony about the Trump administration’s contacts with Ukraine.

“They must allow key witnesses to testify, and produce the documents Trump has blocked, so Americans can see the facts for themselves. The Senate cannot be complicit in the President’s cover-up,” the Speaker added using the hashtag “#DefendOurDemocracy.”

Her tweet adds to renewed calls from top Democrats like Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and others for witnesses in the Senate trial following Bolton’s announcement.

“Since my testimony is once again at issue, I have had to resolve the serious competing issues as best I could, based on careful consideration and study. I have concluded that, if the Senate issues a subpoena for my testimony, I am prepared to testify,” Bolton said in a statement.

The timing of the former national security adviser’s decision also adds pressure on Senate Republicans, particularly the more moderate members who have been mum about their position on calling in witnesses to testify in the upper chamber.

Moderates like Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) offered unusual rebukes of McConnell over his statement late last year about closely coordinating the upcoming Senate impeachment trial with the White House.

Both warned that they want the trial to be fair and impartial, although neither took a definitive position on calling in witnesses — as Democrats are demanding.

Democrats would need four Republican senators to side with them in order to subpoena witnesses.

Pelosi chose to delay passing along the two articles of impeachment that passed the House largely along party lines last month as leverage to press McConnell to concede to Democrats’ demands of calling in witnesses, which they say will help ensure a fair trial.

McConnell, who has wanted a speedy trial, has expressed resistance to the idea, but Bolton’s statement may add pressure on the Kentucky Republican to reconsider.

Democrats also want to hear from acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, among others who chose to side with the White House claims of absolute immunity and defy congressional subpoenas seeking their testimony during the House impeachment inquiry last year.

The Democratic-controlled House voted to impeach Trump last month for abusing his power, alleging that he withheld the promise of a White House meeting and nearly $400 million in U.S. aid as leverage to get Ukraine to open two politically motivated investigations, including one into former Vice President Joe Biden, a leading 2020 rival.

House Democrats also charged Trump with obstruction of Congress after the White House refused to cooperate with the impeachment inquiry, which the president and his allies described as a partisan sham that was designed to hurt Trump heading into a presidential election.

The GOP-controlled upper chamber, however, is unlikely to vote to remove Trump from office.

Tags Adam Schiff Charles Schumer Chuck Schumer Donald Trump Joe Biden John Bolton Lisa Murkowski Mick Mulvaney Mike Pompeo Mitch McConnell Nancy Pelosi Susan Collins

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