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Senate Republicans to meet Tuesday afternoon on witness question

Senate Republicans will hold a special meeting Tuesday afternoon after President TrumpDonald John TrumpGeraldo Rivera on Trump sowing election result doubts: 'Enough is enough now' Murkowski: Trump should concede White House race Scott Atlas resigns as coronavirus adviser to Trump MORE’s legal team finishes its opening arguments to hash out their strategy on how to handle the tricky question of subpoenaing additional witnesses and documents.

Two Senate Republican sources confirmed that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate approves two energy regulators, completing panel On The Money: Biden announces key members of economic team | GOP open to Yellen as Treasury secretary, opposed to budget pick | GAO: Labor Department 'improperly presented' jobless data Senate GOP open to confirming Yellen to be Biden's Treasury secretary MORE (R-Ky.) has called the meeting to get his GOP colleagues on the same page as phase one of the impeachment trial nears its end.

Under the trial’s organizing resolution, which McConnell drafted, senators will have 16 hours to ask questions of the House managers and the president’s lawyers before voting on whether it should be in order to subpoena additional witnesses, such as former national security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonPressure grows from GOP for Trump to recognize Biden election win Sunday shows - Virus surge dominates ahead of fraught Thanksgiving holiday Bolton calls on GOP leadership to label Trump's behavior 'inexcusable' MORE and acting White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyMick MulvaneyMick Mulvaney 'concerned' by Giuliani role in Trump election case On The Money: Senate releases spending bills, setting up talks for December deal | McConnell pushing for 'highly targeted' COVID deal | CFPB vet who battled Trump will lead Biden plans to overhaul agency Consumer bureau vet who battled Trump will lead Biden plans to overhaul agency MORE.

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Senate Republicans have come under increased pressure to call for Bolton’s testimony after The New York Times reported Sunday that Bolton's unpublished book manuscript claims Trump said he wanted to freeze military aid for Ukraine until officials there announced an investigation of former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenGeraldo Rivera on Trump sowing election result doubts: 'Enough is enough now' Senate approves two energy regulators, completing panel Murkowski: Trump should concede White House race MORE.

Two moderate Republicans, Sens. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneySenate GOP open to confirming Yellen to be Biden's Treasury secretary Overnight Health Care: Moderna to apply for emergency use authorization for COVID-19 vaccine candidate | Hospitals brace for COVID-19 surge | US more than doubles highest number of monthly COVID-19 cases Bipartisan Senate group holding coronavirus relief talks amid stalemate MORE (Utah) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsBiden budget pick sparks battle with GOP Senate Overnight Health Care: Moderna to apply for emergency use authorization for COVID-19 vaccine candidate | Hospitals brace for COVID-19 surge | US more than doubles highest number of monthly COVID-19 cases Bipartisan Senate group holding coronavirus relief talks amid stalemate MORE (Maine), said Monday that news of Bolton’s draft book strengthened the case to agree to additional witnesses and testimony.   

Romney said “it’s increasingly likely that other Republicans will join those of us who think we should hear from John Bolton.”

McConnell was able to keep his other GOP colleagues in line Monday when he urged them to hold off on deciding the question of witnesses until after the president’s lawyers had finished their opening arguments and senators had time to ask questions.

Now that the White House is close to finishing its opening presentation, McConnell is checking back in with colleagues to discuss the next steps of the trial.

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Several GOP senators have floated proposals to allow them to review Bolton’s claims without voting to issue new subpoenas, which could prolong the trial past the Feb. 4 State of the Union address and perhaps for weeks beyond.

Sen. James LankfordJames Paul LankfordEthics experts ask Senate to investigate Graham's probe of mail-in voting The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Capital One - Pfizer unveils detailed analysis of COVID-19 vaccine & next steps GOP senators congratulate Harris on Senate floor MORE (R-Okla.) is in talks with the White House to make Bolton’s manuscript available for senators to review at the Sensitive Compartment Information Facility (SCIF) in the Capitol Visitor Center.

Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonGrassley returns to Capitol after having coronavirus McConnell halts in-person Republican lunches amid COVID-19 surge Loeffler isolating after possible COVID-19 infection MORE (R-Wis.) on Monday suggested that Bolton reveal what he knows to the media.

“Now that what has unfolded with the manuscript being leaked — by the way, exquisite timing, maybe suspicious timing — The Wall Street Journal has called for John to just come forward. Just tell the public what you know. I think that would actually be a smart thing. I’d encourage John to do that,” Johnson told reporters.

Johnson said Bolton should do so “without involving the trial” and possibly go straight to the media.

Sen. Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyAppeals court rules NSA's bulk phone data collection illegal Dunford withdraws from consideration to chair coronavirus oversight panel GOP senators push for quick, partial reopening of economy MORE (R-Pa.) has proposed a one-for-one witness swap, under which Republicans would agree to hear Bolton’s testimony in exchange for subpoenaing Hunter Biden, the former vice president’s son, to hear about his business dealings in Ukraine.