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Trump’s defense team reiterated its argument that he didn’t link financial aid for Ukraine to that country’s help with investigations of Joe Biden, even after a bombshell news report that former National Security Advisor John Bolton disclosed such a link in his book manuscript.
“Not a single witness testified that the president himself said that there was any connection between any investigation and security assistance, a presidential meeting or anything else,” Trump attorney Jay Sekulow said on the Senate floor.
Trump’s lawyers have repeatedly depended on the lack of firsthand testimony that the president tied the aid money to investigations into his political rivals. But that argument could be challenged if Bolton speaks at the trial.
Bolton has said he would testify if subpoenaed, while Trump has signaled he’ll attempt to block such testimony by citing executive privilege.
The New York Times reported Sunday that Bolton wrote in the manuscript of a forthcoming book that Trump told him in August that he didn’t want to release the funds until Ukraine turned over material related to Biden, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate.
The report increased pressure on Republican senators who are undecided on whether to support calling witnesses in the trial. The Senate needs 51 votes to subpoena witnesses and documents.
Trump tweeted early Monday he “NEVER” told that to Bolton. Sekulow said the defense team wouldn’t address “speculation” and “allegations that are not based on evidentiary standards at all.”
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