Watch CBS News

Impeachment trial: Trump team presents defense as pressure builds for new witnesses

get the free app
  • link copied
White House impeachment team weighs in on Bolton claims 04:05

Washington — President Trump's legal team presented the case for his defense in his Senate impeachment trial for a second day as new revelations about the president's attempts to get Ukraine to investigate his rivals increased pressure on the Senate to allow new witnesses.

On Sunday, The New York Times reported former national security adviser John Bolton wrote in a manuscript of his upcoming book that Mr. Trump explicitly refused to release nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine in 2019 unless the country pursued investigations into his political rivals, including the Bidens. The Times reported Bolton had submitted the manuscript to the White House for a standard prepublication review for classified information.

Mr. Trump's attorneys spent much of the day sidestepping Bolton's claims until Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz began speaking around 8 p.m. Dershowitz confronted Bolton's allegations head on, arguing that even if they are true, the president's actions still don't rise to the level of an impeachable offense.

"Quid pro quo alone is not a basis for abuse of power," Dershowitz said. "It's part of the way foreign policy has been operated by presidents since the beginning of time."

Earlier in the day, Democrats seized on The New York Times report to accuse the White House of a cover-up and to urge Republican senators to join them in supporting a subpoena for Bolton, who has said he's willing to testify. Several Republican senators who have been open to hearing new testimony reiterated their view that witnesses should be called, including Mitt Romney and Susan Collins.

Bolton's reported accusations directly contradict the argument put forward by Mr. Trump's attorneys, namely that there was no connection between the delay in aid and the president's requests for investigations. Bolton would be the first official to testify that the president personally connected the two issues.

The president denied Bolton's account in several late-night tweets on Sunday, saying he never told Bolton the aid was tied to investigations and accusing his former aide of trying to sell his book.

A vote on whether to allow the consideration of subpoenas won't come until later in the week. Going into Monday, Mr. Trump's legal team had 22 hours left for their presentations over two days, but the attorneys have said they don't plan to use all of their allotted time. 

Sixteen hours of questions will follow the defense team's arguments, after which the Senate will debate and vote on whether to consider motions on subpoenas for witnesses and documents.

Download the free CBS News app for complete coverage of the president's impeachment trial in the Senate. Watch the trial live in the player above.  


Trial concludes for the night

Just after 9 p.m., the trial wrapped up for the evening. The trial will resume at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Senator Mitch McConnell announced.

By Jordan Freiman

Dershowitz says even if Bolton claims are true, they aren't impeachable

After hours had passed without the president's legal team addressing the explosive allegations from Bolton as reported by The New York Times, Alan Dershowitz addressed them head on.

"It follows from this that if a president, any president, were to have done what the Times reported about the content of the Bolton manuscript, that would not constitute an impeachable offense," Dershowitz said. "Let me repeat. Nothing in the Bolton revelations, even if true, would rise to the level of an abuse of power or an impeachable offense. That is clear from the history, that is clear from the language of the Constitution. You cannot turn conduct that is not impeachable into impeachable conduct simply by using words like 'quid pro quo' and 'personal benefit.'" 

According to the New York Times, in a forthcoming book, Bolton says President Trump tied nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine directly to the country opening investigations into his political rivals, including the Bidens. 

Dershowitz made the comment in making his case that even abuse of power is not an impeachable offense, nor is engaging in a quid pro quo.

By Kathryn Watson

Dershowitz tries to explain his shifting position on impeachable offenses

Alan Dershowitz attempted to explain why he appeared to change his mind on when a president's conduct rises to the level of an impeachable offense.

During the impeachment of former President Bill Clinton, which Dershowitz also opposed, Dershowitz claimed a president does not necessarily need to commit a crime in order for some action to be impeachable. 

"It certainly doesn't have to be a crime if you have somebody who completely corrupts the office of president and who abuses trust and who poses great danger to our liberty, you don't need a technical crime," Dershowitz said in 1998.

But since then, Dershowitz said, he's read up on all the relevant material and come to the conclusion that it's likely necessary for some action to be criminal in order to be impeachable. That, Dershowitz claimed, is what academics do when confronted with new information — they change their minds. Dershowitz told CNN last week he's simply "far more correct" now than he was in 1998.

Dershowitz pointed out he's not the only person in the Senate chamber to change his mind. Some members in the chamber who now oppose impeachment supported it in Mr. Clinton's case, and vice versa. 

By Kathryn Watson

Dershowitz begins his defense of President Trump

Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz began his argument against Mr. Trump's impeachment shortly before 8:00 p.m. Dershowitz is a controversial figure, as he has previously represented O.J. Simpson and Jeffrey Epstein.

Dershowitz, who voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016, argued that he would make the same argument if a Republican House was impeaching President Hillary Clinton on these impeachment articles. Dershowitz was an opponent of former President Bill Clinton's impeachment, although he did say in an interview with Larry King at the time that he didn't think a president needs to commit a crime in order to be impeached.

"I am here today because I love my country and our constitution," Dershowitz said.

By Grace Segers

Trump lawyer acknowledges it would have been "better" for Trump to use "proper channels" with Ukraine

Robert Ray, a member of the president's legal team, acknowledged that it would have been "better" for the president to go through the "proper channels" when trying to discuss any investigations with Ukraine. A claim Ray says he's personally made before.

Ray also notably said Mr. Trump's phone call with the Ukrainian president was "less than perfect." Ray's statement marks a noteworthy acknowledgement in the defense of a president who insists his call with Zelensky was indeed "perfect."

Ray is still making the argument that nothing the president did rises to the level of an impeachable offense. In doing so, Ray claimed a president should not be impeached purely based on "bad" or "ill" motives. Ray insisted a president's actions need to constitute illegal behaviors to be impeachable offenses. 

Ray served as independent counsel, succeeding Starr, during the Clinton-era Whitewater scandal. 

By Kathryn Watson

Bolton claim casts doubt on Trump's impeachment defense

An explosive claim from President Trump's former national security adviser has blindsided Senate Republicans. It's also thrown the president's hope for a quick end to his impeachment trial into doubt, as several GOP senators are considering voting to allow witnesses to testify. Republicans still have not ruled out trying to negotiate with Democrats to allow them to call witnesses of their own in exchange for allowing Bolton and other key Trump admin figures to testify. Nancy Cordes has the latest.  

Bolton claim casts doubt on Trump's impeachment defense 02:33
By Jordan Freiman

Senate reconvenes after brief dinner break

The Senate reconvened at 6:56 p.m., after a brief recess for dinner. Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz is expected to speak sometime soon.

By Grace Segers

Cruz: Hunter Biden would be "most important witness" for Senate

Speaking to reporters during the brief recess for dinner, Republican Senator Ted Cruz indicated that he had been convinced by the White House attorneys' argument that Hunter Biden had acted corruptly.

"In my view, additional witnesses are not necessary," Cruz said. "I think at a minimum the most important witness for the Senate to hear from is Hunter Biden."

However, Cruz said he didn't believe it was necessary to hear testimony from John Bolton.

Senator Mike Braun also said he had been convinced the Bidens had committed wrongdoing.

"That was the most powerful presentation on either side,"  Braun said.

By Grace Segers

Trial breaks for dinner

The trial has gone into recess for a 45-minute dinner break. After the break, the president's attorneys will resume their arguments. 

It's unclear if tonight will mark their final hours of presentations, or if arguments will run into Tuesday. 

By Grace Segers

Biden campaign reacts: "We didn't realize that Breitbart was expanding into Ted Talk knockoffs"

After Bondi questioned Hunter Biden's employment on Burisma's board, the Biden campaign fired back. Bondi suggested that Joe Biden, in pushing for the firing of a corrupt prosecutor, acted improperly. 

"We didn't realize that Breitbart was expanding into Ted Talk knockoffs," the Biden campaign said in a statement. "Here on Planet Earth, the conspiracy theory that Bondi repeated has been conclusively refuted. The New York Times calls it 'debunked,' The Wall Street Journal calls it 'discredited,' the AP calls it 'incorrect,' and The Washington Post Fact Checker calls [it] 'a fountain of falsehoods.'  The diplomat that Trump himself appointed to lead his Ukraine policy has blasted it as 'self serving' and 'not credible.' Joe Biden was instrumental to a bipartisan and international anti-corruption victory. It's no surprise that such a thing is anathema to President Trump." — Bo Erickson and Kathryn Watson


Herschmann continues to justify probe of Burisma and Hunter Biden

In the final presentation before the Senate recessed for dinner, Eric Herschmann, a private lawyer and member of the president's legal team, continued to take aim at Hunter Biden in an effort to demonstrate that Mr. Trump was right to seek investigations into him and Burisma.

"This is something that is undisputed, that Ukraine had a particularly bad corruption problem," Herschmann said. "It was so corrupt that dealing with corruption and solving the corruption was a priority for our U.S. foreign policy."

Herschmann, who himself served as vice chairman of a natural gas company, knocked Hunter Biden for lacking the experience to serve on the board of Burisma and questioned whether he had any knowledge of the natural gas industry.

"He did have one qualification: he was the son of the vice president of the United States," he said. "He was the son of the man in charge of the Ukrainian portfolio for the prior administration. And we are to believe there is nothing to see here, that for anyone to investigate or inquire about this would be a sham."

Herschmann also said the House managers have "not come close to meeting their burden" on impeachment and accused them of being hypocritical.

"Can you imagine what House manager Schiff and his fellow Democratic representatives would say if it was President Trump's children on an oligarch's payroll?" he asked.

Herschmann also sought to push back on House Democrats' argument that Mr. Trump raised the prospect of investigations after Joe Biden announced his bid for the White House.

A key driver of the president's push, he said, was Zelensky's election in April and his party's takeover of Ukraine's parliament in July, which made it an "opportune" time to raise the issue of rooting out corruption. Herschmann also cited an article from ABC News and an expose in The New Yorker magazine that focused on Hunter Biden and his business dealings.

Herschmann went on to accuse President Barack Obama of abusing his power and soliciting foreign interference in an election in 2012 when he asked then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to give him "space" on missile defense until after the presidential election, when he would have more "flexibility."

"Where were the House managers then?" he said.

By Melissa Quinn

Vice president's office claims Trump didn't discuss Bidens or Burisma with Pence

Marc Short, the chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence, insisted that at no time did he hear the president tie aid to Ukraine to investigations into the Bidens or Burisma. Pence's office rarely weighs in with its own statements, and Short's comments came in the middle of Bondi's arguments that Burisma was rife with corruption. 

"As matter of policy we don't typically share or discuss conversations between the president and vice president, but given the journalistic fury over alleged conversations, the president has given me permission to set the record straight," Short said. "In every conversation with the president and the vice president in preparation for our trip to Poland, the president consistently expressed his frustration that the United States was bearing the lion's share of responsibility for aid to Ukraine and that European nations weren't doing their part."

"The president also expressed concerns about corruption in Ukraine," Short continued. "At no time did I hear him tie aid to Ukraine to investigations into the Biden family or Burisma. As White House counsel presented today, based upon testimony provided by Democrat witnesses in the House hearings, these were the only issues that the vice president discussed with Ukrainian officials — because that's what the President asked him to raise."

By Kathryn Watson

Bondi says Trump was justified in pursuing investigations into Hunter Biden and Burisma

Former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi argued the real corruption was done by former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. Bondi said the president's legal team had no choice but to address the issue, since House managers dedicated time to preemptively defend the Bidens.

Bondi laid out a timeline dating back to the Obama administration about concerns over Hunter Biden's employment on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian gas company, while his father was vice president. 

There have been no credible allegations of wrongdoing on the part of the Bidens. Republicans have argued Joe Biden sought the firing of a Ukrainian prosecutor to protect Burisma, but the prosecutor was widely seen as corrupt and his ouster was the stated policy of the U.S. and other Western allies.

Bondi said that Hunter Biden's appointment to the Burisma board was "nepotistic at best, nefarious at worst." She referenced multiple media reports raising concerns about Hunter Biden's business activity and said the company hired him to influence his father.

Bondi argued that Mr. Trump only wanted an investigation into the Bidens in 2019 because he was concerned about corruption.

"Every witness who was asked about Hunter Biden agreed: there was a potential appearance of conflict of interest," Bondi said.

By Grace Segers

Philbin argues House impeachment probe was illegitimate

In his presentation, Patrick Philbin argued House Democrats failed to properly authorize the impeachment inquiry in the first place, and said the House set a dangerous precedent by impeaching the president for obstructing Congress.

"The impeachment inquiry was unauthorized and unconstitutional from the beginning," Philbin told senators. "No committee of the House has the power to launch an inquiry under the House's impeachment power unless the House itself has taken a vote to give that authority to a committee."

There is no constitutional provision requiring the House to formally open an impeachment inquiry. The House did eventually vote to formalize the inquiry weeks after the investigation got underway.

Philbin also argued the House denied the president due process throughout the probe, and faulted the House for impeaching the president for obstruction over the administration's refusal to comply with subpoenas.

Voting to convict the president for obstruction of Congress, Philbin argued, would fundamentally damage the separation of powers under the constitution by permanently altering the relationship between the executive and the legislative branches."

"House Democrats are trying to impeach the president for resisting legally defective demands for information by asserting established legal offenses and immunities based on legal advice from the department of justice's legal counsel," he said. "In essence, the approach here is the House Democrats are saying, 'When we demand documents, the executive branch must comply immediately.'"

By Stefan Becket

Trump lawyer Jane Raskin claims Giuliani was a "minor" player

Trump lawyer Jane Raskin, who was key in the behind-the-scenes legal work during the Mueller investigation, took the floor for the first time in the president's defense. But she didn't start out defending the president — she came to the defense of Rudy Giuliani, describing him as a "minor" player in the Ukraine saga.

Raskin suggested to senators that Giuliani, who she described as a national hero, did not have nearly as significant a role in the Ukraine scandal as the House managers have argued. Raskin said there's another possible motive for Giuliani's desire to investigate corruption — and it had nothing to do with the 2020 election, she claimed. 

Raskin said Giuliani "was not on a political errand." He was simply doing what good defense attorneys do — following a lead to defend his client against "false allegations" being investigated by Mueller. 

Giuliani himself has gone back and forth on whether he was acting as the president's attorney. In September, for instance, Giuliani told The Atlantic, "I'm not acting as a lawyer." But in an earlier letter requesting a meeting with Zelensky, Giuliani wrote that he was reaching out in his capacity as the president's "private counsel."

The president's ongoing professional relationship with Giuliani has perplexed members of the president's own party, given the former mayor's inconsistent statements in defending the president to reporters and on television.

"That's a relationship that causes some of us to sort of scratch our heads," Republican Senator John Cornyn said of the president's relationship with Giuliani on "Face the Nation" earlier this month. 

By Kathryn Watson

Schumer: White House lawyers making case for documents and witnesses

Speaking to reporters during a brief recess in the impeachment trial, Schumer said Mr. Trump's lawyers "keep making the case for witnesses and documents."

Schumer said comments from Starr emphasizing that the Senate is sitting as a court bolster the argument in favor of additional testimony and documents.

"Whoever heard of a court proceeding without witness and documents? Whoever heard of a trial without witnesses and documents?" he said. "If we are a court, all the more reason we have to hear the evidence."

Schumer also refuted comments from Sekulow who said not a single witness in the House's impeachment inquiry testified they heard from the president himself. Purpura echoed Sekulow's argument, claiming during his presentation that no witnesses in the House's record provided first-hand evidence Mr. Trump linked a White House meeting for Zelensky with the military aid.

Bolton, however, reportedly details in an unpublished manuscript an August conversation with Mr. Trump, during which the president tied the assistance to investigations into his political rivals.

"We want Bolton. We want Mulvaney. They heard from the president himself," Schumer said. "We can solve Mr. Sekulow's problem of not having witnesses who heard from the president himself by having Bolton, by having Mulvaney, by having [Robert] Blair and by having [Michael] Duffey and the documents underneath what they said."

By Melissa Quinn

White House lawyers sidestep Bolton revelations

White House lawyers have avoided addressing the report that Bolton said he spoke with Mr. Trump about withholding aid to Ukraine, choosing instead to stick to arguments undermining the House managers' credibility.

Jay Sekulow, Mr. Trump's personal attorney, said in the beginning of his remarks that the White House legal team would not address "speculation."

"We deal with transcript evidence. We deal with publicly available information. We do not deal with speculation, allegations that are not based on evidentiary standards at all," Sekulow said.

By Grace Segers

Klobuchar: Watching Trump arguments like "living in an alternative universe"

By Stefan Becket

White House lawyer argues Trump was justified in delaying aid

Michael Purpura, a deputy White House counsel, argued the president was justifiably skeptical of Ukraine's commitment to fighting corruption and ordered the delay in military aid until those concerns were addressed. 

He also faulted the House for not producing any evidence or witnesses who directly implicated the president in the Ukraine scheme, sidestepping the potential for Bolton to do exactly that.

"Not a single witness in the House record ... provided any firsthand evidence that the president ever linked a presidential meeting to any investigations," Purpura said.

By Stefan Becket

Bolton camp: "Absolutely no coordination" with New York Times

In a joint statement, Bolton, publisher Simon & Schuster and literary agency Javelin Literary denied leaking Bolton's unpublished manuscript to The New York Times and rejected accusations the report was intended to gin up publicity.

"Ambassador John Bolton, Simon & Schuster, and Javelin Literary categorically state that there was absolutely no coordination with the New York Times or anyone else regarding the appearance of information about his book, THE ROOM WHERE IT HAPPENED, at online booksellers," the three said in a joint statement. "Any assertion to the contrary is unfounded speculation."

Mulvaney's attorney claimed in a statement earlier Monday that the story was coordinated with the book's launch, while White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham told Fox News in an interview the timing of the bombshell report was "very, very suspect."

The title and release date of Bolton's book were revealed Sunday by Simon & Schuster, shortly after The Times published its story on the manuscript. The Times story did not say the paper had obtained an actual copy of the draft, and instead cited "multiple people" who described its contents.

Simon & Schuster is a subsidiary of ViacomCBS.

By Melissa Quinn

Kenneth Starr: "Like war, impeachment is hell"

Kenneth Starr, the independent counsel whose investigation into President Clinton produced the famous Starr Report and ultimately led to Clinton's impeachment, compared the constitutional provision to war, arguing the process has been weaponized in a way that's inconsistent with the Founders' intentions.

"Like war, impeachment is hell, or at least presidential impeachment is hell," Starr said.

Starr is an interesting choice for the president's legal team, given his role in the push for Clinton's impeachment, which Democrats denounced as a politically motivated prosecution of the president for lying about sex. The former independent counsel attempted to argue that Americans are living in an "age of impeachment." 

"In the House, resolution after resolution, month after month has called for the president's impeachment. How did we get here, with presidential impeachment involved frequently?" he said.

"It is filled with acrimony and it divides the country like nothing else. Those of us who lived through the Clinton impeachment understand that in a deep and personal way," Starr said.

The constitutional tool, Starr claimed, has become far too common in the modern era. Starr declared impeachment inherently "destabilizing."

Starr argued Americans acquired an "impeachment habit" in the latter half of the 20th century, while other nations moved to make impeachment an "obsolete" punitive tool.

By Kathryn Watson

Trial resumes with Trump legal team continuing opening arguments

After giving what they described as a preview of their arguments on Saturday, the president's legal team kicked off opening arguments just after 1 p.m. Monday. 

One big unknown at the moment is whether the president's team will address Bolton's allegations or ignore them. 

But before top Trump personal attorney Jay Sekulow began his remarks, McConnell acknowledged Chief Justice John Roberts' 65th birthday.

"I'm sure this is exactly how you planned to celebrate today," McConnell said. 

By Kathryn Watson

Mulvaney's attorney disputes Bolton revelations

Bob Driscoll, Mulvaney's lawyer, pushed back on details of The New York Times report.

"The latest story from the New York Times, coordinated with a book launch, has more to do with publicity than the truth," Driscoll said in a statement.

Driscoll rebuffed Bolton's key claim in the manuscript, as reported by The Times, that he had an August conversation with Mr. Trump during which the president said he wanted to continue withholding the nearly $400 million in military assistance to Ukraine.

Bolton never told Mulvaney of concerns surrounding the August discussion, Driscoll said, and Mulvaney never had a conversation with Mr. Trump or anyone else suggesting the aid was frozen in exchange for investigations into Burisma, the Bidens, or the unsubstantiated theory that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election.

Driscoll also said Mulvaney "has no recollection of any conversation" with Giuliani as described in The Times story. According to the report, Bolton wrote that Mulvaney witnessed at least one phone call between Mr. Trump and Giuliani where the two discussed former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.

"It was Mr. Mulvaney's practice to excuse himself from conversations between the president and his personal counsel to preserve any attorney-client privilege," Driscoll said.

By Melissa Quinn

White House would assert executive privilege over Bolton testimony, official says

A senior administration official tells CBS News the White House would look to assert executive privilege if Bolton is called to testify, reiterating the White House's long-standing position.

The official said the president's legal team does not believe in any way that the president waived executive privilege with his tweet denying discussions with Bolton. The legal team has said the assertion of executive privilege is up to the White House and will be exercised according to the law. Nothing about the law, this person said, is undermined or compromised by a tweet. 

But as far as political arguments go, the official said the situation remains fluid and the atmosphere around the vote on additional witnesses or documents remains "tough."

By Major Garrett

Schiff says a "meaningful" trial isn't possible without Bolton

Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and an impeachment manager, told reporters before the start of Monday's proceedings that the purported details in Bolton's unpublished manuscript make it "all the more clear" his testimony is crucial to ensuring a fair trial.

"The senators should not turn away from this very relevant evidence," Schiff said.

The California Democrat urged senators not to wait until Bolton's book is published in mid-March to learn of its contents and said they should vote to hear additional testimony.

"It makes it all the more clear why you can't have a trial, a meaningful trial, without witnesses, and you certainly can't have one without John Bolton," Schiff said of the revelations in Bolton's manuscript.

By Melissa Quinn

Graham says he wants to see Bolton manuscript

Senator Lindsey Graham, one of the president's closest allies, said he wants to see what's in Bolton's manuscript before making decisions on whether to call witnesses. He also said the president's defense team would call their own witnesses if Bolton testifies.

"I want to know what's in the manuscript," Graham said. "Let's see if it's relevant and if it is, then I'll make a decision about Bolton. But I promise you this: if we add to the record, we're going to call Hunter Biden, Joe Biden. All these other people."

Graham added that the Senate should "evaluate the manuscript and see if it's a reason to add to the record." — Alan He


Braun and Barrasso argue Bolton story "doesn't change anything"

Republican Senator Mike Braun argued the new information about Bolton's book "doesn't change anything" in terms of process.

"I think what it's done is taken an already hot topic and added some fuel to the fire," Braun said in a press conference.

Barrasso said that The Times story was based on "selective leaks."

"To me, the facts of the case remain the same," Barrasso said. He also compared the trial to the confirmation hearings of now Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who was accused of sexual misconduct. Barrasso and Braun also argued Democrats are trying to undermine Mr. Trump ahead of the 2020 election.

Braun also said that if Bolton is called as a witness, then Republicans would call requested witnesses too, implicitly referring to Joe and Hunter Biden.

The press conference with Republicans was initially canceled, and was then rescheduled with only Braun and Barrasso in attendance.

By Grace Segers

Trump says he hasn't seen Bolton manuscript but calls allegations "false"

Addressing reporters while welcoming Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu to the White House, Mr. Trump said he hasn't seen the manuscript of Bolton's book, but insisted Bolton's claims — namely that the president said he wanted to withhold military aid until Ukraine produced investigations into the Bidens — are "false." 

Bolton's book manuscript was submitted to the National Security Council for pre-publication review, according to an NSC spokesperson. That spokesperson said the manuscript had not been distributed outside the NSC within the White House.

By Kathryn Watson

Schumer says White House orchestrating a "giant cover-up"

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer spoke to reporters ahead of the sixth day of the impeachment trial, calling revelations about Bolton's book "stunning."

"It goes right to the heart of the charges against the president," Schumer said. "Ambassador John Bolton essentially confirms that the president committed the offenses charged in the first article of impeachment."

He said Bolton's reported account represents the kind of firsthand evidence of Mr. Trump's potential wrongdoing that Republicans have criticized Democrats for lacking.

"We have a witness with firsthand evidence for the president's actions for which he is on trial," Schumer continued. "How can Senate Republicans not vote to request that witness?"

Schumer also called the manuscript "further evidence that a large number of people were 'in the loop' of this scheme" to withhold aid from Ukraine.

"There seems to be a giant cover-up among so many of the leading people in the White House," Schumer said. "We're all staring a White House cover-up in the face."

Schumer addressed concerns that Mr. Trump may claim executive privilege to prevent Bolton from testifying.

"We want the truth. So do the American people," Schumer said. "No matter what the White House says, they can't get in the way of that."

Schumer argued that acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, who ordered the delay in military aid, is an even more important witness to call than Bolton.

By Grace Segers

Collins says Bolton revelations "strengthen the case for witnesses"

Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine, one of the pivotal senators in the potential vote to call witnesses, released a statement saying the revelations about Bolton's book bolsters the case for allowing new testimony.

"I've always said that I was likely to vote to call witnesses, just as I did in the 1999 Clinton trial," Collins said in a statement posted on Twitter. "The reports about John Bolton's book strengthen the case for witnesses and have prompted a number of conversations among my colleagues."

By Grace Segers

Nadler to miss part of impeachment trial

Jerry Nadler, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and one of the seven impeachment managers, will be absent from some of Monday's proceedings, he said Sunday.

Nadler said his wife was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in December and has since undergone surgery. He will be in New York on Monday with her "to meet with doctors, determine a path forward, and begin her treatment," Nadler said.

"I am sorry to miss some of the Senate impeachment trial, which is of critical importance to our democracy," the New York Democrat added.

Nadler said he intends to return to Washington late Monday. The Senate will convene at 1 p.m. to hear opening arguments from Mr. Trump's lawyers. It's unclear how long Monday's session will last.

By Melissa Quinn

Romney: "Increasingly likely" other GOP senators will support calling Bolton

Senator Mitt Romney speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill on Monday, January 27, 2020. CBS News

Republican Senator Mitt Romney of Utah said he believes it's "increasingly likely" more GOP senators will join him and others in calling for Bolton to testify in the Senate trial, following the bombshell details from his unpublished manuscript revealed by The New York Times on Sunday.

"I think at this stage I think it's pretty fair to say that John Bolton has relevant testimony to provide to those of us who are sitting in impartial justice," he told reporters, adding Bolton's "relevance to our decision has become increasingly clear."

Four Republicans would need to join their Democratic counterparts in voting in favor of calling Bolton to testify in the trial. While Romney said he believes other Republicans will be on board with voting to hear from the president's former national security adviser, he said it's "another matter" whether other witnesses will be called.

Schumer, a Democrat from New York, has been leading the push for four White House officials, including Bolton, to testify. — Melissa Quinn and Alan He


Republican senators abruptly cancel press conference

Republican senators have canceled a planned press conference with no explanation, as news of Bolton's manuscript reverberates through the Capitol. 

Republican Senators Lindsey Graham, Mike Braun, Mike Lee, James Lankford and John Barasso were expected to take reporters' questions. 

Democrats will be holding their own press conference at 11 a.m., where they will likely address the new developments.

Update, 10:35 a.m.: At least two of the senators now say they'll speak to reporters. Braun and Barrasso said they will hold the press conference after all.

By Kathryn Watson

Chief justice will spend birthday presiding over impeachment trial

Senate Impeachment Trial Of President Donald Trump Continues
Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts presides over impeachment proceedings against President Trump on January 24, 2020. Senate TV

Chief Justice John Roberts will mark his 65th trip around the sun by presiding over the sixth day of the impeachment trial.

The Senate is set to convene at 1 p.m. and members will continue to hear opening arguments from Mr. Trump's legal team, which provided a preview of its defense of the president Saturday.

Roberts is spending the morning of his birthday, meanwhile, across the street from the Capitol at the Supreme Court, where the justices convened at 10 a.m. for a non-argument public session.

By Melissa Quinn

National Security Council defends handling of Bolton manuscript

A spokesman for the National Security Council (NSC) is "under initial review" and hasn't been shared with any non-NSC officials in the White House.

"Ambassador Bolton's manuscript was submitted to the NSC for pre-publication review and has been under initial review by the NSC," spokesman John Ullyot said. "No White House personnel outside NSC have reviewed the manuscript."

By Stefan Becket

Grisham says timing of Bolton news "is very, very suspect"

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham raised questions about the circumstances behind news of Bolton's unpublished manuscript.

"The timing of all of this is very, very suspect," she said during an interview Monday with Fox News.

Grisham noted the details from Bolton's manuscript were revealed the day after Mr. Trump's legal team began their opening arguments Saturday. Grisham claimed the defense "undid all of the hours and hours" of arguments presented by the House managers last week detailing why they believe the Senate should remove Mr. Trump from office.

"The book ordering online pre-order link popped up a couple hours after all of this hit," Grisham said. "You know, it's sad, but I think the timing is very suspect."

Bolton's book, "The Room Where It Happened," is set to hit shelves March 17. Charles Cooper, his lawyer, said it was clear from the article published by The Times that "the prepublication review process has been corrupted and that information has been disclosed by persons other than those properly involved in reviewing the manuscript."

By Melissa Quinn

Trump denies telling Bolton aid was tied to investigations

John Bolton says Trump tied Ukraine aid to Biden investigation 02:14

The president denied Bolton's accusations in a series of late-night tweets, claiming he never told Bolton about a connection between the aid and 

"I NEVER told John Bolton that the aid to Ukraine was tied to investigations into Democrats, including the Bidens. In fact, he never complained about this at the time of his very public termination," the president wrote. "If John Bolton said this, it was only to sell a book."

By Stefan Becket

Schumer accuses White House of "massive cover-up"

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer accused the White House of orchestrating a "massive cover-up" and called on four Republicans to join Democrats to support calling new witnesses in the Senate trial.

"The @NYTimes report suggests multiple top Trump Admin officials knew the facts and deliberately misled Congress and the American people," Schumer tweeted. "A massive White House cover-up. All we need is four Republican Senators to get the truth."

Schumer has demanded Bolton's testimony in the Senate trial for weeks, and led an unsuccessful effort on the first day of the trial to issue subpoenas for evidence and testimony from Bolton and other administration officials.

By Stefan Becket

Bolton's lawyer blames White House for "corrupted" review process

Hours after The Times reported the details of Bolton's manuscript, his attorney implied the White House of being the source of the revelations.

"It is clear, regrettably, from The New York Times article published today that the prepublication review process has been corrupted and that information has been disclosed by persons other than those properly involved in reviewing the manuscript," attorney Charles Cooper said in a statement. 

Cooper released a letter dated December 30, 2019, to a White House official regarding prepublication review of the manuscript. Cooper wrote that Bolton "carefully sought to avoid any discussion in the manuscript" of classified information, and asked the White House to expedite the review process given the "highly time sensitive" publication schedule. 

Cooper noted in the letter his client's expectation that access to the manuscript would be "restricted to those career government officials and employees regularly charged with responsibility for such reviews."

By Stefan Becket
View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.