The latest on President Trump's impeachment

By Veronica Rocha, Meg Wagner and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 8:48 PM ET, Mon January 6, 2020
19 Posts
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6:33 p.m. ET, January 6, 2020

Republican senator says Bolton "seems awfully anxious to testify"

From CNN's Jeff Zeleny 

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Sen. John Kennedy, a Republican from Louisiana, suggested he was suspicious of John Bolton’s letter today, volunteering to testify under subpoena.

“He just seems awfully anxious to testify,” Kennedy told reporters.

The senator added that “most rational people would want to avoid getting pulled into the middle of this sequel to Pulp Fiction.”

As he went to an evening vote on the Senate floor, Kennedy repeated his suspicions about Bolton’s timing. But he offered no evidence or explanation for his suspicions.

He said he didn’t expect Bolton would ever testify, even if enough votes turned up to subpoena him.

“I fully expect President Trump ... to claim executive privilege,” Kennedy said. “So we're right back to square one.”

6:34 p.m. ET, January 6, 2020

What senators are saying about Bolton's announcement

From CNN's Jeff Zeleny and Ted Barrett 

Senators are reacting today to former national security adviser John Bolton's announcement that he's willing to testify in the Senate impeachment trial if he's subpoenaed.

Here's what they said:

  • Democratic Sen. Chris Coons: “If you're not interested in hearing from national security adviser Bolton, you are not interested in getting to the bottom of what actually happened. So my hope is that on a bipartisan basis, we will welcome this late but important testimony.”
  • Republican Sen. John Thune: “If it was supposed to be, I think they would have done it in the House. To me, they could have subpoenaed him. They didn’t. Seems to be the record the Senate is being asked to pass judgment on is the record the House put together in the articles. And that’s what I think this exercise in the Senate ought to be about."
  • Republican Sen. Susan Collins: "There are a number of witnesses that may well be appropriate for the Stage 3 of which he would certainly be one. Of course it’s always possible that the President would exert executive privilege to try to block that testimony. We just don’t know what would happen. But it’s very difficult to decide that until we go through the first two stages and look at all of the witnesses that each side would like to have if we get to that stage."
  • Republican Sen. Martha McSally on a subpoena for Bolton: “We will work through it."
  • Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said he does not want Bolton to testify. He added, "No, I'm ready to go. If they wanted to call Bolton, they should have called Bolton." 
5:36 p.m. ET, January 6, 2020

Podcast: John Bolton has something to say on impeachment

John Bolton shocked the world today.

The former national security adviser, who reportedly described the Trump administration’s efforts to pressure Ukraine as a "drug deal," announced that he was willing to testify at the upcoming Senate trial if he’s subpoenaed.

CNN political director David Chalian dives into the latest headlines with CNN senior writer Zach Wolf and CNN political commentator Alice Stewart in today's episode of "The Daily DC: Impeachment Watch" podcast.

Listen here.

5:31 p.m. ET, January 6, 2020

Schiff on possible Bolton subpoena: "We are not taking anything off the table"

From CNN's Manu Raju

Rep. Adam Schiff, the chairman of House Intelligence Committee, was asked today if he would subpoena former national security adviser John Bolton to come before his committee.

Here's what he said:

“We continue our investigation in the House so we aren’t taking anything off the table. But it really makes sense for Bolton to testify before the Senate," he told CNN. "The senators ought to hear first hand from this key witness. There’s no reason why Mitch McConnell should prohibit that from happening unless he wants to simply cover up the President’s misconduct — likewise for Mick Mulvaney and the other witnesses we have requested. We should start frankly by getting Ambassador Bolton’s notes and other key documents."

Asked if he had any word on when the articles of impeachment will he sent over, Schiff said, “I don’t have anything on that.”

More on this: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has yet to formally send the two impeachment articles to the Senate after the House passed them last month.

Until the House formally sends the articles, McConnell has said the trial will not start.

4:39 p.m. ET, January 6, 2020

Schumer says there will be votes on witnesses

From CNN's Clare Foran

Senate TV
Senate TV

In remarks on the Senate floor, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said that if any Republican senator is not in favor of subpoenaing the four witnesses Democrats have called for, including John Bolton, they would make it clear “they are participating in a cover up.” 

“A few hours ago, the momentum for uncovering the truth in the Senate gathered even more momentum," Schumer said. "One of the key witnesses I’ve asked for Mr. John Bolton, former national security adviser to President Trump, correctly acknowledged that he needs to comply with a senate subpoena for testimony if issued.”  

“Today he made it perfectly clear that he’ll come if the Senate asks, as he should,” Schumer said, adding, “If any Senate Republican opposes issuing subpoenas to the four witnesses and documents we’ve requested they would make it absolutely clear they are participating in a cover up in one of the most sacred duties we have in this congress, in this senate, and that is to keep a president in check.”

Schumer also said, “Make no mistake there will be votes on whether to call each of the four witnesses we proposed and subpoena the documents we identified. Under the rules of the senate trial the minority will be able to offer motions subject to a majority vote.” 

“My colleagues on the other side of the aisle, your constituents and the voice of history is watching,” Schumer said.

4:29 p.m. ET, January 6, 2020

Romney says "of course" he’d like to hear testimony from Bolton

From CNN's Manu Raju

Sen. Mitt Romney, a Republican from Utah, told CNN “of course” he would like to hear from President Trump's former national security adviser John Bolton.

“I’d like to hear what he has to say," Romney said.

Asked if he would vote to subpoena Bolton, Romney stopped short and said he first would want to know what the process is. But he added that he would like to hear from Bolton, who announced earlier today that he would be willing to testify in the Senate impeachment trial if subpoenaed.

4:21 p.m. ET, January 6, 2020

Schumer: "McConnell's view is 'Alice in Wonderland' — first the trial, then the evidence"

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer criticized a suggestion from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that the Senate should begin the impeachment trial now, and consider procedural questions later.

"McConnell's view is 'Alice in Wonderland' — first the trial, then the evidence," Schumer said on the Senate floor today.

Schumer said that evidence should inform the trial, not the other way around.

The back and forth between the two leaders from each party followed a statement earlier today from John Bolton in which the former national security adviser said he would be willing to testify at a Senate impeachment trial if subpoenaed.

Schumer also called on President Trump "join us in asking for the witnesses to come forward."

Schumer added that any "acquittal will not carry much weight" if Trump and McConnell continue to oppose allowing witnesses and documents to be presented in a trial.

Watch more:

4:11 p.m. ET, January 6, 2020

McConnell: Let's start the trial now, and discuss witnesses later

Senate TV
Senate TV

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Senate should begin the impeachment trial now, and consider procedural questions, like whether to have witnesses at trial, later.

The House has not yet sent over the articles of impeachment it approved last month to the Senate. Democrats have demanded for witnesses, which created a stalemate over the looming trial.

Today, McConnell pointed to the 1999 impeachment trial of Bill Clinton, saying senators began the trial with only "basic parameters" and left the question of witnesses until later.

"The Senate has a unanimous bipartisan precedent for when to handle mid-trial questions such as witnesses," he said. "In 1999, every US senator agreed establish basic parameters for the start of the trial up front, and reserve mid-trial questions — such as witnesses — until later. The vote was 100 to nothing. That was good enough for President Clinton. So it out ought to be good now President Trump. Fair is fair.


3:24 p.m. ET, January 6, 2020

Trump on dealing with impeachment amid Iran crisis: "It's so sad for our country"

From CNN's Allie Malloy

President Trump criticized impeachment in an interview with Rush Limbaugh today, saying that while his administration deals with Iran he has to “spend time on this stuff.'

“It’s so sad for our country,” Trump told Limbaugh. "We’re fighting with Iran, we’re fighting will all of these different places, and in many cases doing great, making trade deals and doing so good- but I have to spend, and my team has to spend time on this stuff.”

Asked what he thought was behind Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision to withhold sending the articles of impeachment, Trump responded, “Well — I think what they’re trying to do is effect the election, illegally but that’s what they’re trying to do. The reason they’re not sending them is because they’re — they are a joke. They are not crimes. There’s nothing there.”

Trump continued to slam impeachment, saying, “This was not what they had in mind. As they call them, the Founders, right? They keep saying the founders, founders. But the founders didn’t have this in mind?” Trump laughed, adding “I’ve never heard the word founders so much in my life.”

“I think they’ve lost their minds if you want to know the truth,” … nobody’s ever seen anything like it,” Trump added.

“Even the impeachment hoax, you take a look at that, and they have nothing. They have nothing. With one of the biggest investigations in history they found nothing. Think of it.,” Trump said.  

At one point during the interview, Trump remarked, “Even I was very impressed with how clean I am, Rush.” To which Limbaugh replied, “You may be cleaner than any previous president that we can think of.”