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Legal Teams Debate Ahead of Critical Vote on Witnesses. NYT: Bolton Says Trump Directed Him in Early May to Pressure Ukraine for Info on Democrats; Trump Denies. Sen. Murkowski to Vote "No" on Witnesses; GOP Likely Has Enough Votes to Block Witnesses. Aired 1:30- 2p ET

Aired January 31, 2020 - 13:30   ET


REP. VAL DEMINGS (D-FL): The House Republicans own expert witness in the House, Professor Turley, said if you could prove the president used our military aid to pressure Ukraine to investigate a political rival and interfere in our elections, it would be an impeachable abuse of power.


And Senator Graham, too, recognized that if such evidence existed, it could potentially change his mind on impeachment. Well we now have another witness, a fact witness, who would reportedly say exactly that.

Ambassador Bolton's new manuscript, which we will discuss in more detail in a moment, reportedly confirms that the president told him, in no uncertain terms -- we're talking about the former national security advisor saying the president told him in no uncertain terms no aid until investigations, including the Bidens.

For a week and a half, the president has said no such evidence exists. They are wrong but if you have any doubt about the evidence -- if you have any doubt about the evidence, the evidence is at your fingertips. The question is will you let all of us, including the American people, hear -- simply hear -- the evidence and make up their own minds? And you can make up your own minds, but will we let the American people hear all of the evidence?

You'll recall that Ambassador Bolton, the president's former national security advisor, is one of the witnesses we asked for last Tuesday. We did not know at the time what he'd say. We didn't know what kind of witness that he would be, but Ambassador Bolton made clear that he was wiling to testify and that he had relevant, firsthand knowledge that hadn't yet been heard.

We urged, we argued that we all deserve to hear that evidence, but the president opposed him. Now we know why: because John Bolton could corroborate the rest of our evidence and confirm the president's guilt.

So today -- today, Senators, we come before you and we urge, we argue again that you let this witness and the other key witnesses we have identified come forward so you have all of the information available to you when you make this consequential decision.

If witnesses are not called here, these proceedings will be a trial in name only. And the American people clearly know a fair trial when they see one.

Large majorities of the American people want to hear from witnesses in this trial, and they have a right to hear from witnesses in this trial. Let's hear from them. Let's look them in the eye, gauge their credibility, and hear what they have to say about the president's actions.

For the same reasons, this body should grant our request to subpoena documents, the documents that the president also blocked the House from obtaining, documents from the White House, the State Department, DOD and OMB that will complete the story and provide the whole truth, whatever they may be.

We ask that you subpoena these documents so that you can decide for yourself. If you have any doubt as to what occurred, let's look at this additional evidence.

To be clear, we're not asking you to track down every single document or to call every possible witness. We have carefully identified only four key witnesses with direct knowledge who can speak to the specific issues that the president has disputed. And we targeted key documents which we understand have already been collected, for example, at the State Department. They've already been collected.

This will not cause a substantial delay. As I made clear last night, these matters can be addressed in a single week. As we made clear last night, these matters can be addressed in a single week.

We know that from President Clinton's case. There the Senate voted to approve a motion for witnesses on January 27th. The next day, it establish procedures for those depositions and adjourned as a court of impeachment until February 4th.


In that brief period, the parties took three depositions. The Senate then resumed its proceedings by voting to accept the deposition testimony into the record.

In this trial, too, let's do the same. We should take a brief one-week break for witness testimony and document collection during which time the Senate can return to its normal business.

The trial should not be allowed to be different from each -- from every other impeachment trial or any other kind of trial simply because the president doesn't want us to know the truth.

The American people, the American people that we all represent, the American people that we all love and care about deserve to know the truth. And a fair trial requires that. This is too important of a decision to be made without all of the relevant evidence.

Before turning to the specific need for these witnesses and documents, I want to make clear we are not asking you again to break new ground. We're asking quite the opposite: We're asking you to simply follow the Senate's unbroken precedents and to do so in a manner that allows you to continue the Senate's ordinary business.

The Senate, sitting as a court of impeachment, has heard witness testimony and every other -- as we've said earlier, in every other 15 impeachment trials in the history of the republic. And in fact, these trials have had an average of 33 witnesses. And the Senate has repeatedly subpoenaed and received new documents while adjudicating cases of impeachment. That makes sense.

Under our Constitution, the Senate does not just vote on impeachments, it does not just debate them. Instead, the Senate is commanded by the Constitution to try all pieces of impeachment.

Well, a trial requires witnesses. A trial requires documents. This is the American way and this is the American story.

If the Senate denies our motions, it would be the only time in history it has rendered a judgment on articles of impeachment without hearing from a single witness or receiving a single relevant document from the president whose conduct is on trial.

And why -- why can we justify -- how can we justify this break from precedents? How would we testify -- for what reason would we break precedent in these proceedings?

There are many compelling reasons beyond precedent that demand subpoenas for witnesses and cases and documents in this case.

And at this time I yield to Manager Garcia.

REP. SYLVIA GARCIA (D-TX): Mr. Chief Justice, president's counsel, Senators, last week I shared with you that I was reflecting on my first days at a school for baby judges. You all may recall that.

And I mentioned to you that one of the first things they told us was that we had to be good listeners and be patient. And you, as judges in this trial, have certainly passed the test. Thank you for being good listeners and for being patient with us. It's been quite a long journey.

But we're here today to talk about the other thing they told us in baby judge school and that was that we had to give all the parties in front us a fair hearing, an opportunity to be heard, an opportunity to cross-examine witnesses, an opportunity to bring evidence.

And that's what I want to talk to you about today because in terms fundamental fairness, subpoenas by the Senate in this trial would mitigate the damage caused by the president's wholesale obstruction of the House inquiry.

[13:40:07] The president claims that there is no direct evidence of his wrongdoing, despite direct evidence to the contrary and Ambassador Bolton's offer to testify to even more evidence in a trial.

But let's not forget that the president is arguing that there is no direct evidence while blocking all of us from getting that direct evidence. It's a remarkable position that they have taken. Quite frankly, never, as a lawyer or a formal judge, have I ever seen anything like this.

And for the first time, in our history, President Trump ordered his entire administration -- his entire administration -- to defy every single impeachment subpoena.

The Trump administration has not produced a single document in response to the congressional subpoenas. Not a single page, nada. That's never happened before. There is not legal privilege to justify the blanket blocking of all these documents.

We know that there are more relevant documents. There is no dispute about that. It is uncontested. Witnesses have testified in exceptional detail about these documents that exist that the president is simply hiding.

President Trump's blanket order prohibiting the entire executive branch from participating in an (ph) impeachment investigation also extended to witnesses. Twelve in all followed that order and refused to testify.

Much of the critical evidence we have is a result of career officials bravely coming forward despite the president's obstruction. But those closest to the president -- some may say like in the musical Hamilton -- those in the room when it happened followed his instruction.

The president does not dispute that these (ph) witnesses have information that is relevant to this trial. That these individuals have personal and direct knowledge of the president's actions and motivations and can provide the very evidence he says, now, that we don't have.

Now, the president's counsel alleged the House managers hid evidence from you.


PAT CIPOLLONE, WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: Because, as House managers, really their goal should be to give you all of the facts because they're asking you to do something very, very consequential.

And ask yourself -- ask yourself: Given the facts you heard today that they didn't tell you, who doesn't want to talk about the facts? Who doesn't want to talk about the facts?

Impeachment shouldn't be a shell game. They should give you the facts.

(END VIDEO CLIP) GARCIA: This is nice rhetoric, but it's simply incorrect. The president's counsel cherry picked misleading bits of evidence, cited deposition (ph) transcripts of witnesses who subsequently corrected their testimony in public hearings and said the opposite and in some cases simply left out the second half of witness statements.

That's (ph) -- the House managers accurately presented the relevant evidence to you. We spent about 20 hours presenting the facts and the evidence, the president's counsel spent four hours focusing on the facts and the evidence. And that evidence shows that the president is guilty.

But to the extent certain facts were shown to you, let's be very clear, we are not the ones hiding the facts. The House managers did not hide that evidence. President Trump hid the evidence. And that's why we are the ones standing up here asking you to not let the president silent (ph) these witnesses and hide these documents.

We don't know precisely what the witnesses will say or what the documents will show, but we all deserve to hear the truth and, more importantly, the American people deserve to hear the truth.

Never before has a president been -- put himself above the law and hid the facts of his offenses from the American people like this one. We cannot let this president be different; quite simply, the stakes are too high.


Second, as this builds on what we have been arguing, the Senate requires and should want a complete evidentiary record before you vote on the most sacred task that the Constitution entrusts in every single one of you.

I can respect that some of you have deep beliefs that the removal of this president would be divisive. Others, you may believe that allowing this president to remain in the Oval Office would be catastrophic to our republic and our democracy.

But regardless of where you are -- or regardless of where you land on this spectrum, you should want a full and complete record before you make a final decision and to understand the full story. It should not be about party affiliation. It should be about seeing all the evidence and voting your conscience based on all the relevant facts. It should be about doing impartial justice.

Consider the harm done to our institutions, our constitutional order, and the public faith in our democracy if the Senate chooses to close its eyes to learning the full truth about the president's misconduct. How can the American people have confidence in the result of a trial without witnesses?

Third, the president should want a fair trial. He has repeatedly said that publicly, that he wants a trial on the merits. He specifically said it, you saw a clip. That he wanted a fair trial in the Senate and that would have to be with witnesses that testify, including John Bolton and Mick Mulvaney. He said that he wants a complete and total exoneration.

Well, whatever you say about this trial, there cannot be a total -- a -- an exoneration without hearing from those witnesses because an acquittal on an incomplete record after a trial lacking witnesses and evidence will be no exoneration. It will be no vindication, not for the president, not for this chamber and not for the American people.

And if the president is telling the truth and he did nothing wrong and the evidence would prove that, then we all know that he would be an enthusiastic supporter of subpoenas. He would be here, probably, himself, if he could you, urging you to do subpoenas if he had information that would prove he was totally not -- in -- not in the wrong. If he is innocent, he should have nothing to hide.

His counsel should be the ones here asking today to subpoena Bolton and Mulvaney and others for testimony. The president would be eager to have the people closest to him to testify about his innocence.

He would be eager to present the documents that show he was concerned about corruption and burden sharing. But the fact that he has so strenuously opposed the testimony of his closest advisors and all the documents speaks volumes.

You should issue subpoenas to the president so that the president can get the fair trial that he wanted, but more importantly, so the American people can get the fair trial that they deserve. The American people deserve a fair trial.

I said at the onset of this trial that one of the most important decisions you would make at this moment in history will not be whether you convict or acquit, but whether the president and the American people will get a fair trial. The process is more than just the ultimate decision because the faith in our institution depends on the perception of a fair process. A vote against witnesses and documents under -- undermines that faith.

Senators, the American people want a fair trial. The overwhelming majority of Americans, three in four voters, three and four as of this past Tuesday, believe that this trial should have witnesses.

Now, there's not much that the American people agree on these days, but they do agree on that, and they know what a fair trial is. That involves witnesses and it involves evidence.


The American people deserve to know the facts about their president's conduct and those around him, and they deserve to have confidence in this process, confidence that you made the right decision.

In order to have that confidence the Senate must call relevant witnesses and obtain relevant documents withheld thus far by this president. The American people deserve a fair trial.

I now yield to my colleague, Manager (inaudible). REP. JASON CROW (D-CO): Mr. Chief Justice, members of the Senate, counsel for the president, last week the House managers argued for the testimony of four witnesses: Ambassador John Bolton, Mick Mulvaney, Robert Blair and Michael Duffey.

And during the presentations from both parties it has become abundantly clear why the direct testimony from those witnesses is so critical, and new evidence continues to underscore that importance.

So let's start with John Bolton. The president's counsel has repeatedly stated that the president didn't personally tell any of our witnesses that he linked the military aid to the investigations. There was simply no evidence anywhere that President Trump ever linked security assistance to any investigations.

Most of the Democrats' witnesses have never spoken to the president at all, let alone about Ukraine security assistance. Not a single witness testified that the president himself said that there was any connection between any investigations and security assistance, a presidential meeting or anything else.

It's simply not true, as the testimony of Ambassador Sondland and the admission of Mick Mulvaney make very clear. The evidence before you proves that the president not only linked to the aid to the investigations; he also conditioned both the White House meeting and the aid on Ukraine's announcement of the investigations.

But if you want more, a witness to acknowledge that the president told them directly that the aid was linked, a witness in front of you, and you have the power to ask for it. I mentioned this portion -- there is a -- the slide -- I mention this portion of Ambassador's manuscript in the beginning, and Manager Schiff referenced it, as well. But he says directly that the president told him this.

Now, the president has publicly lashed out in recent days at Ambassador Bolton. He says that Ambassador Bolton has -- what Ambassador Bolton is saying is nasty and untrue. But denials in 280 characters is not the same as testimony under oath.

We know that. Let's put Ambassador Bolton under oath and asked him point-blank: Did the president use $391 million of taxpayer money, military aid intended for an ally at war, to pressure Ukraine to investigate his 2020 opponent? The stakes are too high not to.

I'd like to briefly walk you through why Ambassador Bolton's testimony is essential to ensuring a fair trial, also addressing some of the questions that you've asked in the past two days.

First, turning back to Ambassador Bolton's manuscript, the president's counsel has said no scheme existed, and the president's counsel has cited repeated denials, public denials of President Trump's inner circle about Bolton's allegations, none of them, of course, under oath, and as we know from the testimony of Ambassador Bolton how important being sworn in really is.

But Ambassador Bolton, as the top national security aide, has direct insight into the president's inner circle, and he is willing to testify under oath whether, quote, "Everyone was in the loop," as he testified before. Ambassador Bolton reportedly knows, quote, "new details about senior Cabinet officials who have publicly tried to sidestep involvement," end quote, including Secretary Pompeo and Mr. Mulvaney's knowledge of this scheme.

Second, Ambassador Bolton has direct knowledge of key events outside of the July 25th call that confirm the president's scheme.


Remember, this is exactly the type of direct evidence the president's counsel say doesn't exist. That's partly because they would like you to believe that the July 25th call makes up all of the evidence of our case. The call, of course, is just a part of the large body of evidence that you've heard about the past week, but it is a key part.

But Ambassador Bolton has critical insight into the president's misconduct outside of this call, and you should hear it. Take, for example, the July 10th meeting with U.S. and Ukrainian officials at the White House.

Dr. Hill testified, during the meeting, that Ambassador Sondland said that he had a deal with Mr. Mulvaney to schedule a White House meeting if the Ukrainians did the investigations. According to Dr. Hill, when Ambassador Bolton learned this, he told her to go back to the NSC's legal advisor, John Eisenberg, and tell him, quote, "I am not a part of whatever drug deal Sondland and Mulvaney are cooking up on this," end quote.

We already have corroboration of Dr. Hill's testimony from other witnesses like Lieutenant Colonel Vindman. And we have new corroboration from Ukraine, too. Oleksandr Danylyuk, President Zelensky's former national security advisor, recently confirmed in an interview that the, quote, "road map for U.S.-Ukraine relations should have been the substance, but the investigations were raised," end quote.

Danylyuk also explained why this was so problematic. He raised concerns that being, quote, "dragged into this internal process would be really bad for the country. And also, if there's something that violates U.S. law, that's up to the U.S. to handle," end quote.

Danylyuk elaborated that there were serious things to discuss at the meeting. But if, instead, Ukraine was being dragged into, quote, "internal politics using our president, who is fresh on the job, inexperienced, that could just destroy everything," end quote.

Another key defense raised by the president has been that Ukraine felt no pressure, that these investigations are entirely proper. Well, here's Ukraine saying the opposite of that. You know what else Danylyuk said in the interview? Quote, "It was definitely John who I trusted," end quote -- talking about Ambassador Bolton.

So if you want to know whether Ukrainians felt pressured, call John Bolton as a witness. He was trusted by Ukraine and he was there for these key meetings. And he was so concerned that he characterized the scheme as a drug deal, and urged Dr. Hill and others to report their concerns to the NSC legal counsel, who reports to White House Counsel Cipollone.

So let's ask Ambassador Bolton these questions, directly, under oath. The president says Ukraine felt no pressure, that soliciting these investigations wasn't improper. Is that true? If it is true, why is Ukraine publicly saying that the talk of investigations could destroy everything.

And if the president's administration thought this was OK, why did you use the words, "drug deal"? We should ask him that. Why did you urge your staff to report concerns to lawyers? These are all questions that we can get the answers to.

Third, the president has suggested the House managers have not presented any direct evidence about Mr. Giuliani's role in the scheme.


RASKIN: In fact, it appears the House committee wasn't particularly interested in presenting you with any direct evidence of what Mayor Giuliani did or why he did it. Instead, they ask you to rely on hearsay, speculation and assumption, evidence that would be inadmissible in any court.


CROW: Well, once again, that's simply not true. But if you want more evidence, we know that Ambassador Bolton has direct evidence of Mr. Giuliani's role regarding Ukraine and expressed concerns about it.

The president has suggested that Mr. Giuliani wasn't doing anything improper, and he was not involved in conducting policy, by their own admission. They said he wasn't doing policy. So let's ask John Bolton what Giuliani was doing, and whether the investigations were politically motivated or part of our foreign policy. He would know.

Dr. Hill testified that Ambassador Bolton said Mr. Giuliani was, quote, "a hand grenade," which he explained referred to, quote, "all of the statements that Mr. Giuliani was making publicly, that the investigations that he was promoting, that the storyline he was promoting, the narrative he was promoting was going to backfire," end quote. The narrative Mr. Giuliani was promoting, of course, was asking Ukraine to dig up dirt on Biden.

Dr. Hill also testified that Ambassador Bolton was so concerned, he told Dr. Hill and other members of the NSC staff, quote, "Nobody should be meeting with Giuliani," end quote. And that was, quote, "closely monitoring what Mr. Giuliani was doing and the messaging that he was sending out," end quote.