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© Reuters / Leah Millis
John Bolton
Ex-National Security Adviser John Bolton's book claims Donald Trump admitted a Ukraine quid-pro-quo, prompting Democrats to declare it's game-over for the US president, as his supporters dismiss it as yet another nothingburger.

Democrats have renewed their demands for Bolton to testify in the Senate impeachment trial after a manuscript of the inveterate hawk's new tell-all book on his time in the White House asserted Trump had told Bolton the administration should keep sitting on $391 million in military aid to Ukraine until Kiev reopened an investigation of Burisma Holdings, the natural gas firm tied to former vice president and Democratic presidential frontrunner Joe Biden's son.

Trump has flatly denied the claim, accusing his former security council chief of lying to sell books and observing that Bolton "never complained about this at the time of his very public termination" in a tweet on Monday. The president reminded his detractors that he "released the military aid to Ukraine without any conditions or investigations - and far ahead of schedule" and begged them, once again, to read the transcripts of his calls with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.


White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham implied there had been some kind of setup as regards the supposed 'reveal', telling Fox News on Monday that "the timing of all of this is very, very suspect" and backing up Trump's denials. Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani stuck the knife in further, snarking "No wonder [Bolton] accomplished so little as National Security Advisor."


But Democrats are insisting Bolton be subpoenaed to testify, despite the two parties having so far failed to reach an agreement over whether additional witnesses can be called. While House Democrats asked Bolton to testify back in November; the request was voluntary and they decided against subpoenaing him when his lawyers claimed he would fight the move in court. After the House voted to impeach, however, Bolton let it be known that he was "prepared to testify" — should the Senate subpoena him.

Longtime presidential nemesis Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah) said it was "important to hear from Bolton," suggesting it was "increasingly likely" that enough Republicans would vote in favor of calling him as a witness and claiming to have spoken to others in the party. Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) was more cautious in her support for calling Bolton to the stand, saying she was always "likely to vote to call witnesses" in an impeachment trial. Even Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), typically loyal to the president, hinted he might support calling Bolton to the stand — if he could see what was in the manuscript first.

The usual suspects came out of the woodwork to cheer on Bolton and any potential Republican defectors, with Democrats insisting the manuscript leak had their case new life.




Trump's supporters had a different take: Bolton (and his backers in the Republican Party) were biting the hand that fed them — all for nothing, because the "revelations" would be just the latest in a series of "bombshells" that turned out to be duds.




Republican Senator John Barrasso (Wyoming) also insisted there was "nothing new here" in the Bolton manuscript, adding that "the facts of the case remain the same." He predicted inflammatory information would be coming out "every day" to attempt to influence the proceedings, and confirmed that the Senate would discuss on Friday whether to call additional witnesses.