WASHINGTON, D.C. -- President Donald Trump's legal team is presenting its defense in the impeachment trial Monday, hours after leaked portions of an upcoming book by former national security advisor appeared to undercut some of the team's arguments.
The New York Times reports that Bolton wrote in his manuscript that Trump told him in August directly that he wanted to continue withholding military aid to Ukraine until the country announced it was opening an investigation into the Bidens.
The book draft undercuts arguments by Trump's legal team about the lack of proof that Trump had ordered the hold on military aid. Bolton's aid would also establish a clear quid pro quo and pressure campaign on Ukraine, both of which Trump has denied.
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The allegations also strengthen the Democrats' case that witnesses — including Bolton — should be called to testify in the impeachment trial. A majority vote must approve witnesses from Senators following opening arguments. The Republican caucus currently holds a 53-47 edge over the Democrat caucus.
Trump disputed the reports in a series of tweets early Sunday morning.
"I NEVER told John Bolton that the aid to Ukraine was tied to investigations into Democrats, including the Bidens," Trump tweeted. "In fact, he never complained about this at the time of his very public termination. If John Bolton said this, it was only to sell a book. With that being said, the... ...transcripts of my calls with President Zelensky are all the proof that is needed, in addition to the fact that President Zelensky & the Foreign Minister of Ukraine said there was no pressure and no problems. Additionally, I met with President Zelensky at the United Nations... ...(Democrats said I never met) and released the military aid to Ukraine without any conditions or investigations - and far ahead of schedule. I also allowed Ukraine to purchase Javelin anti-tank missiles. My Administration has done far more than the previous Administration."
Following The New York Times' report, book publisher Simon & Schuster announced that Bolton's book "The Room Where It Happened," is slated for a March 17 release.
Monday morning, Trump's defense team had 22 of its 24 hours remaining to present its case, after opening its defense on Saturday.