Three Republican senators voiced concerns on Monday about a report claiming President Trump told his former national security adviser John Bolton he wanted to withhold military aid from Ukraine in exchange for an investigation of Joe and Hunter Biden.
As such, the three — Sens. Mitt Romney (Utah), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Susan Collins (Maine) said they would be inclined now to hear from him during the president’s impeachment trial.
“I think with the story that came out yesterday, it’s increasingly apparent it would be important to hear from John Bolton,” Romney told reporters.
“I, of course, will make a final decision on witnesses after we’ve heard from not only the prosecution but also the defense. But I think at this stage it’s pretty fair to say that John Bolton has a relevant testimony to provide to those of us who are sitting in impartial justice,” he added.
Collins released a statement Monday that she is still in favor of witnesses at the trial.
“The reports about Bolton’s book strengthen the case for witnesses and have prompted a number of conversations among my colleagues,” she said.
“I support the Clinton impeachment model, which is a vote on witnesses later. But as to which witnesses I’d want to hear from, and so forth, that’s something which I’m open to until after the opening arguments,” the Utah Republican said earlier this month.
Bolton is someone who “I would like to hear from, and presumably, I’d get the chance to vote for that,” he added.
Murkowski also weighed in on Monday.
“I stated before that I was curious as to what John Bolton might have to say. From the outset, I’ve worked to ensure this trial would be fair and that members would have the opportunity to weigh in after its initial phase to determine if we need more info,” she said in a statement.
“I’ve also said there is an appropriate time for us to evaluate whether we need additional information —that time is almost here. I look forward to the White House wrapping up presentation of its case.”
Earlier Monday, President Trump vehemently denied he told Bolton he wanted a quid pro quo from Ukraine — military aid for an investigation into the former VP and his son.
“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. If John Bolton said this, it was only to sell a book,” the president said.
“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,” he continued.
“Additionally, I met with President [Volodymyr] 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,” the president added.