Closing out a long day, Alan Dershowitz, perhaps the Trump team’s best-known lawyer, said House managers had resorted to “politically loaded and promiscuously deployed” charges to cast President Trump’s conduct as impeachable.
He insisted that the House managers tried to substitute “psychoanalysis” for concrete evidence against the president, deciding that Mr. Trump was “only interested in helping himself” and not in valid policy goals. “You cannot turn conduct that is not impeachable into impeachable conduct simply by using words like quid pro quo and personal benefit,” he said.
Mr. Dershowitz argued that the president should not be impeached even if it was true, as John R. Bolton, his former national security adviser, states in an unpublished manuscript, that Mr. Trump withheld military assistance to pressure Ukraine to announce investigations that would help him politically.
Mr. Dershowitz argued that American presidents often demanded specific actions by foreign governments in exchange for some kind of benefit. He compared Mr. Trump’s suspension of Ukrainian military aid to American pressure to withhold aid from Israel unless it stopped building settlements in Palestinian-occupied territories.
He did not specifically address the distinction between the president’s personal benefit and the national interest, although he said the House managers were wrong to assume that they knew what the president was thinking.
“If a president, any president, would have done what The Times reported about the content of the Bolton manuscript, that would not constitute an impeachable offense,” Mr. Dershowitz said. “Let me repeat: Nothing in the Bolton revelations, even if true, would rise to the level of an abuse of power or an impeachable offense.”
Alan Dershowitz, a Harvard law professor, said he now believes that impeachable conduct must be criminal in nature. But even if that weren’t so, he said, the charges against Mr. Trump — abuse of power and obstruction of justice — are simply too ill-defined to accept as violations worthy of impeachment.
A long list of presidents have been accused of abuse of power for all kinds of subjective reasons, he said. He accused the House managers of engaging in “psychoanalysis” in concluding that Mr. Trump’s motivations were corrupt.
He added, “Even if criminal conduct were not required, the framers of our Constitution would have implicitly rejected and, if it had been presented to them, explicitly rejected such vague terms as abuse of power and obstruction of Congress as among the enumerated and defining criteria for impeaching a president.”
In 1998, when President Bill Clinton faced potential impeachment, Mr. Dershowitz described an impeachable offense differently. “It certainly doesn’t have to be a crime if you have somebody who completely corrupts the office of president and who abuses trust and who poses great danger to our liberty, you don’t need a technical crime,” he said then.
He said then that “great offenses of state” that “subvert the very essence of democracy” could also warrant impeachment.
After a day of somewhat monotonous legal arguments, it is no surprise that President Trump’s legal team saved its star consultant — Professor Alan Dershowitz of Harvard Law School — for the 8 p.m. hour, prime time on national television.
Mr. Dershowitz, 81, who has gained notoriety of late by representing the financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, is no stranger to high-profile cases. His clients have also included O.J. Simpson, Mike Tyson and the newspaper heiress Patty Hearst.
In short, he brings exactly the kind of pizazz that Mr. Trump, a former reality show host, wants for the proceedings. Mr. Dershowitz’s job is to put the charges against Mr. Trump in a constitutional context. He began by noting that he “abhorred” President Richard M. Nixon, “whose impeachment I personally favored,” and said he opposed the impeachment of Bill Clinton and voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016. Had Mrs. Clinton been impeached on the same charges as Mr. Trump, Mr. Dershowitz said, he would still be in the chamber making the case against conviction.
“I stand against the application and misapplication of the constitutional criteria in every case, and against any president without regard to whether I support his or her parties or policies,” Mr. Dershowitz told the senators, adding, “I am here today because I love my country and our Constitution. Everyone in this room shares that love.”
Representative Doug Collins, one of the faces of President Trump’s impeachment defense, plans to challenge Senator Kelly Loeffler in this fall’s special election for one of Georgia’s Senate seats, people familiar with his plans said on Monday.
Mr. Collins’s long-expected decision sets the stage for a brutal Republican-on-Republican fight that will put a prominent House conservative known for his defenses of Mr. Trump against a wealthy businesswoman appointed last month to fill the state’s vacant Senate seat. Mr. Collins is expected to announce his campaign on Tuesday, according to the people familiar with his plans, who were not authorized to discuss it publicly.
He enters the race with widespread name recognition on the right, having served as the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee during its impeachment hearings and now a member of Mr. Trump’s impeachment defense team. Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia, a Republican, passed over Mr. Collins in favor of Ms. Loeffler when he selected a temporary replacement for retiring Senator Johnny Isakson late last year.
He did so despite direct entreaties from Mr. Trump and some of his allies on Mr. Collins’s behalf, and their complaints that Ms. Loeffler was not a reliable enough supporter of the president.
Ms. Loeffler, a prominent political donor and political newcomer, has spent the weeks since trying to burnish a conservative record. She did so again on Monday just hours before news of Mr. Collins’s campaign surfaced. She attacked Senator Mitt Romney of Utah, a Republican she once donated large sums of money to, for advocating that witnesses be called in Mr. Trump’s impeachment trial.
“After 2 weeks, it’s clear that Democrats have no case for impeachment,” she wrote on Twitter. “Sadly, my colleague @SenatorRomney wants to appease the left by calling witnesses who will slander the @realDonaldTrump during their 15 minutes of fame. The circus is over. It’s time to move on!”
What would happen if the Senate, with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. presiding, issued a subpoena calling on John R. Bolton, President Trump’s former national security adviser, to testify — and Mr. Trump tried to block it in court?
Senator Chris Coons, Democrat of Delaware and a graduate of Yale Law School, has been pondering that constitutional question. Not surprisingly, he comes down on the side of the Senate.
“I will assert that the powers of the Senate are at their apex, to paraphrase, during an impeachment inquiry,” Mr. Coons told reporters during the dinner break. “And if you had a subpoena that was a bipartisan subpoena, signed by the chief justice, in a matter currently in consideration in front of the Senate, I would expect deference from the courts to our decision as a body.”
That scenario, of course, is far from a reality. Republicans have yet to agree to call Mr. Bolton — or any other witness — and the trial may end without them doing so. A vote on the question will come after Mr. Trump’s legal team wraps up its defense and senators have had a chance to ask questions, likely as soon as this week.
Robert W. Ray, who succeeded Ken Starr as the independent counsel investigating President Bill Clinton, delivered a lively denunciation of the case against President Trump on Monday evening as he made his debut as a member of the White House defense team.
Mr. Ray lashed out at the House managers, saying that they had failed to prove any of their accusations against the president, charging that “the purported implicit link between foreign aid and the investigations, or the announcement of them, is weak.”
Drawing on his previous experience with impeachment, Mr. Ray argued that House managers are drawing on “their own interpretations” about the motivations of Mr. Trump and the other people involved in the Ukraine matter. And he sought to counter the House argument that the Constitution does not require a president to commit a crime to be impeached. Mr. Ray insisted that “to ignore the requirement of proving that a crime was committed is to sidestep the constitutional design as well as the lessons of history.”
Mr. Ray also lambasted the House for charging the president with abuse of Congress for blocking testimony from witnesses and refusing to hand over documents during the impeachment inquiry.
“When I hear Mr. Schiff’s complaint that the House’s request for former White House Counsel Don McGann’s testimony, grand jury material and other documents have been drawn out since April of last year, I can only say in response: Boo hoo,” Mr. Ray said.
“Any contention that what has transpired here involving this administration’s assertion of valid and well recognized claims of privileges and immunities is somehow contrary to law and impeachable is ludicrous,” he said.
After the dinner break, the president’s legal team renewed their argument that Mr. Trump had not committed any crime — much less a crime so grave that it warranted booting him out of office. Robert Ray, one of Mr. Trump’s lawyers, said that impeachable conduct must not only be criminal in nature but so serious that it subverts the nation’s system of government.
Otherwise, he said, it “cheapens the impeachment process” and qualifies as “an American tragedy all of its own.” Mr. Ray took over as independent counsel at the end of a lengthy investigation of President Bill Clinton, following Ken Starr.
Mr. Starr argued earlier in the day that both President Nixon and Mr. Clinton were accused of crimes. And he added that Mr. Clinton’s acquittal in 1998 showed that even “the commission of a crime is by no means sufficient to warrant” a president’s removal. Alan Dershowitz, a Harvard University law professor, is to come later.
The 45-minute dinner break at the Senate impeachment trial featured selections from Chick-fil-A, a choice that reminded Senator Kevin Cramer, Republican of North Dakota, of his earlier tenure in the more proletarian lower chamber.
“We’re all in there now eating Chick-fil-A,” he said with a chuckle. “I feel like I’m in the House of Representatives.” Then, lest he be taken seriously, he made sure to add: “By the way, I love Chick-fil-A.”
He and several other Republicans took advantage of the break to praise the arguments made by President Trump’s lawyers in the afternoon. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas also tucked in a plug of his new podcast, “Verdict with Ted Cruz,” which is No. 1 on the iTunes charts.
“Each night, at the end of the trial, I’m discussing these issues in depth, because I think the American people want to hear substantive topics that they want to get,” Mr. Cruz said, “beyond just screaming and yelling on cable.”
Courtroom artist Art Lien sketches with a thin mechanical pencil from his perch in the Senate press gallery, where he is covering the trial for The Times. “People move around and things change, so it’s nice to be able to erase,” he said.
As he draws each image, he jots down notes about color, because he must exit the chamber before filling in his drawings with watercolor.
To identify senators — or their empty seats — he consults a seating chart distributed by press gallery staff members.
See all of Mr. Lien’s drawings from Mr. Trump’s trial here.
While he was under attack in Washington on Monday, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. spent his day appealing to Iowans with just a week to go before the state’s caucuses.
On the campaign trail, Mr. Biden largely kept his focus on topics other than impeachment. But at an event in Cedar Falls, he pointed to the trial — and President Trump’s conduct that led to it — to argue that the president did not want to face him in the general election.
“There’s a reason why this man is on trial,” he told the crowd. “The reason he’s on trial is because he does not want to run against me.”
Speaking briefly to reporters after the event, Mr. Biden said of the manuscript of John R. Bolton, the president’s former national security adviser, “If I were in the Senate, I’d want to see it.”
He also made clear, once again, that he had no interest in testifying at the trial. Asked if he would be his own best defense if he were to testify, Mr. Biden responded, “I have nothing to defend. This is all a game.”
Pam Bondi and Mr. Trump have a history going back long before her appearance today to help his defense as president.
When she was Florida’s attorney general, Mr. Trump was targeted in an investigation by the attorney general in New York and other states alleging fraud in the marketing of a business he then ran, called Trump University. Prosecutors accused Mr. Trump of defrauding students who had signed up for Trump University’s real estate and wealth-building seminars.
Ms. Bondi’s office was asked in 2013 if the attorney general had opened an investigation — like other states — into activities of Trump University, given the school’s recruitment efforts in Florida.
“We are currently reviewing the allegations in the New York complaint,” a spokeswoman for Ms. Bondi wrote back to the reporter from The Orlando Sentinel.
It was just four days later, in September 2013, that a check for $25,000 from the Donald J. Trump Foundation landed in the Tampa office of a political action committee that had been formed to support Ms. Bondi’s 2014 re-election. By mid-October 2013, Ms. Bondi’s office announced that it would not be acting on the Trump University complaints.
Brian Ballard, who was then Mr. Trump’s lobbyist in Florida, said it was “ridiculous” to think his client sought to buy off Ms. Bondi. “I’m the Trump Organization lobbyist, and he has never, ever brought up Trump University with me,” he said. (Mr. Ballard has more recently gone on to be a major lobbyist in Washington, picking up corporate clients and foreign governments based on his ties to Mr. Trump).
But questions about the donation continued because the contribution had come from a nonprofit charity that Mr. Trump had created and used the money instead to support a political cause. Allegations surfaced that this was an illegal contribution.
Mr. Trump ultimately agreed to refund $25,000 to the foundation from his personal account and pay a $2,500 penalty to the Internal Revenue Service.
Add another name to the list of Republicans toying with calling witnesses at President Trump’s impeachment trial.
At a private luncheon of Republican senators on Monday, Senator Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania, indicated to colleagues that he was open to calling witnesses if Republicans could work out an arrangement so that a witness like John R. Bolton was called in exchange for one seen as more beneficial to the president, according to Republicans familiar with his remarks not authorized to discuss them.
His remarks are another sign that Republicans are under increasing pressure after revelations that Mr. Bolton asserts in a forthcoming book that Mr. Trump told him he would not release nearly $400 million in military aid for Ukraine until the country had assisted with investigations into the Bidens and other Democrats.
Senator Mitt Romney, Republican of Utah, also spoke in favor of calling witnesses during the lunch, the Republicans said. He argued that doing so made sense both in terms of substance and politics.
Mr. Toomey’s views were reported earlier by The Washington Post.
President Trump’s lawyers began their promised assault on former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son, Hunter, on Monday, describing what they said was significant evidence of corruption that made Mr. Trump’s interest in the case proper.
Pam Bondi, one of the president’s lawyers, said the defense team would rather have ignored questions about the former vice president and his son, but was forced to address the issue after the House prosecutors referenced the Bidens and a Ukraine energy company more than 400 times.
She accused Democrats of denying the legitimacy of investigations into the Bidens because the House case depends on the premise that Mr. Trump was only interested in the negative political impact of the investigations on his rival.
“They say sham. They say baseless,” Ms. Bondi told the senators. “They say this because if it’s okay for someone to say, ‘hey, you know what, maybe there’s something here worth raising,’ their case crumbles.”
Jay Sekulow, another lawyer for Mr. Trump, had earlier hinted that the defense team would spend significant time on the Bidens after the House managers concluded their arguments. As promised, Ms. Bondi delved deeply into Hunter Biden’s work on the board of Burisma, the energy company, at the time his father was vice president.
At one point, she played a television interview with Hunter Biden.
“If your last name was not Biden, do you think you would have been asked to be on the board of Burisma?” Mr. Biden is asked. “I don’t know. I don’t know. Probably not.”
Democrats say the activities of the Bidens are irrelevant to the president’s actions regarding Ukraine, and insist there is no legitimate evidence that either Hunter Biden or the former vice president did anything improper. They accuse Mr. Trump of trying to smear the elder Mr. Biden because he is a leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Patrick Philbin, a deputy White House counsel, argued that the House was trying to shove off the hard work of subpoenaing witnesses to the Senate — all because it wanted to impeach President Trump before the election.
House managers said that the White House was simply too intransigent and wanted to sabotage the whole investigation by blocking the testimony of Mr. Trump’s closest aides on frivolous grounds, dragging out the inquiry for months. But Mr. Philbin said the House investigators failed to go to court to try to compel the testimony of certain witnesses because they were following a political schedule, not conducting a fair or legally justifiable proceeding.
Now the House managers wanted the Senate to issue and enforce subpoenas, essentially “clean up the mess and try to do all the work that wasn’t done,” he said. That’s not fair to the Senate, he argued, making a case that could appeal to many senators.
“If it wants to bring an impeachment here ready for trial,” he said, the House “has to be ready to proceed, not transfer the responsibility to this chamber.”
For the first time for the defense, Jane Raskin, one of the president’s lawyers, focused on the role of Rudy W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer. She called him a “colorful distraction,” pointing out that despite his purported importance in the controversy, House impeachment investigators did not subpoena him to testify.
Legal experts suggest that Mr. Giuliani would have refused to disclose any of his conversations with Mr. Trump on the basis of attorney-client privilege. And he would surely have been a difficult witness, given his often erratic performance in televised interviews.
But Ms. Raskin argued that the investigators did not want to hear from Mr. Giuliani because he would not have backed up their claims that he was executing a shadow foreign policy toward Ukraine at Mr. Trump’s request.
“He was not on a political errand,” she said. In his own inimitable “outrageous, irreverent, blasphemous” style, she said, he was pursuing valid leads about corruption in Ukraine for the benefit of his client — not pressuring Ukrainian officials for Mr. Trump’s political gain.
The slow start to the trial had some senators inside the chamber visibly struggling to remain engaged with President Trump’s lawyers.
“Justice delayed is justice denied,” Ken Starr intoned.
Senator Tom Cotton, Republican of Arkansas, rubbed his eyes with his right hand and yawned.
Across the aisle, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Democrat of New York, grabbed a notebook, stood up from her desk and leaned against a railing in the back of the chamber. Senator Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent who would almost certainly prefer to be on the presidential campaign trail, leaned back in his chair and clasped his hands over his chest, looking mildly exasperated.
Senator Bob Casey, Democrat of Pennsylvania, appeared to hand over a candy or mint to his desk neighbor, Senator Amy Klobuchar, Democrat of Minnesota, who accepted.
Not all seemed bored by the monotonous proceedings. Of the four closely watched moderate Republicans who could join Democrats to force the Senate to pursue new testimony and documents, no one scribbled more notes than Senator Susan Collins of Maine. Seated next to her, Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska stared intently at the lawyers, rocking her chair gently back and forth.
One line seemed to warrant special attention from Republican senators: When Mr. Starr declared that “the commission of a crime is by no means sufficient to warrant the removal of our duly elected president,” suggesting that any crime needed to be serious enough to rise to the level of impeachment. Several senators, including Ms. Collins, seemed to jot it down.
President Trump’s defense team keeps asserting that Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine’s president, got the meeting he wanted with Mr. Trump.
Michael Purpura, one of the president’s lawyers, pointed out that the two leaders met Sept. 25 on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly gathering in New York. He quoted the testimony of Fiona Hill, a former top national security official, who said a meeting between Mr. Trump and Mr. Zelensky did not necessarily have to take place in the Oval Office.
But Ms. Hill also said that every single foreign leader wants an Oval Office invitation from the American president, and that they are not satisfied with so-called pull-aside at another event, like a United Nations meeting.
Other witnesses testified an Oval Office meeting was extremely important to Mr. Zelensky to boost his credibility at home and abroad, including with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia. In fact, during his Sept. 25 news conference with Mr. Trump, Mr. Zelensky noted that Mr. Trump had invited him to the Oval Office but then said half-jokingly: “I think you forgot to tell me the date.”
Mr. Purpura did not mention that Gordon D. Sondland, the American ambassador to European Union, testified that an Oval Office invitation for Mr. Zelensky depended on Ukraine’s announcement that it was investigating the Bidens and whether Ukraine had some role interfering in the 2016 American election. Mr. Sondland described that as an explicit “quid pro quo.”
President Trump’s lawyers ignored revelations from John R. Bolton, the president’s former national security adviser, as they opened the second day of their impeachment defense, doubling down on their claim that Mr. Trump cared about getting more European support for Ukraine, not investigations of his Democratic rivals.
Michael Purpura, one of the president’s lawyers, asserted that “anyone who spoke with the president said that the president made clear that there was no linkage between security assistance and investigations.”
That claim is directly contradicted by the weekend report from the draft manuscript of Mr. Bolton’s upcoming book, in which he wrote that Mr. Trump said that he wanted to keep holding on to the security aid until Ukraine’s leaders conducted the investigations of Democrats that Mr. Trump wanted.
Mr. Purpura made no reference to Mr. Bolton’s claims about the security aid, which on Monday scrambled Republican efforts to push back against Democratic demands to call additional witnesses, including Mr. Bolton. Instead, Mr. Purpura pointed to other testimony in arguing that there was no tie between Mr. Trump’s desire for investigations and the aid.
Nearly two hours into the defense’s second day of arguments, the Senate took a break and the president’s lawyers had not directly addressed the claims in Mr. Bolton’s book. But Jay Sekulow, another lawyer for Mr. Trump, seemed to hint that the information about Mr. Bolton’s book should not be properly considered by senators sitting in judgment of Mr. Trump.
“We deal with transcript evidence, we deal with publicly available information,” Mr. Sekulow said. “We do not deal with speculation, allegations that are not based on evidentiary standards at all.”
As the White House began Day 2 of its impeachment defense, lawyers were preparing for the possibility that senators would vote to call witnesses, and are looking at which witnesses they might ask for in return for testimony by John R. Bolton, the former national security adviser.
But members of the defense team also have told associates that they would fight Mr. Bolton’s testimony. It is not clear whether they would try to fight the issuance of a subpoena, which would play out before Chief Justice John G. Roberts, or whether they would they try to get a restraining order, which the Justice Department has never done.
Mr. Bolton said earlier this month that he would testify if subpoenaed by the Senate, and the Trump administration would face serious hurdles trying to stop a willing witness.
Whether the White House will try to press for one of its edgier witnesses, like Hunter Biden, in exchange for Mr. Bolton remains to be seen.
But they are signaling to senators that the decision to allow Mr. Bolton to testify could end up so entangled in court proceedings that it could take several weeks, something Republican senators are hoping to avoid.
The leak of a book manuscript written by John R. Bolton, President Trump’s former national security adviser, has rocked Mr. Trump’s impeachment trial and increased pressure on Republicans to call Mr. Bolton as a witness.
But as his trial got underway on Monday, it did not appear to have changed Senate math.
Democrats, who control 47 votes, need the support of four Republicans to effectively commandeer the trial and force the Senate to consider calling witnesses. But of the four Republicans who have suggested they are open to doing so, only two — Susan Collins of Maine and Mitt Romney of Utah — said on Monday that the Bolton report bolstered the case for hearing from witnesses.
A third, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, said she was “curious,” but was otherwise noncommittal. The fourth, Senator Lamar Alexander, Republican of Tennessee, was similarly vague.
The Senate will vote on after Mr. Trump’s legal team wraps up its defense and senators have a chance to ask questions, possibly as soon as this week. Mr. Romney has already said he is likely a ‘yes’ vote on the question of witnesses, and on Monday he said the manuscript — which says Mr. Trump told Mr. Bolton military aid to Ukraine was conditioned on that country’s leader investigating Democrats — makes it “increasingly likely” that the Senate as a whole would agree.
Ms. Collins, who has previously said she was leaning toward calling witnesses, also appeared to suggest that other Republicans were now talking privately about whether to do the same.
“The reports about John Bolton’s book strengthen the case for witnesses and have prompted a number of conversations among my colleagues,” she said in a statement.
Ms. Murkowski didn’t go as far.
“I stated before that I was curious as to what John Bolton might have to say,” she said in a statement. “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 information. I’ve also said there is an appropriate time for us to evaluate whether we need additional information — that time is almost here.”
But Mr. Alexander, who is not running for re-election in 2020 and is therefore viewed as something of a wild card, said little beyond that he would vote on the issue after senators asked their questions.
President Trump falsely tweeted this morning that House Democrats didn’t seek testimony from John R. Bolton, his former national security adviser.
House impeachment investigators did ask Mr. Bolton to testify before Congress in October, but Mr. Bolton’s lawyers said he would not appear voluntarily.
Warming up the Senate on Monday, one of President Trump’s lawyers, Jay Sekulow, promised the defense team would move in a manner “expeditious but yet thorough.” But even some of the president’s most enthusiastic supporters seem to have concluded that Ken Starr, the former independent counsel turned presidential defense attorney, failed to live up the bill.
“Ken Starr litigation strategy: Torture the senate with such an excruciatingly boring presentation that they cannot take another minute of this trial,” Ann Coulter, the conservative commentator, wrote on Twitter, of Mr. Starr’s academic review of impeachment history and legal standards.
Representative Matt Gaetz, Republican of Florida and another vocal ally of Mr. Trump who was nevertheless left off his defense team, agreed in a reply to Ms. Coulter. More flash, he urged, less “To Kill a Mockingbird.” “This defense needs a little less Atticus Finch and a little more Miss Universe,” he wrote.
Chris Wallace, the “Fox News Sunday” anchor, got into a heated exchange with an on-air colleague, Katie Pavlich, shortly before the Senate trial resumed on Monday, at one point telling her, “Get your facts straight.”
Ms. Pavlich, a conservative commentator, has been serving as an analyst for Fox News’s trial coverage in place of Ken Starr, who left the network to join Mr. Trump’s defense team. Mr. Wallace told Ms. Pavlich she had mischaracterized a description of how witnesses were called for Bill Clinton’s trial, adding, “What you’re saying just isn’t true.”
The two hosts argued back and forth as the anchor Bret Baier tried to intervene, saying, “Okay, let’s tone it down.”
As Ms. Pavlich argued that the House voted to impeach Mr. Trump using “incomplete information,” Mr. Wallace rejoined, “So we just shouldn’t listen to what John Bolton has to say?”
“I’m not taking a side, Chris,” Ms. Pavlich retorted, before Mr. Baier cut in and changed the topic.
Ken Starr, the independent counsel in the impeachment case of former President Bill Clinton, got the second day of President Trump’s defense off to a historical start as the White House legal team ignored revelations from a book manuscript by John R. Bolton, the former national security adviser.
Mr. Starr, whose relentless pursuit of Mr. Clinton’s impeachment for lying over an affair deeply divided the country, on Monday cast himself as an impeachment skeptic. He urged the Senate to “restore our constitutional and historical traditions” when impeachment was rare.
“Like war, impeachment is hell,” Mr. Starr told senators. “Or at least, presidential impeachment is hell.”
Sounding more like a college professor than a fierce legal advocate, Mr. Starr slowly walked senators through the history of impeachment, citing the Federalist Papers, Alexander Hamilton and a discussion about how the nation’s “constitutional DNA” had changed since the independent counsel law lapsed.
What he did not do was make any mention of the report from Mr. Bolton’s manuscript that Mr. Trump said he wanted to keep holding up security aid until Ukraine’s leaders conducted the investigations of Democrats that Mr. Trump wanted — and exactly what House Democrats accused him of doing.
Like Mr. Starr, Jay Sekulow, one of the president’s lawyers, did not mention Mr. Bolton during initial opening remarks. He promised that the defense team would continue to press their case that Mr. Trump had done nothing wrong.
“It is our position as president’s counsel that the president was at all time acting under his constitutional authority, under his legal authority, international interests pursuant to his oath of office,” Mr. Sekulow said. “Asking a foreign leader to get to the bottom of issues of corruption is not a violation of an oath.”
John R. Bolton was the only topic on the minds of Republicans as they huddled behind closed doors on Monday for a luncheon just before the impeachment trial began. But Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, urged his colleagues not to rush to any conclusions.
“Let’s get through the next step,” Mr. McConnell said, according to Senator Mike Braun, Republican of Indiana. “Take a deep breath and let’s take one step at a time.”
Mr. McConnell was among those venting angrily to the White House in private on Monday about the leak of the former national security adviser’s manuscript, in which he wrote that Mr. Trump was conditioning the release of military aid to Ukraine upon the country furnishing investigative information about his political opponents. That contradicts the defense that the president’s lawyer’s have offered the Senate, which holds that Mr. Trump never linked the two issues.
Mr. Bolton’s account prompted a number of conversations among Republicans about whether they might ultimately have to agree to call witnesses, a move that they have steadfastly resisted.
Mr. McConnell, who controls a narrow majority of 53 votes to Democrats’ 47, is hoping to avoid that outcome altogether, but for now, his goal is to hold it off for as long as possible.
John R. Bolton appears set to publish his book about his time as President Trump’s former national security adviser in less than two months, according to a listing on Amazon that appeared late Sunday night.
The New York Times reported Sunday on a draft manuscript for Mr. Bolton’s book in which he says that the president told him that he wanted to continue withholding security aid for Ukraine until the country’s top officials announced investigations into Democrats, including former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr, and his son, Hunter. (Mr. Trump has denied the account.)
Mr. Bolton’s book, titled “The Room Where it Happened: A White House Memoir,” promises “a substantive and factual account of his time in the room where it happened,” a play on one of the song titles from the popular musical “Hamilton.”
The book’s title appears in an oval on the cover, a hint of the room it refers to. The listing is taking pre-orders and says it will be released on March 17.
Given the extraordinary control that the White House has maintained over testimony and the release of emails, text messages and other documents by top Trump administration aides, there has been little evidence in the public domain to back up John Bolton’s claims that top White House advisers repeatedly pressed President Trump this summer to release his hold on the military aid to Ukraine.
But concrete evidence has still emerged that this is what actually took place, particularly in late August, reporting by The New York Times has found.
Career employees at the State Department, the National Security Council and Defense Department held a series of interagency meetings in July to discuss the aid freeze, quickly reaching a consensus that it was against United States’ interest to hold back the money.
But they also concluded that the only way to get it lifted was for someone to make a direct appeal to Mr. Trump because it was a presidential-level decision.
Persuading Mr. Trump to change his mind became particularly urgent as of mid-August, when the Defense Department concluded that it was running out of time to spend all the $250 million in military assistance Congress allocated by the September 30 deadline — for items like sniper rifles, rocket-propelled grenade launchers and other gear.
So as of mid-August, a series of interventions took place with Mr. Trump, involving John Bolton, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, participants in these meetings told The Times.
This included an Oval Office meeting in late August, attended by all three of these top White House advisers, where one at a time they tried to persuade Mr. Trump to lift the hold on the military aid.
Mr. Bolton argued the aid was in the country’s interest, according to one official briefed on the gathering.
Mr. Esper added that the United States had gotten some good benefits from their defense relationship, noting that most of the money was being spent on military equipment made in the United States.
Mr. Trump responded that he did not believe President Volodymyr Zelensky’s promises of reform. He emphasized his view that corruption remained endemic and repeated his position that European nations needed to do more for European defense.
The aid remained blocked. For more on the push back orchestrated by Mr. Bolton and Mr. Trump’s top aides, here is an article from in late December giving a detailed account of this effort.
Many Americans came to know John R. Bolton from his appearances on Fox News, where he was a featured commentator from 2007 to 2018. On Monday, though, the network’s hosts were treating their former colleague with a newfound skepticism.
The president “has got to do a better job hiring people,” Brian Kilmeade, a “Fox & Friends” host, said after summarizing the claims in Mr. Bolton’s leaked manuscript. “He’s got to do a better job vetting his staff, to find out if they actually want to work for him or not, or they actually want to leak out information about him.”
“There are a lot of snakes in the swamp,” Dan Bongino, a pro-Trump commentator, chimed in. And on Sunday, the Fox News host Steve Hilton said that Mr. Bolton’s claim “doesn’t change anything of substance.”
But Mr. Kilmeade did offer some supportive words on Monday, too, saying that Mr. Bolton, as a former colleague, “has always been upstanding and very candid, if nothing else.”
For years, John R. Bolton has been a conservative Republican stalwart: foreign policy hawk, ambassador to the United Nations under President George W. Bush, fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, commentator on Fox News and national security adviser to President Trump.
On Monday, Mr. Bolton, who left Mr. Trump’s White House last summer, appeared on the verge of becoming a Republican pariah. Hours after The New York Times published details from his forthcoming book, in which he wrote that Mr. Trump told him he would not unfreeze military aid to Ukraine until that country investigated his political rivals, Mr. Bolton’s fellow Republicans began turning on him.
“Well, there’s a so-called blockbuster report in today’s New York Times — it’s a story about selective leaks from a book that you can pre-order on Amazon.com from John Bolton,” said Senator John Barrasso, Republican of Wyoming, appearing to suggest that Mr. Bolton is merely trying to sell books.
“The timing is a little interesting, isn’t it?” Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas, commented on Fox News.
Mr. Trump himself, who has denied Mr. Bolton’s account, circulated a derisive comment about the former national security adviser on Twitter, re-tweeting a message by Lou Dobbs, one of his favorite Fox News commentators, that slammed Mr. Bolton as a “Rejected Neocon.”
Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky — whose noninterventionist foreign policy views are in stark contrast with those of Mr. Bolton — questioned his credibility.
“You have an angry, disgruntled employee, and I think he’ll say anything,” Mr. Paul said.
Doug Stafford, Mr. Paul’s chief strategist, was even harsher.
“We told you not to hire neocon clown @AmbBolton,” he wrote in a tweet addressed to Mr. Trump. “NONE OF THE WARMONGERS ARE ON YOUR SIDE!”
One of the key prosecution witnesses at the center of President Trump’s impeachment trial on Sunday lectured Secretary of State Mike Pompeo — and, without directly saying so, Mr. Trump — about the importance of supporting Ukraine. William B. Taylor Jr., the former top American diplomat in Ukraine, took issue with Mr. Pompeo for reportedly questioning whether Americans care about that country. In an op-ed published in The New York Times, Mr. Taylor described the many reasons Ukraine, a country wedged between Russia and the countries of NATO, is vital to the United States.
“To support Ukraine is to support a rules-based international order that avoided war among major powers in Europe for seven decades,” he wrote, describing the many ways Russia attacks Ukraine and the West. “It is to support democracy over autocracy. It is to support freedom over unfreedom. Most Americans do.”
Mr. Taylor, who testified during the impeachment inquiry that the Trump administration waged a pressure campaign to get Ukraine to announce investigations into the president’s rivals, mostly steered clear of the impeachment case in his article. He said only that “no matter the outcome of the debate about the propriety of a phone call between the two presidents, the relationship between the United States and Ukraine is key to our national security.”
But Mr. Taylor’s rebuke of Mr. Pompeo is also a not-so-subtle reminder to the president and his Republican allies of the national security threat at the heart of the Democratic case: that by withholding security aid to gain political leverage, Mr. Trump made the country — and the Western world — less safe.
President Trump, who raged throughout the morning about the release of a White House memoir written by John Bolton, his former national security adviser, told reporters gathered at the White House that he had not actually seen the manuscript for the book.
Still, the president disputed as “false” two of the book’s major claims: that Mr. Bolton and others had tried to dissuade Mr. Trump from withholding military aide to Ukraine, and that the president was convinced that Ukraine had meddled in the 2016 election.
Among the Senate Republicans angry at the White House on Monday over revelations about a manuscript submitted for review by John R. Bolton are top allies of President Trump, including Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader.
Just hours before the trial was set to resume, Mr. McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, and Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, were privately pressing the president’s advisers for an explanation about Mr. Bolton’s account, which undercuts a key White House defense of the president and blindsided the senators, according to people familiar with their thinking.
Speaking to reporters in the basement of the Capitol on Monday, Mr. Graham declined to detail his talks with the White House and said the report would likely not change his position on the outcome of the trial. But asked if he trusted Mr. Bolton, Mr. Graham retorted: “I don’t know if I trust anybody right now.”
He said the former national security adviser “may be a relevant witness.”
Mr. Graham skipped a news conference in the Capitol Monday morning at which he was previously scheduled to appear.
Senators were told that White House lawyers planned to push ahead with their defense as planned on Monday, arguing that the president had not committed impeachable offenses.
Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine and one of the most closely watched swing votes on calling witnesses, said in a statement on Monday that new revelations from John R. Bolton, the former White House national security adviser, “strengthen the case for witnesses” in President Trump’s impeachment trial.
Her comments came the morning after The New York Times reported that Mr. Bolton wrote in his forthcoming book that Mr. Trump had directly linked $391 million in military aid for Ukraine to investigations he wanted of his political rivals, saying that he would not release the money until he got the information he sought.
Ms. Collins, who has said that she is open to calling witnesses and would likely vote to do so, also appeared to suggest that other Republicans were now talking privately about whether to do the same.
“The reports about John Bolton’s book strengthen the case for witnesses and have prompted a number of conversations among my colleagues,” she said in the statement.
In the wake of weekend revelations from John R. Bolton, President Trump’s former national security adviser, Republican defenders of Mr. Trump are looking for any ammunition to undercut the Democratic argument in favor of calling new witnesses.
One example: a news conference from two decades ago by a current Democratic House manager arguing against the need for additional testimony.
Representative Jerrold Nadler, now the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, was asked at a 1998 news conference whether Democrats defending then-President Bill Clinton from impeachment should support calling witnesses in the inquiry. Mr. Nadler said no.
“There are some people who think that we should ask to subpoena certain witnesses. My own personal opinion is that we shouldn’t,” Mr. Nadler told reporters. “My own personal opinion is that it’s the duty of those who want to impeach the president to make the case. They’ve got to call the witnesses who will establish the case. They haven’t done so.”
Republican senators have been arguing that Democrats in the House — not the Senate — were responsible for calling officials like him and others who were blocked by the president from testifying in the House inquiry. Now, as they look for ways to keep a handful of Republican moderates from jumping ship and voting with Democrats, they are hoping that comments, like the one from Mr. Nadler more than 20 years ago, might help.
Democrats don’t just want to hear from John R. Bolton, President Trump’s former national security adviser. They also want his notes — and getting them could help pave the way for other documents they have been demanding.
A report in The New York Times said that White House officials believe Mr. Bolton, who is writing a book, took notes that he should have left behind when he resigned his post. Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the lead House manager, seized on that detail Monday morning, saying the notes may be more important for the Senate than seeing a copy of the draft manuscript of Mr. Bolton’s book.
“Now we learned that John Bolton took detailed notes and presumably these are contemporaneous,” Mr. Schiff said on CNN’s “New Day” program. “These notes took place while the events were happening, while they were fresh in his mind. Those, in many respects, are more important than the manuscript. So we ought to not only have John Bolton testify, but we ought to see what he wrote down in his notes at the time.”
In addition to calling for additional witnesses, Democrats have said the Senate should subpoena emails, text messages and other documents that Mr. Trump’s administration refused to hand over during the House impeachment inquiry. The existence of Mr. Bolton’s notes could further pressure Republicans to agree to seek the documents.
John R. Bolton was President Trump’s national security adviser for a year and a half, but he has been a fixture in conservative politics for a generation, making it difficult for Republicans to merely dismiss him as a partisan with an ax to grind. There is no better evidence of the complications his potential testimony would create for Senate Republicans than the campaign checks he has written many of them.
Mr. Bolton’s political action committee, named after himself, has already cut $10,000 checks this election cycle to three Republican senators who will have a vote on whether to subpoena him in the trial: Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Cory Gardner of Colorado and Thom Tillis of North Carolina. Mr. Gardner and Mr. Tillis are both facing tough re-election fights in swing states.
Mr. Bolton started the PAC in 2013 to advocate his interventionist foreign policy views, and it has given away more than $1 million.
Other Republican recipients currently in the Senate include Josh Hawley of Missouri, Roger Wicker of Mississippi, Richard M. Burr of North Carolina, Roy Blunt of Missouri, Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Marco Rubio of Florida.
For weeks, Senator Mitt Romney, Republican of Utah, has been the only Republican senator openly supportive of calling John R. Bolton, the former White House national security adviser, to testify in President Trump’s impeachment trial.
But on Monday, Mr. Romney predicted he may soon be less lonely, based on conversations he has had with Republican colleagues in the wake of the revelation that Mr. Bolton writes in a forthcoming book that Mr. Trump directly conditioned military aid for Ukraine on the country providing information about his political rivals.
“I think it’s increasingly likely that other Republicans will join those of us who think we should hear from John Bolton,” he told reporters in the Capitol.
Mr. Romney would not say which senators he was referring to, but said he had spoken with several in the wake of The Times report.
Pressure on Republican senators to call witnesses in President Trump’s impeachment trial is not only building in Washington. It is building at home.
On Monday, Majority Forward, an arm of a political action committee affiliated with Senate Democrats, announced it will be airing two new 30-second digital advertisements — one called “Oath,” and the other called “Rigged” — aimed at five Republican senators facing tough re-election battles: Martha McSally of Arizona; Cory Gardner of Colorado; Susan Collins of Maine; Joni Ernst of Iowa and Thom Tillis of North Carolina.
Republicans have so far been mostly silent in the wake of a damaging New York Times report about John Bolton, Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, who is high on Democrats’ lists of potential witnesses and is writing a memoir scheduled for release in March.
“By refusing to get the facts and demand a fair trial from the onset, Senate Republicans are putting party politics over principle,” said J.B. Poersch, a former adviser to Senator Chuck Schumer, the minority leader, who is now president of Senate Majority Pac, which is financing the ad. “Our new ad campaign urges these vulnerable incumbents to do their jobs and demand a fair trial now.”
Mr. Bolton’s account that Mr. Trump told him he did not want to release $391 million in military aid to Ukraine until that country’s leaders investigated Democrats directly contradicts Mr. Trump’s assertion that there was no “quid pro quo” demand for investigations in exchange for the funding.
Revelations about a manuscript of John R. Bolton’s forthcoming book on his time as President Trump’s national security adviser have cranked up pressure on senators to subpoena him to testify in the impeachment trial. But they raise another natural question: Could the Democratic House simply subpoena Mr. Bolton itself if the Senate refuses?
Technically, yes — and it may come to that eventually if the Senate refuses.
But for now the House impeachment managers are refusing to entertain the idea, determined to keep pressure on senators to seek any relevant information as they are in the middle of a trial to decide whether to remove Mr. Trump from office.
“I don’t want to go into any kind of backup plan,” Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California and the lead impeachment manager, said Monday morning on CNN. “The reality is the senators ought to hear this witness firsthand.”
The reality is House Democrats know it would be far less valuable and potentially far more complicated for them to do the subpoenaing. Mr. Bolton said earlier this month that he would be willing to bypass the courts and quickly testify at the trial if subpoenaed. But when the House requested his appearance last fall during its impeachment inquiry and threatened a subpoena, his lawyer privately informed the committee that he would go to court rather than outright agree to testify — opening a legal fight that could have taken months or longer to sort out.
There is no guarantee Mr. Bolton would skip that legal fight to appear before the House if the Senate bypasses its opportunity to hear from him. Nor, Democrats know, would it even be as impactful if he did eventually testify in the House after a Senate acquittal is complete.
Such a hearing may produce terrible headlines for the president that could hurt him politically, but they would probably be discounted by the fact that the Senate would have already deemed his actions unworthy of removal from office.
Republicans also know this and have begun to suggest it is the House, not the Senate’s responsibility, to call Mr. Bolton. Even Mr. Trump had the idea Monday morning, misrepresenting the fact that the House did request Mr. Bolton’s testimony during its inquiry.
“The Democrat controlled House never even asked John Bolton to testify,” he incorrectly asserted on Twitter. “It is up to them, not up to the Senate!”
Republican defenders of President Trump on Monday redoubled their efforts to block any witnesses from being called in the impeachment trial in the wake of revelations from John R. Bolton, the president’s former national security adviser, that Mr. Trump directly linked Ukraine security aid to investigations of Democrats.
Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina and a staunch ally of Mr. Trump, warned on Twitter on Monday that if the Senate voted to consider witnesses, Republicans would insist on calling people who Mr. Trump considers “relevant” to the case, a list that includes former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son, Hunter Biden.
The tweet was in essence a renewal of a threat that Republicans have been using for weeks to try and discourage Democrats for pushing for witnesses. But it also underscored how Sunday’s news about Mr. Bolton may have increased the likelihood that the Senate will vote to hear from witnesses.
Before The New York Times’s report about the contents of Mr. Bolton’s manuscript, it appeared that there would not be enough Republican support to call witnesses. Mr. Graham’s warning suggests that Republicans may be less confident now, and are intensifying their efforts to do what they can to avoid it.
Just four Republican senators would have to vote with Democrats to subpoena witnesses like Mr. Bolton and other top administration officials. Republican Senators Mitt Romney of Utah and Susan Collins of Maine have already indicated they would support calling witnesses, and Mr. Romney has said he wants to hear from Mr. Bolton in particular.
Senators Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, both of whom had previously signaled a potential openness to witnesses, more recently have suggested they might not vote to insist on them. But that was before the revelations about Mr. Bolton.
President Trump’s legal team’s second day of oral arguments in the Senate impeachment trial opens with fresh uncertainty on Monday, after The New York Times reported that the White House has for weeks had an unpublished manuscript by John R. Bolton, the former national security adviser, asserting that Mr. Trump refused to release military assistance for Ukraine until the country gave him investigative information about his political rivals.
By Monday morning, several Republican senators had angrily called the White House trying to determine who at the administration knew about Mr. Bolton’s manuscript, which aides there have had for several weeks, and what was in it. They told the White House they felt blindsided, according to people briefed on the calls who insisted on anonymity to describe private discussions.
One reason for their ire is that Mr. Bolton’s account flies in the face of the rationale the president’s lawyers have offered the Senate for his actions, and which many Republicans have latched onto themselves as a defense of his conduct.
For several days, Mr. Trump’s legal team’s defense of his hold on $391 million in aid earmarked for Ukraine has been that he never linked the freeze to his desire for investigations into Democrats, including former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. Specifically, his team has zeroed in on the testimony of Gordon D. Sondland, the United States ambassador to the European Union, that he “presumed” the linkage, and that president cared more about an announcement than an actual investigation.
In the manuscript, Mr. Bolton writes that Mr. Trump told him in August that he didn’t want to free up the aid until Ukraine turned over Russia investigation materials related to Hillary Clinton, Mr. Trump’s opponent in 2016, and Mr. Biden, a leading candidate for the Democratic nomination this year.
That undercuts the claim by the deputy White House counsel, Michael Purpura, made in the well of the Senate on Saturday, that “not a single witness testified that the president himself said that there was any connection between any investigations and security assistance and a presidential meeting or anything else.”
While Mr. Bolton never testified, he has said he will testify if he receives a subpoena.
John Ullyot, a spokesman for the National Security Council, issued a carefully worded statement on Monday morning, 16 hours after the Times story was published.
“Ambassador Bolton’s manuscript was submitted to the N.S.C. for pre-publication review and has been under initial review by the N.S.C.,” he said. “No White House personnel outside N.S.C. have reviewed the manuscript.”
“I NEVER told John Bolton that the aid to Ukraine was tied to investigations into Democrats, including the Bidens,” President Trump wrote just after midnight, referring to a widely debunked theory that the president had pursued about former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son Hunter.
In an unpublished manuscript of his upcoming book, Mr. Bolton described the White House decision to withhold military aid from Ukraine until he left the White House in September. As national security adviser, Mr. Bolton would have been involved in many of the high-level discussions about Ukraine.
More on Bolton’s Revelations
The news of John R. Bolton’s account describing how President Trump tied aid for Ukraine to investigations into the Bidens, given in an unpublished book, first reported by The New York Times, could hardly come at a worse time for Mr. Trump, just as his lawyers have opened his defense on the Senate floor.
Senators will decide, probably by the end of the week, whether to call witnesses like Mr. Bolton. Until now, Mr. Trump seemed assured not only of acquittal but appeared likely to fend off the testimony of any more witnesses.
When Mr. Trump’s lawyers address the Senate Monday afternoon, they will face the challenge of explaining how his own former top aide says the president did exactly what they say he did not do — or trying to ignore it altogether.
The White House legal team will resume its opening arguments at 1 p.m. at the impeachment trial on Monday in dramatically new circumstances, with calls intensifying for the Senate to hear from witnesses after new revelations surfaced from John R. Bolton, President Trump’s former national security adviser.
The Times reported on Sunday that in drafts of an unpublished manuscript, Mr. Bolton recounts a conversation with the president in August in which Mr. Trump said he preferred not to unfreeze $391 million in security assistance to Ukraine unless officials there helped with investigations he sought into Democrats. That account directly contradicts two key components of the president’s impeachment defense: that the decision to freeze the aid was independent from his requests that Ukraine announce politically motivated investigations, and that Democrats had only “presumption” and hearsay to prove otherwise.
House Democratic managers said in a statement on Sunday night that “there can be no doubt now” that Mr. Bolton must be called as a witness. But the few Republicans who have indicated an openness to hearing from witnesses, such as Senator Susan Collins of Maine, had yet to respond to reports of the book. By Monday morning, some Republican senators had contacted the White House to inquire about who had visibility into the manuscript as the Senate trial unfolded a week earlier.
Mr. Trump pushed back on Mr. Bolton’s claims early Monday morning on Twitter, saying that his former adviser “never complained about this at the time of his very public termination,” and that Mr. Bolton was looking to sell books.
“I NEVER told John Bolton that the aid to Ukraine was tied to investigations into Democrats, including the Bidens,” Mr. Trump wrote just after midnight.
The White House lawyers will open their first extended day of arguments in the trial at 1 p.m., when they will expand on points they introduced in a brief two-hour session on Saturday. They have around 22 hours of time allotted to them on Monday and Tuesday to counter the House Democratic managers, but are not expected to use all of it.