Meanwhile, the controversy about the witnesses continues.
Lawyers for US President Donald Trump are finalizing their arguments in the Senate impeachment trial on Tuesday, while the question of bringing in witnesses and documents remains open.
During Monday’s hearing, the defense, while laying out arguments for Trump’s acquittal, ignored claims by former national security adviser John Bolton that trump linked the issue of providing military assistance to Ukraine to investigations of his political opponents.
This undermines the main argument of Trump’s defense about the lack of a “quid pro quo” agreement with Ukraine.
However, on Monday evening, Trump’s lawyer, Alan Dershowitz, tried to downplay the significance of Bolton’s words.
“Nothing that Bolton claims, even if it is true, falls short of the level of abuse of power or violation that entails impeachment,” he said in the Senate.
Meanwhile, Democrats and two Republican senators are calling for Bolton to be called as a witness.
A four-hour debate is expected to take place on Friday on whether to call Bolton and other witnesses and subpoena documents from the White House and other government agencies. Republican senators Mitt Romney and Susan Collins said it was important to hear Bolton’s testimony, but for the Senate to approve the subpoena, Democrats need the support of at least four Republicans.
Trump has repeatedly called his July conversation with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky “flawless,” but his lawyer, Robert Ray, gave a more restrained assessment.
“When trying to get action from a foreign government and coordinate law enforcement efforts with our government, it would be better to act through the proper channels,” he said.
At the same time, Ray stressed: “It is quite another matter to argue that such behavior clearly and unambiguously constitutes an abuse of power that entails impeachment.”
“There can be no serious doubt that this or any other President is acting lawfully by asking a foreign state for help in investigating corruption, even if it could potentially affect another politician,” the lawyer added. “To insist otherwise is to make a false assumption that a presidential candidate or any candidate has absolute immunity from investigations during the campaign.”