Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham said Monday he will seek to obtain a copy of the unpublished manuscript from former national security adviser John Bolton, a move that could bring new evidence into President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial.
“I want to see what’s in the manuscript,” Graham told reporters, one day after the New York Times reported that Bolton recounts being a first-hand witness to Trump’s request to hold up aid to Ukraine.
Graham, one of Trump’s top allies on Capitol Hill, spoke cautiously about meeting Democrats’ demand for new evidence or witnesses, but did not rule out the possibility.
“It could, I don’t know yet,” Graham said, when asked if the Bolton news changed his calculation. “The White House said there was no direct evidence of communications. Maybe this suggests that one person said there might be.”
“Let’s see what’s in the manuscript, let’s see if it’s relevant, and if it is, I’ll make a decision about Bolton,” Graham said.
He also would not say exactly how he would obtain the documents, or whether he would support a subpoena to obtain the documents. He did not say if he planned to make any of the documents public.
“It shouldn’t be that hard,” Graham said. “Apparently the White House has it, you can ask for it.”
The South Carolina Republican’s comments are another sign of the rapidly shifting dynamics going into the second full week of the trial, a direct result of Sunday’s report that Bolton has first-hand knowledge that Trump was personally attempting to hold up nearly $400 million in aid to Ukraine until that nation pursued investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.
It’s a far cry from Graham’s remarks just over 24 hours ago, when he warned that calling in witnesses would create only more havoc.
“What do we do?” Graham said. “Delay the trial so the president can go to court? Or do we as the Senate destroy the president’s ability to go to court — a bad spot to be in in the Senate … If we seek witnesses, then we’re going to throw the country into chaos,” Graham said on Fox News Sunday.
If Graham does indeed bring in new evidence, it could dramatically alter the Senate’s path to acquitting Trump — a vote that was initially expected as soon as this week. T
But speaking on Monday, Graham also made clear that he does not plan to drop the GOP’s efforts to bring in witnesses like the Bidens in Trump’s trial. Democrats have strongly rejected the idea.
“But I promise you this, if we add to the record, we’re going to call Hunter Biden, Joe Biden, all these other people,” Graham said.
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