John Bolton Reportedly Recalls Trump Tying Ukraine Aid To Biden Investigation

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The former national security adviser described the account in drafts of his book outline obtained by The New York Times.

Former national security adviser John Bolton reportedly wrote in an outline for a book that President Donald Trump tied the withheld Ukraine aid to the country’s announcement that it would investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter. 

Drafts of the book outline obtained by The New York Times describe Trump telling Bolton in August that he wanted to continue freezing nearly $400 million in congressionally approved military assistance to Ukraine until officials there agreed to help investigate his political rival. 

Trump denied Bolton’s reported account in a tweet Sunday night, and insisted he “never” told Bolton the Ukraine aid was tied to “investigations into Democrats.” The president also said Bolton “never complained about this,” apparently referring to freezing the military aid.

A key part of Trump’s defense in the impeachment process has been that his decision to withhold the aid was completely separate from his request for Ukraine to investigate the Bidens. Tying the two together would indicate that Trump attempted a quid pro quo with a foreign government in order to sway the 2020 presidential election ― which Democrats have said was the case since the impeachment inquiry began. 

According to the Times, Bolton alleged that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo privately admitted there was no basis to Rudy Giuliani’s claims that ousted U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch was corrupt, and he believed Trump’s personal attorney was acting on behalf of other clients.

Bolton also wrote that acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney was around for at least one phone call during which Trump and Giuliani discussed Yovanovitch, according to the Times.

Bolton also reportedly said he raised his concerns about Giuliani’s shadow diplomacy with Attorney General William Barr after Trump’s July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Bolton alleged that he was the one who informed Barr that the president mentioned him on the call, according to the Times. A spokesperson for Barr told the publication he denied that allegation.

Bolton’s account of Trump’s alleged remarks were included in the former national security adviser’s unpublished manuscript, which he has been circulating to close associates. The book, according to the Times, represents what Bolton might say in a testimony if the Senate calls him as a witness in Trump’s impeachment trial.

In response to the Times report, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) reiterated his demands for the upper chamber to call witnesses to testify in the impeachment trial. Bolton has said that he would testify before senators if subpoenaed, but Senate Republicans have repeatedly stonewalled efforts to call any witnesses or bring any additional evidence.

“John Bolton has the evidence,” Schumer tweeted Sunday night. “It’s up to four Senate Republicans to ensure that John Bolton, Mick Mulvaney, and the others with direct knowledge of President Trump’s actions testify in the Senate trial.”

The Democratic House impeachment managers also released a statement regarding the Times report.

“There is no defensible reason to wait until his book is published, when the information he has to offer is critical to the most important decision Senators must now make ― whether to convict the President of impeachable offenses,” the statement read.

The trial for Trump, who the House impeached in December, began earlier this month. House impeachment managers spent three days last week presenting their opening arguments to senators, while Trump’s defense team spent a short time on Saturday presenting their side. It’s unclear if the Senate will follow through with calling witnesses before voting on whether to remove the president from office.

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Yahoo News/YouGov poll shows two-thirds of voters want the Senate to call new impeachment witnesses

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Nearly two-thirds of registered voters (63 percent) agree with Democrats that the Senate should call new witnesses to testify during President Trump’s impeachment trial, according to a new Yahoo News/YouGov poll. Only 26 percent of voters disagree.

Conducted on Jan. 21 and 22 as the Senate trial was getting underway, the poll suggests that broad majorities of Americans side with Democrats in the pitched partisan battle over whether new witnesses should be allowed to testify or whether they should be blocked, as Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has maintained.

In the survey, 85 percent of Democrats and 53 percent of independents said the Senate should call new witnesses. Among Republicans surveyed, 43 percent said the Senate should not call new witnesses, while 35 percent said witnesses should be called and 22 percent indicated they were unsure on the question.

When asked about specific possible witnesses, majorities of voters said they wanted to hear from each of the four Trump allies Democrats have formally identified. Sixty percent of voters said they wanted to hear from Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani; 57 percent said they wanted to hear from Trump’s secretary of state, Mike Pompeo; 53 percent said they wanted to hear from Trump’s former national security adviser, John Bolton; and 50 percent said they wanted to hear from Trump’s acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney. In each case, only about a quarter of voters said they did not want to hear from these figures. Both Giuliani and Bolton have said they would testify if summoned or subpoenaed.

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Registered voters were slightly less interested in Giuliani’s Ukraine fixer Lev Parnas, but a plurality (47 percent) still said they wanted to hear from him. Lest Democrats get too excited about those numbers, registered voters also support summoning both Joe Biden (52 percent in favor vs. 36 percent against) and Hunter Biden (50 percent in favor vs. 34 percent against) to testify.

Either way, the Americans surveyed expressed a lack of confidence in the Senate trial, with a plurality (42 percent) saying it will not be conducted fairly — 10 points higher than the percentage who say the trial will be fair. Among Democrats, the “unfair” response number rises to 63 percent, and a plurality of independents (40 percent) agree. Only Republicans (57 percent) believe the Senate will conduct a fair trial. A December Yahoo News/YouGov poll found that a plurality of Americans (49 percent) believed that House impeachment hearings had been fair to Trump.

Overall, registered voters remained divided over whether the president should be removed from office, with 46 percent saying he should, 45 percent saying he shouldn’t and nine percent saying they’re not sure. Three-quarters of registered voters, however, predict that the Republican-controlled Senate will decline to convict and remove Trump.

That said, a full 64 percent of registered voters in states holding an election for a Senate seat this November say that their senator’s vote on impeachment will be a “very important” factor in how they vote on Election Day, and 67 percent of voters nationwide say they are either following the trial “very closely” (35 percent) or “somewhat closely” (32 percent). Even if the outcome of Trump’s trial seems preordained, the stakes remain high.

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American Latinos United launches super PAC in effort to defeat Donald Trump in 2020

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The group is led by former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

In a bid to capture one of the most quickly growing segments of American voters, American Latinos United has launched a new political action committee focused on defeating President Donald Trump in the upcoming 2020 presidential election.

Led by former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and entrepreneur Fernando Espuelas, the committee will specialize in Latino voter engagement in key swing states in hopes of propelling the Democratic nominee, whoever that turns out to be, to victory.

"President Trump captured about 30% of the Hispanic vote in 2016. If he falls under that threshold in 2020, key battleground states will be out of his reach," Espuelas said in a statement. "With the Electoral College in play, we intend to empower Latinos in battleground states to defeat Trump with their votes."

The committee said it is looking to take advantage of its veteran politicians and technological innovation in order to craft messaging directed at Latinos as well as engaging in on-the-ground activation. Using traditional media and digital media platforms, their team will engage voters in Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin

Also, ALU will attempt to connect with single-issue voters that have not historically voted for Democratic candidates in hopes of "educating them about the moral danger that Trump represents."

"Our country is on a precipice. President Trump’s incompetence and corruption are threatening our democracy and the American way of life," said Villaraigosa, who was mayor of L.A. from 2005 to 2013 and unsuccessfully ran for governor of California in 2018.

"Latino voters can make all the difference -- if we know how to engage and activate the millions of people that sit out most elections," he added. "Through ALU, we’ll connect deeply with our community and create the mechanisms to turn out the vote in historic proportions."

Trump launched his own initiative aimed at Hispanic voters, called "Latinos for Trump," last year and held a rally in September in New Mexico. The rally featured an awkward exchange when he introduced Hispanic Advisory Council member Steve Cortes, asking him if he loved Hispanics or the country more. Trump's long-standing attacks on immigration, largely coming from Mexico, has caused a rift between him and Hispanic voters.

In a ABC News/Washington Post poll from September, Trump's approval rating among Hispanics stood at 25%, far below his 50% approval among whites.

About 40.4% of eligible Latino voters came out to the polls during the 2018 midterm elections -- about 11.7 million voters in total, according to the Pew Research Center. A record 32 million Latinos are expected to be eligible to vote in 2020, making them the nation's largest minority for the first time.

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