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Donald Trump and his legal team worked into the night after a bombshell New York Times article quoted a former White House aid who heard Trump say he would withhold aid to the Ukraine.

At least 2 Republican senators appear to be reconsidering their vote to call witnesses during the Senate impeachment trial.

According to the New York Times article, former National Security Advisor John Bolton confirmed there was a quid pro quo by Trump. Bolton said he heard Trump say he would refuse to releases hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to the Ukraine unless they helped investigate corruption by former VP Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.

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But Trump accused Bolton (pictured right) of outright lies. Trump sent out a series of late-night tweets insisting he never had that conversation with Bolton or adviser Rudy Giuliani. The president said Bolton made up the allegations to sell books.

House Democrats declined to call Bolton to testify during the House impeachment hearings in December. But House impeachment managers insist Republican senators should call Bolton to hear his crucial testimony.

According to an unpublished manuscript of Bolton's new book, Trump said he would freeze military aid to Ukraine unless it helped investigate the Bidens.

Democrats need at least 4 senators to vote with them to call new witnesses to testify.

Two GOP senators, including Maine Senator Susan Collins, have indicated they will reconsider their decisions not to call witnesses.

The Senate trial was scheduled to wrap up on Friday, but the shocking new developments may extend the trial for weeks.

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House impeachment managers made their opening statements on day 2 of Donald Trump's impeachment trial on the Senate floor on Wednesday, Jan. 22.

The 7 House Democrat impeachment managers are pictured (L-R) Rep. Jason Crow, of Colorado; Val Demings, of Florida; Sen. Adam Schiff, of California; Rep. Sylvia Garcia, of Texas; Rep. Zoe Lofgren, of California; Rep. Jerrold "Jerry" Nadler, of NY; and Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, of NY.

Tuesday's opening session drew 11 million TV viewers. Republicans seemed uninterested and bored as lead manager Schiff pleaded for help removing "corrupt" President Trump from office on Wednesday.

President Trump is on trial for abuse of power and obstruction of justice. He was impeached by House Democrats in December.

Now it's the Senate's turn to either vote to remove Trump from office or acquit him of all charges.

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff invoked the founding fathers and quoted Alexander Hamilton in his lengthy opening statement.

As Schiff's opening statement dragged on, some Republican Senators left their seats and disappeared into the hall.

According to the NY Daily News, at one point, South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham was gone for 30 minutes. Other senators also disappeared for lengthy coffee breaks while Schiff spoke to empty seats.

Democratic senators who sat and listened to 9 hours of opening statements were dismayed and "disheartened" at the lack of interest shown by their Republican counterparts.

"I don't have any insight into what they're thinking, but there are moments in a trial when people vote with their feet," said Delaware Senator Chris Coons.

"Jurors don't get to do that in a real jury. We are acting as if [we're] a jury, and it is somewhat disconcerting to have folks absent for long periods of time."
But Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy begged to differ.

Cassidy, who took two 20-minute breaks, said it wasn't necessary for him to sit there and listen to the same evidence he has already heard.

"If they say something I've not previously heard I write it down. Just new facts, it helps me focus," Cassidy said.

Screenshot: Senate Television via Getty Images

Hakeem Jeffries, who quoted the late rapper Notorious B.I.G., was interrupted by a heckler during his opening statement.

House Democrats hope to convince at least four Republicans to vote with them to allow subpoenas of records and key witnesses including national security advisor John Bolton and White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney.

Republicans offered a horse-trading deal to allow testimony by Bolton in exchange for authorizing them to subpoena Joe or Hunter Biden.

But Democrats quickly shot down the deal. "That's off the table," said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).

Joe Biden, who was in Iowa speaking to voters on Wednesday, also said no to the deal.

"The reason I would not make the deal, the bottom line is, this is a constitutional issue," Biden said. "We're not going to turn it into a farce or political theater. I want no part of that."

House managers are expected to continue their opening statements on Thursday and Friday. Each side is given 24 hours for opening statements before Trump's legal team is allowed to rebut.

There are rumors that Trump's lawyers may rest their case without any rebuttal. But Trump's legal team denied the rumors.

"There's a lot of things I'd like to rebut," said Trump's top lawyer Jay Sekulow, "and we will rebut."

After the rebuttal, the Senate will vote to acquit or remove the president without calling any witnesses.

President Trump, who is attending the economic forum in Switzerland, is optimistic of a quick acquittal.

"We have a great case," he told reporters.

Trump said he didn't object to Bolton or other witnesses testifying during the Senate trial, but he claimed "national security" concerns might prevent them from doing so.

Trump blocked Bolton and other key witnesses from testifying during the House impeachment hearings in December.

The Senate trial is expected to wrap up next week.

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The first full day of Donald Trump's Senate impeachment trial adjourned at 1:50 a.m. Wednesday after 13 hours of intense debates.

In December, House Democrats voted to impeach President Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of justice. Now it's the Senate's turn to either vote to remove Trump from office or acquit him of all charges.

The Senate passed Mitch McConnell's impeachment trial rules after heated debates on the Senate floor.

McConnell's rules gives each side 24 hours to argue their cases. Then the Senate will quickly vote to either convict or acquit the President of the United States.

The trial is expected to end next week without calling any witnesses.

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (left) slammed the rules set by Senate Majority Leader McConnell (right), which she claims are a cover-up attempt by President Trump.

Pelosi criticized McConnell's rules as a "dark of night impeachment trial," claiming that he has "misled the American people."

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In a statement on Tuesday, Pelosi said: "Leader McConnell's process is deliberately designed to hide the truth from the Senate and from the American people."

All 11 of the amendments introduced by the Democrats on the Senate floor were shot down by Republicans on Tuesday.

The Democrats wanted to subpoena key witnesses who have insider knowledge of the phone call between President Trump and the Ukrainian president last year.

One of the amendments introduced by the Democrats sparked a heated exchange between House Judiciary Committee chief Jerry Nadler and Trump's high-powered legal team.

Nadler accused Trump's lawyers of attempting a cover-up by blocking key witnesses, including Ambassador John Bolton, NBC News reported.

"Will you bring Ambassador Bolton here?" Nadler asked. "Will you permit us to present you with the entire record of the president's misconduct? Or will you instead choose to be complicit in the president's cover-up?"

Nadler further accused "a lot of senators" of "voting for a cover-up... a treacherous vote."

Nadler said Senate Republicans were traitors who should be embarrassed.

His accusations irked Trump's lead attorney Pat Cippolone, who clapped back, saying it's Nadler who should be embarrassed.

"The only one who should be embarrassed, Mr. Nadler, is you for the way you've addressed [the Senators]. This is the United States Senate. You're not in charge here!"

The heated exchange earned a rebuke from Chief Supreme Court Justice John Roberts, who reminded both parties that they are "addressing the world's greatest deliberative body."

Roberts added: "I do think those addressing the Senate should remember where they are!"
The Senate impeachment trial will resume at 1 p.m. Wednesday with opening arguments from House Democrats.

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President Trump's long-awaited Senate trial is underway on Capitol Hill. After dispensing of pre-trial procedures last week, the Senate opened Trump's impeachment trial on Tuesday. The trial is expected to wrap up as soon as next week.

Trump was impeached by Nancy Pelosi's House Democrats in December for asking the Ukrainian president to investigate Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden for corruption and interfering in the 2016 elections.

High-powered attorneys Alan Dershowitz and Ken Starr head Trump's legal team. Starr prosecuted Bill Clinton during his impeachment.

Adam Schiff said Trump has the right to call witnesses, but Schiff warned Trump's high-powered defense team not to call Hunter Biden as a witness.

Schiff, who heads the Democratic managers for the House, insisted that calling Biden as a witness would amount to "abuse".

Republicans accused Biden of using his power to enrich his sons who earned tens of millions of dollars while Biden was vice president to Barack Obama.

"It would not be appropriate for the president to seek to call witnesses merely to try to perpetuate the same smear campaign that was foiled when his plot was discovered," Schiff said in an interview on the CBS Evening News.

"Hunter Biden, for example, can't tell us anything about whether the president withheld military aid, whether he withheld that aid to coerce Ukraine to conduct political investigations or how he wouldn't meet with the president of Ukraine."

Schiff added: That's an illegitimate abuse of the trial. The chief justice, who may have an opportunity to rule on material witnesses, as well as senators should not permit that kind of abuse."

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is ready to transmit the articles of impeachment to the Senate, after sitting on the documents for three weeks. Pelosi said she will transmit the articles next week.

The House Democrats voted unanimously to impeach President Donald Trump in December. But Pelosi delayed sending the articles of impeachment to the Senate for the second phase of the impeachment process - the trial.

In a letter to her Democratic colleagues on Friday, Pelosi said she asked Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler to prepare a resolution to appoint managers to transmit the articles of impeachment next week.

Pelosi was under increasing pressure from both sides of the aisle to transmit the articles, after she claimed impeaching Trump was "urgent" and "necessary" to preserve the legitimacy of the 2020 elections.

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The House has no control over the Senate trial, but Pelosi refused to send the documents until Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell advised her of the steps he would take to try Trump. Pelosi is pictured with McConnell in a photo dated Dec. 8, 2016.

"Every Senator now faces a choice: to be loyal to the President or to the Constitution," Pelosi wrote in the letter to her colleagues. "No one is above the law, not even the President."

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The Senate will go forward with the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (right) announced Tuesday.

McConnell said 51 Senators voted to move forward with the trial without the articles of impeachment, which House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi (left) has refused to send to the Senate after House Democrats voted to impeach Trump last month.

"We have the votes," McConnell said in a press conference on Tuesday.

McConnell said the Senate will follow the precedent set by the Clinton impeachment trial 22 years ago.

"What's good for President Clinton is good for President Trump," McConnell said in response to a question about the Senate vote to call witnesses.

"We'll get around to discussion of witnesses," he added. "51 Senators determine what we do."

Pelosi previously said she would turn over the articles of impeachment to the Senate when she was assured there would be a fair trial.

During a meeting with the visiting Greek Prime Minister on Tuesday afternoon, Trump said he is ready for the Senate trial.

"It's a hoax; the impeachment is a big hoax," he said. "It's become a laughing stock all over the world... In many ways, it's one of the greatest hoaxes ever perpetrated on our country," he told reporters.

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Kim Kardashian-West and rapper A$AP Rocky were name dropped during Wednesday's Trump impeachment hearings on Capitol Hill, according to Variety.com.

As you know, the Democrats are attempting to impeach President Donald Trump for using a foreign power to investigate possible corruption by former Obama Vice President Joe Biden.

Gordon Sondland testified during the impeachment inquiry on Wednesday. Sondland, the wealthy hotel chain owner who donated at least $1 million to Trump's inaugural committee, was appointed by Trump as U.S. ambassador to the European Union.

According to an earwitness, Sondland called Trump on an unsecured cell phone from the patio of a restaurant to discuss rapper A$AP Rocky's detainment in Sweden.

Sondland was treating foreign service officials to lunch, including David Holmes, who testified in a deposition on Nov. 15 that he overheard Sondland discussing the rapper with President Trump on the phone.

"Ambassador Sondland told the president that the rapper was, quote unquote, kind of eff'd there," said Holmes, who added that Sondland told Trump that Rocky "should have pled guilty."

Holmes added: "He recommended that the President, quote, wait until after the sentencing or it would only make it worse, unquote, adding, the President should, quote, let him get sentenced, play the racism card, and give him a ticker-tape when he comes home."

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Photos: Getty Images

Holmes, left, said Sondland, right, also told Trump that, "Sweden should have released him on your word, and "tell the Kardashians you tried."

Testifying before the committee on Wednesday morning, Sondland said he vaguely remembered the conversation about A$AP Rocky. "Yeah, what triggered my memory was someone's reference to A$AP Rocky, which was I believe the primary purpose of the phone call," Sondland said.

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One week earlier, TMZ broke the news that Kim Kardashian-West and her husband, Kanye West, contacted Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law, to enlist Trump's aid in securing A$AP Rocky's release from jail.

To date Rocky has never thanked Trump for speaking to the Swedish government on his behalf.

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YouTube.com

If you missed Wednesday's 6-hour House Intelligence Committee impeachment hearings against President Trump, apparently you didn't miss much.

Officer Brandon Tatum gives a quick recap of the hearings which began with House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff denying he even knows who the whistleblower is. That's funny, because everyone knows who the whistleblower is.

Then Schiff refused to allow the whistleblower to testify. But isn't that their entire case against the President?

Yesterday, I was reminded that the Republicans also tried to impeach former President Barack Obama. I was asked if I forgot about those hearings held by the Republicans when Obama was in office? Yes, I forgot. Mainly because I wasn't paying attention.

I suspect that millions of Americans aren't paying attention to these impeachment hearings or the previous efforts to impeach Trump.

They will make their voices heard at the ballot box in November 2020. That's the American way.
 

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New York magazine

President Donald Trump is apparently unbothered by the first ever public impeachment hearings set to begin this morning on Capitol Hill. Trump will be busy hosting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the White House when the hearings get underway.

Witnesses are expected to testify that they heard or overheard reports of Trump asking a foreign leader to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden in a phone call earlier this year.

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Trump has denied any wrongdoing and he released a transcript of his phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on July 25. "The transcript is perfect," Trump said.

Congress is reportedly furious that Trump is hosting the Turkish leader at the White House while the impeachment hearings are underway. The two men are expected to hold talks on subjects that include military aid and terrorism in the Middle East.

The Democrats, led by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, are desperate to remove Trump from office before the 2020 presidential elections when their candidates have virtually no chance of defeating him at the polls.

Schiff claims Trump is guilty of bribery, treason, high crimes or misdemeanors - the Constitutional standards by which Congress can impeach a sitting president.

According to Schiff, Trump threatened to withhold military aid to Ukraine if they didn't agree to investigate the Bidens, among other impeachable offenses.