As President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial unfolds, Courthouse News will be gathering interviews with senators, members of Congress, attorneys and other newsmakers in the corridors of the Capitol for this regular feature.
WASHINGTON (CN) — White House lawyers delivered their first full day of opening arguments in the Senate on Monday, but the talk of Capitol Hill broke a day earlier, in the New York Times.
Politicians and other newsmakers chimed in on the sneak peak the paper of record offered on Ambassador John Bolton’s book and takes on the ongoing impeachment trial for this Courthouse News regular feature.
6:51 p.m. Senator John Thune, R-S.D., on His Way Into the Senate Chamber
A New York Times report that former national security adviser John Bolton's forthcoming book says Trump told him in August that a $391 million military aid package to Ukraine was on hold until the country announced investigations into the Bidens has shaken up the conversation over whether the Senate will hear from additional witnesses at President Donald Trump's impeachment trial.
When asked if he was blindsided by news of the manuscript, Thune, the Senate Republican whip, paused before confirming.
"Yeah. I mean, I was caught off guard. I assume that was true for most of our members."
6:20 p.m. Senator Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Senate Reporter Pen, Second Floor
Cruz told reporters Monday he thought presentations by Trump’s defense team had been devastating to House impeachment managers’ case. Cruz, who believes Trump's investigations into Ukrainian corruption and 2016 election interference were warranted, thinks House Democrats deflected investigations into Burisma corruption with Biden by attacking President Trump for those actions.
When asked about an unreleased copy of John Bolton’s manuscript reportedly obtained by the New York Times, Cruz said the issue over the manuscript’s contents was not where the Senate was focused on throughout Monday’s hearings. The ultimate issue before the body was whether or not Trump’s actions constituted an impeachable offense, he said.
“I haven’t read the book. I’ve read media accounts of what’s in the book. One of the amazing things about all the testimony in the House is how much of it was hearsay … I don’t think I’ve ever heard quadruple hearsay before. But we heard today how the House testimony was ‘Sondland said, Volker told him, Rudy told him, the President told him.’ That’s four levels back. I don’t know if anyone’s played the game with your kids of telephone where you say one word and whisper it around, you go four levels and you could turn ‘zucchini’ into ‘unicorn.’ That’s the House’s case.”
6:07 p.m. Mike Rounds, R-S.D., Coming Out of a Republican Dinner (Featuring Chick-fil-A)