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Trump ally warns of 'mortal threat' to his presidency

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  1. Shawn Beasley

    October 9, 2019 at 7:56 pm

    I guess he was also joking when he asked for Elizabeth Warren to be investigated by a foreign government…

  2. Peter Martell

    October 9, 2019 at 7:56 pm

    THIS GUY IS A LIAR. why interview a liar

  3. colette s

    October 9, 2019 at 7:56 pm

    biden is not trumps 2020 election rival, trump doesn't have a rival yet. CNN should stop repeating that lie There is nothing in the phone call about 2020, it's clearly about the crimes of 2016 getting exposed. CNN should stop repeating that lie. We all read the transcript of the phone call, after CNN already started lying about it, not knowing the transcript was going to be released. It's really terrible that CNN continues with the false narrative they started before the truth was exposed. Any further talk of Ukraine is nothing but an attempt at creating the Ukraine hoax. The Ukraine issue has passed, it cannot be a multi week or months of nonsense like the Russia hoax was. CNN….move on, nothing to see here.

  4. Peter Martell

    October 9, 2019 at 7:56 pm

    of course impeachment is political. otherwise LOCK HIM UP

  5. Kennedy Heatherton

    October 9, 2019 at 7:56 pm

    Dam sick KKK Democrats wasting all this time/money/production…. they promote belief system that created slavery, horrific abuse of all!!! they live in LaLa land and are so dangerous……it's like watching a bunch of meth heads……… we have to put an end to their mental illness harming our country!!! #Trump2020 #Ivanka2024

  6. Ivor Thomas

    October 9, 2019 at 7:56 pm

    What a smug person this is. Creepy, in his alleged friendship with the most corrupt president in American history.

  7. Thumb Print

    October 9, 2019 at 7:56 pm

    Meanwhile America's Kurdish allies are being murdered.

  8. J C

    October 9, 2019 at 7:56 pm

    Fake impeachment house needs to vote.Trial in Senate we want all players on stand Biden Clinton obuma its going to be awesome.Bring it!

  9. E Wat

    October 9, 2019 at 7:56 pm

    Anyone defending trump at this point shows very little wisdom or rational, critical thinking. Of all the egregious crimes trump has committed, his most disgusting one is being a traitor to the US. He, his family, lackeys & cronies should all be thrown into prison never to see the light of day again.

  10. charlidog2

    October 9, 2019 at 7:56 pm

    Schiff didn't talk to the whistle blower, the whistle blower made contact with Schiff's aide. The aide told him/her to go through the process. Then I think when Barr quashed it, the whistle blower contacted Schiff's office and let them know a complaint existed.
    tRumps circle all "forgot" the dozens of meetings with Russians. All of them. Then the actions of individuals in his campaign. People went to jail.

  11. La Mar

    October 9, 2019 at 7:56 pm

    Truth is by his actions, this president is a Russian asset.

  12. Amaji Raines

    October 9, 2019 at 7:56 pm

    This slimy, hypocritical enabler is a friend of trump's and the CEO of a major news outlet. A toxic and treasonous political cocktail.

  13. InvaderPet

    October 9, 2019 at 7:56 pm

    5:48 "When you have sex…"

  14. Mitch King

    October 9, 2019 at 7:56 pm

    All of you people commenting on this thread, you're filled with resentment, lack any sense of neutrality, and should never serve on any jury. All you do is reinforce and consolidate your personal viewpoint, and disregard any evidence that questions it.

  15. David Graham

    October 9, 2019 at 7:56 pm

    Why give this flip flopping team playing hack the time of day. What a waste of my time

  16. Neill Gowans

    October 9, 2019 at 7:56 pm

    Ruddy is a disgrace. Lie, after lie. When will he stop.

  17. JoAnne Middaugh

    October 9, 2019 at 7:56 pm

    There's is no chance in hell that we will look back at Trump and judge him with less aversion. None…….0%……..not in a million years.

  18. Frank Delgrosso

    October 9, 2019 at 7:56 pm

    I love how they are seriously trying to say Trump making "jokes" about leveling an economy is nothing. This is so next level hypocritical. Pretty sure if I cracked jokes about killing the president it would be taken quite seriously by the secret service.

  19. Sharyl Pearsall

    October 9, 2019 at 7:56 pm

    Glad this idiot can laugh at trumps great and infinite wisdom while the Kurdish allies are being slaughtered. Real funny.

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Politics

Trump rages after Bolton book reportedly claims president tied Ukraine aid to probes

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National security advisor, John Bolton, right, attends a meeting with President Donald Trump and President of Chile, Sebastian Piñera in the Oval Office of the White House on September 28, 2018 in Washington, DC.

Oliver Contreras | The Washington Post | Getty Images

President Donald Trump vented rage Monday on Twitter, denying his ex-national security advisor John Bolton’s reported claim that the president withheld military aid to Ukraine in order to secure investigation into his political opponents.

The New York Times reported Sunday that Bolton, in his upcoming book “The Room Where It Happened,” wrote that Trump personally tied a nearly $400 million aid package to Kyiv to an investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter. CNBC has not seen a copy of Bolton’s manuscript.

But Trump flatly denied the account from Bolton, who left the White House in September amid a public dispute with the president over whether he resigned or was fired.

“I NEVER told John Bolton that the aid to Ukraine was tied to investigations into Democrats, including the Bidens,” Trump tweeted early Monday morning. “In fact, he never complained about this at the time of his very public termination.”

“If John Bolton said this, it was only to sell a book,” Trump claimed.

The Times’ report on Bolton’s book came amid Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate.

Democratic House managers, led by House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., laid out their case last week for Trump’s conviction and removal from office on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, both related to his Ukraine dealings. Trump’s legal team began their defense on Saturday and are set Monday to continue arguing that the president did nothing wrong.

Bolton had been asked to testify during the House impeachment inquiry, but he refused to appear before the Democrat-led committees leading the impeachment investigation.He was not subpoenaed then; the House Intelligence panel said in a Nov. 7 statement that “we have no interest in allowing the Administration to play rope-a-dope with us in the courts for months.”

In early January, however, Bolton said that he would testify in the Senate trial if he was subpoenaed by the Senate.

Trump falsely tweeted Monday that “The Democrat controlled House never even asked John Bolton to testify.”

The Republican-majority Senate will vote on whether to include additional witnesses and documents after both sides have concluded their opening statements.

It’s unclear how likely the chamber is to approve that step; at the start of the trial, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., proposed amendments to the trial rules to issue subpoenas for key witnesses, including Bolton, but each was voted down.

“I think the timing of all of this is very very suspect” White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a Fox News interview earlier Monday. “We stand by exactly what we’ve been saying all along.”

Bolton’s attorney said in a statement Sunday that “It is clear, regrettably, from The New York Times article published today that the prepublication review process has been corrupted and that information has been disclosed by persons other than those properly involved in reviewing the manuscript.”

Trump, meanwhile, asserted in subsequent tweets Monday that the memorandum of his July 25 call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy supported his position. Zelenskiy in that call was asked by Trump to “look into” the Bidens and a debunked conspiracy theory that Ukraine, not Russia, meddled in the 2016 election.

Trump also contrasted his administration with former President Barack Obama’s by noting that Zelenskiy’s government received lethal aid, and bought Javelin anti-tank missiles from the U.S.



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John Bolton’s Account Upends Trump’s Denials, but Will It Upend Trump?

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WASHINGTON — In another time, in another Washington, this might be the moment that changed the trajectory of the presidency. A former national security adviser confirms that the president, despite his denials, conditioned security aid to a war-torn ally on its cooperation against his domestic rivals, the issue at the heart of his ongoing impeachment trial.

At first glance, at least, John R. Bolton’s account of President Trump’s private remarks sounds like an echo of the so-called smoking gun tape that proved that President Richard M. Nixon really had orchestrated the Watergate cover-up and ultimately forced him from office. But this is Mr. Trump’s era and Mr. Trump’s Washington, and the old rules do not always apply.

The reality show star who was elected president even after he was captured on an “Access Hollywood” tape boasting about sexual assault has gone on to survive one revelation after another in the three years since, proving more durable than any national politician in modern American history. So will this be the turning point or just one more disclosure that validates his critics without changing other minds? Will it be another smoking gun or another “Access Hollywood”?

The news of Mr. Bolton’s account in an unpublished book, first reported by The New York Times, could hardly come at a worse time for Mr. Trump, just as his lawyers have opened his defense on the Senate floor and days before the senators will vote on whether to call witnesses like Mr. Bolton. Until now, Mr. Trump seemed assured not only of acquittal but appeared likely to fend off the testimony of any more witnesses.

But the pressure on the handful of Republican senators who had been wavering on calling witnesses will now increase exponentially and the president’s defense has suddenly been thrown into disarray. When Mr. Trump’s lawyers address the Senate Monday afternoon, they will face the challenge of explaining how his own former top aide says the president did exactly what they say he did not do — or trying to ignore it altogether.

What’s perhaps even more shocking is that the White House knew what Mr. Bolton had to say at least as far back as Dec. 30, when he sent his manuscript to the National Security Council for standard pre-publication review to ensure that no classified information would be released, yet continued to promote a completely opposite narrative.

In his book, Mr. Bolton writes that Mr. Trump told him in August that he wanted to continue freezing $391 million in congressionally approved security assistance to Ukraine until its government helped with investigations into Democrats including former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son Hunter Biden — exactly what Mr. Trump is on trial for.

Mr. Trump and his defenders quickly sought to undercut Mr. Bolton by dismissing him as a disgruntled former employee seeking to take revenge and sell books. Mr. Bolton abruptly left the White House in September after months of tension with the president over his policies toward North Korea, Iran, Afghanistan and Ukraine; the president insisted he fired him while Mr. Bolton insisted he resigned.

Starting early Monday morning, hours after the Times’s report on Mr. Bolton’s book, Mr. Trump fired off more than a half-dozen messages on Twitter rebutting his former adviser’s account and attacking him as untrustworthy.

“I NEVER told John Bolton that the aid to Ukraine was tied to investigations into Democrats, including the Bidens,” the president wrote. “In fact, he never complained about this at the time of his very public termination. If John Bolton said this, it was only to sell a book.”

He also reposted messages from supporters assailing Mr. Bolton and comparing him to others the president viewed as disloyal like James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director he fired in 2017. “Just like James Comey, John Bolton is trying to get rich off a lie- and leak-fueled campaign to overturn the 2016 election results,” read one of the messages the president retweeted.

But Mr. Bolton is a hard witness for Mr. Trump to simply brush off. He is no liberal Democrat or deep-state bureaucrat, nor is he even a Never Trump Republican, but a conservative hawk with years of credibility among Republicans and a strong following from his days as ambassador to the United Nations and Fox News commentator. He spent 17 months as Mr. Trump’s national security adviser and knows a lot about what happened on the inside during that time.

Mr. Bolton’s account on its face seems to eviscerate a central part of the defense that the White House began presenting on the Senate floor on Saturday. The president’s lawyers hammered House Democrats for relying on secondhand testimony and argued that no witness had come forward to say that Mr. Trump had explicitly linked the aid to the investigations.

“Most of the Democrats’ witnesses have never spoken to the president at all, let alone about Ukraine security assistance,” Michael R. Purpura, a deputy White House counsel, told the Senate on Saturday. “The two people in the House record who asked President Trump about whether there was any linkage between security assistance and investigations were told in no uncertain terms that there is no connection between the two.”

In their trial brief submitted earlier last week, the president’s lawyers made that one of their key points. “Not a single witness with actual knowledge ever testified that the president suggested any connection between announcing investigations and security assistance,” the lawyers wrote. “Assumptions, presumptions and speculation based on hearsay are all that House Democrats can rely on to spin their tale of a quid pro quo.”

The House managers prosecuting Mr. Trump said that distorted the strength of their evidence, but either way, Mr. Bolton’s recollection is clearly a firsthand account — which at least some in the White House had reason to know at the time the brief was filed and the presentation was made on the Senate floor.

Mr. Bolton has been one of the most intriguing figures in the Ukraine matter for weeks, ever since other former officials testified that he opposed the pressure campaign, calling it a “drug deal” he wanted no part of and warning that Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal attorney organizing the pressure, was a “hand grenade who’s going to blow everybody up.” He told aides to report what they learned about the pressure campaign to a White House lawyer.

Until now, Mr. Bolton has remained publicly silent and, in fact, despite the Times report about his book, has remained so. His lawyer blamed the report on a leak by the White House.

House Democrats requested his testimony during their hearings last month, but they ultimately did not subpoena him, reasoning that a court fight would only prolong the investigative process for months.

Once the House impeached Mr. Trump and the case reached the Senate, Mr. Bolton announced that he would testify if subpoenaed. But Senate Republicans voted against subpoenaing him at the start of the trial, putting off a final decision until after arguments are complete, which could come later this week.

Another witness sought by the House managers, Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, has already publicly confirmed to reporters that Mr. Trump suspended the security aid in part to get Ukraine to investigate a conspiracy theory involving Democrats during the 2016 election campaign, although he later issued a statement trying to take that back.

As damaging as Mr. Bolton’s account would seem to be, it was too early to judge its effect. Unlike the Nixon smoking gun tape, there is no recording — and events of the last three years have suggested even that may not matter.

Mr. Trump has endured so many scandals that would have brought down an ordinary politician not even counting “Access Hollywood.”

Just weeks before moving into the White House, he agreed to pay $25 million to settle fraud claims against Trump University. Since becoming president, he repaid hush money given to Stormy Daniels, the pornographic film actress, to keep quiet about an alleged affair. Another woman has sued him for rape and more than a dozen others have accused him of sexual misconduct.

His son, son-in-law and campaign chairman met with Russians offering “dirt” on his opponent that they said came from the Russian government. A special counsel investigation identified 10 instances when the president may have obstructed justice. His family foundation was forced to shut down after authorities found “a shocking pattern of illegality.” His businesses have benefited from foreign patrons with cause to curry favor with the president despite the Constitution’s emoluments clause.

Investigative reporting found that he engaged in dubious tax schemes during the 1990s, including instances of outright fraud. A wide swath of people around him have been convicted of various crimes, including his campaign chairman, his deputy, first national security adviser, longtime political adviser, longtime personal lawyer and others. And now Mr. Giuliani and a couple of his longtime associates are under federal investigation.

To Mr. Trump’s most fervent supporters, all of that is proof not that he is corrupt but that he has struck a nerve in Washington’s “swamp” and the establishment is coming after him, manufacturing “hoaxes” to tear him down. That unwavering support within the Republican Party, which he telegraphs on Twitter regularly, has hardly gone unnoticed by Republican senators as they sit in judgment of him.

But polls also show that two-thirds of the public wanted to hear from new witnesses in the trial now underway on Capitol Hill. Given the latest revelations, Mr. Bolton stands ready to testify with the fate of the president on the line.





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Trump Denies Telling Bolton That Ukraine’s Aid Depended on Biden Investigations

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Democrats have been pushing the Republican-led Senate to allow new witnesses, and others could include Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff who played a key role in the Ukraine pressure campaign. A handful of Republican senators had indicated they would be open to hearing new witnesses, but by the end of last week, there were few signs that they would vote with Democrats on the matter.

“There can be no doubt now that Mr. Bolton directly contradicts the heart of the president’s defense,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer, the minority leader, said in a joint statement on Sunday after The New York Times’s article about Mr. Bolton’s account was published.

Mr. Bolton’s potentially explosive details about Mr. Trump’s motivations for freezing the military aid could provide the impetus that could potentially sway some Republican senators to reconsider hearing new testimony.

Mr. Bolton’s lawyer blamed the White House for the disclosure of the book’s contents, which Mr. Bolton submitted for a standard security review 12 days after the House impeached Mr. Trump. It is possible that the submission of Mr. Bolton’s book to the White House deepened desires to keep Mr. Bolton from testifying.

By Monday morning, some Republican senators had reached out to the White House, pressing for who had visibility into Mr. Bolton’s manuscript as the Senate trial unfolded a week earlier.

In his manuscript, Mr. Bolton describes an effort, along with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper, to push Mr. Trump to release the aid. Mr. Bolton said he also spoke with Attorney General William P. Barr about his concerns over the parallel diplomacy with Ukraine led by the president’s personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani. Mr. Barr, whom Mr. Trump mentioned in his July phone call with Mr. Zelensky, has tried to distance himself from Mr. Giuliani and the Ukraine matter.

Mr. Bolton, who has said he would testify at the Senate trial if he was subpoenaed, wrote in the manuscript that Mr. Pompeo told him privately that there was no basis to criticize the American ambassador to Ukraine at the time, Marie L. Yovanovitch. Career diplomats have testified that there was no justification to fire Ms. Yovanovitch. Mr. Giuliani and two of his associates had been pushing Mr. Trump to fire her since the spring of 2018.

Maggie Haberman contributed reporting.



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