President Trump’s legal team argued John Bolton’s book manuscript should be “inadmissible” in the impeachment trial and urged an immediate acquittal as they wrapped up arguments before senators on Tuesday.
Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow said senators should not pry the trial wide open to new evidence in light of New York Times’ reporting on Bolton’s book manuscript that says Trump explicitly linked a hold on Ukraine aid to an investigation of Joe and Hunter Biden.
“You cannot impeach a president on an unsourced allegation,” Sekulow said, of reporting on the manuscript.
Sekulow dismissed those referring to the Bolton manuscript as new “evidence.”
"I'd call it inadmissible," Sekulow said.
And even if Bolton’s allegations – which Trump denies – are true, Trump’s legal team said that the president still can’t be impeached because there is no underlying crime. Sekulow warned such a standard on impeachment would paralyze future presidents
“The bar for impeachment cannot be set this low,” Sekulow said.
Trump's lawyers wrapped up their arguments by mid-afternoon, making for a relatively short day and teeing up two full days later in the week for questioning.
The Bolton book has thrown a wrench in Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's plans for a speedy trial with no new witnesses since the revelations provide a first-hand account of an alleged quid-pro-quo. The book has made it harder for GOP senators to ignore Bolton and have amped up calls from Democrats to demand witnesses.
A vote is expected by Friday on whether to open the trial to new witnesses and evidence. Republicans open to Bolton say that others such as Hunter and Joe Biden should also be called in a reciprocal agreement.
Tuesday's closing arguments by Trump's legal team marks the end of the first phase of the trial where House Democrats and Trump defense each had three days to sway the Senate.
House impeachment managers used their three days to outline their case against Trump for obstruction of Congress and abuse of power.
Democrats charge that Trump put his own self-interests before that of national security by pressuring Ukraine to investigate his political opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, and withholding nearly $400 million in security assistance to a country at war with Russia.