President Trump said that he would use executive privilege to block former national security adviser John Bolton and other officials from testifying in his Senate impeachment trial ‘for the sake of the office’.
Trump made his comments soon after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that she would be taking steps to send the impeachment articles to Senate next week.
‘I think you have to for the sake of the office,’ Trump said when asked about using the privilege by Fox‘s Laura Ingraham.
Besides Bolton, Trump also said that acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and former Energy Secretary Rick Perry were other administrative officials he could also see having to use his executive privilege to block from testifying.
Trump made his comments soon after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that she would be taking steps to send the impeachment articles to Senate
‘I think you have to for the sake of the office,’ Trump said when asked about using the privilege to block former national security adviser John Bolton from testifying in his Senate impeachment trial
‘I would love everybody to testify,’ he claimed. ‘I’d like Mick to testify, I’d like Mike Pompeo to testify, I’d like Rick Perry to testify. I want everybody – but there are things that you can’t do from the standpoint of executive privilege.’
Trump also claimed that he was worried about ‘future presidents’ if a testimony was forced from officials involved in national security matters.
‘Especially, a national security adviser,’ Trump said. ‘You can’t have him explaining all of your statements about national security concerning Russia, China, and North Korea – everything. We just can’t do that.’
The president criticized Pelosi’s announcement, calling it ‘ridiculous’.
Besides Bolton, Trump also said that acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and former Energy Secretary Rick Perry were other administrative officials he could also see having to use his executive privilege to block from testifying
‘I think it’s ridiculous,’ he said. ‘She should have sent them a long time ago. It just belittles the process … Nancy Pelosi will go down as the least successful speaker of the House in the history of our nation. She has done nothing.
Pelosi announced Friday that she will bring to the House floor next week a resolution to transmit the articles of impeachment to the Senate so Donald Trump’s trial can begin.
The move comes after the speaker faced increasing pressure from her party to allow the president’s trial to begin and signals an end to her three-week standoff with Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell.
‘About time,’ McConnell told reporters on Capitol Hill in response.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was another administrator mentioned as having to be blocked from giving a testimony
‘I would love everybody to testify,’ he claimed. ‘I’d like Mick to testify, I’d like Mike Pompeo to testify, I’d like Rick Perry to testify. I want everybody — but there are things that you can’t do from the standpoint of executive privilege’
Pelosi gave no indication of what date the vote would occur and told her Democratic lawmakers she would consult them on next steps at their weekly party meeting on Tuesday.
‘I have asked Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler to be prepared to bring to the Floor next week a resolution to appoint managers and transmit articles of impeachment to the Senate. I will be consulting with you at our Tuesday House Democratic Caucus meeting on how we proceed further,’ Pelosi wrote in a ‘Dear Colleague’ letter.
But her announcement indicates the Senate will have the articles by the end of next week, meaning the upper chamber could begin President Trump’s trial shortly thereafter, perhaps even late next week.
The Davos World Economic Forum begins the week of January 20th and President Trump is expected to attend.
Pressure has increased on the speaker to send over the two articles – abuse of power and obstruction of Congress – so the Senate can begin proceedings on the president. Even some Democratic senators have said it is time.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced she will bring to the House floor next week a resolution to transmit the articles of impeachment to the Senate
President Trump’s Senate trial cannot begin until the articles are transmitted
Pelosi said on Thursday she would send the articles ‘soon’.
‘We need to see the arena in which we are sending our managers. Is that too much to ask?’ she said, complaining about a lack of transparency on McConnell’s part.
‘I’m not withholding them indefinitely. I’ll send them over when I’m ready, and that will probably be soon,’ she said Thursday at a press conference on Capitol Hill.
The Senate has been in waiting mode as it can’t formally begin its trial until the impeachment articles are transmitted.
Republican Sen. Josh Hawley, a prominent Trump ally on Capitol Hill, proposed legislation on Monday that would let the Senate begin the trial even without the articles if Pelosi waits longer than 25 days to send them.
McConnell has signed on to that measure – another move that will increase pressure on Speaker Pelosi.
After she announced the upcoming House vote on the articles, Pelosi slammed McConnell for signing onto Hawley’s resolution.
‘By joining a resolution to dismiss, Sen. McConnell showed his true colors. Americans have now seen what is at stake in a fair trial with witnesses & evidence, and new evidence has emerged. Every Senator will have to vote: is their loyalty is to the President or the Constitution?,’ she wrote on Twitter.
In addition to voting to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate, the House will also vote on the prosecutors who will present the Democrats case to the upper chamber.
Pelosi will appoint those lawmakers – who are known as ‘managers’ – but they must be approved by the House, which is expected to happen in the Democratically controlled chamber.
The speaker has given no indication of who she is thinking of appointing but Nadler and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff are expected to be on the list along with a slate of diverse lawmakers.
The hold up has been on calling additional witnesses.
‘Senate Democrats are ready for the trial to begin and will do everything we can to see that the truth comes out,’ Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement Friday afternoon.
Mitch McConnell has urged Speaker Pelosi to transmit the articles
McConnell wants a speedy trial with no additional witnesses. Senate Democrats want to call four more and Pelosi was holding onto the articles in part to give her party a boost in negotiating how the proceedings would take place.
Pelosi again called for additional witnesses in her letter on Friday.
‘The American people have clearly expressed their view that we should have a fair trial with witnesses and documents, with more than 70 percent of the public stating that the President should allow his top aides to testify. Clearly, Leader McConnell does not want to present witnesses and documents to Senators and the American people so they can make an independent judgment about the President’s actions,’ she wrote.
It’s been 23 days since the House approved the two articles of impeachment against the president.
‘We’re going to have to do something or we could be here on day 200 or day 400,’ Hawley told reporters on Capitol Hill Tuesday. ‘I mean, really, there’s no end in sight.’
Some Democratic senators have urged Pelosi to send the articles and Schumer suggested the speaker should transmit the articles to the Senate.
‘The speaker has said all along she wanted to see the arena in which she was playing when it came to a trial so she could appoint impeachment managers. Now it’s becoming clear that Mitch McConnell wants to do everything he can to avoid a fair trial so she has some idea of what’s happening,’ he said Tuesday.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Thursday she’ll transmit the articles soon
Schumer also praised Pelosi for with holding them over the holidays.
‘By not sending the articles immediately she has already accomplished two things,’ he added. ‘One, Mitch McConnell could not do what some thought he might want to do: right before or after Christmas just dismiss. And second in two weeks there’s been a cascade of evidence that bolsters the case – strongly bolsters the case – for witnesses and documents. So now we have a greater feel for where we’re headed and Speaker Pelosi – I have great confidence in the decision she will make. But she’s accomplished a great deal already.’
Schumer wants to hear from four additional witnesses, including acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and former National Security Adviser John Bolton.
But Trump suggested on Thursday the White House would continue to block Bolton or others from testifying.
‘When we start allowing national security advisers to just go up and say whatever they want to say, we can’t do that,’ the president said. ‘So we have to protect presidential privilege for me, but for future presidents. That’s very important.’
Bolton said this week that he would testify if subpoenaed.
McConnell, however, announced that he has the votes from Republican senators to begin Trump’s impeachment trial with no witnesses.
‘We have the votes, once the impeachment trial has begun, to pass a resolution essentially the same, very similar to the 100-0 vote in the Clinton trial,’ McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, announced after having lunch with the members of his party.
The pronouncement doesn’t preclude witnesses from being called during the trial. It simply means senators will vote on the matter further down the road after opening arguments have been heard.
House Democrats charged President Trump with withholding nearly $400 million in U.S. military aid to Ukraine in exchange for promises from officials there to investigate his political rivals, Joe and Hunter Biden.
Trump denies the charges and Republicans point out the money has been sent to the Ukraine.
Democrats counter it was sent only after a whistleblower revealed the contents of a call Trump had with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Trump said his call was ‘perfect.’
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