Bolton Revelation May Scramble Trump’s Trial

Kathleen Hunter
Bolton Revelation May Scramble Trump’s Trial

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His has been perhaps the most sought-after testimony of the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. And now John Bolton has delivered a bombshell without even making a visit to Capitol Hill.

The former national security advisor’s as-yet-unpublished book makes the explosive claim that Trump indeed wanted to freeze aid to Ukraine until its government investigated his political rival Joe Biden.

Bolton’s account in the draft of his book, as described by the New York Times, puts new pressure on Republicans to call witnesses to testify in the Senate, Billy House, Steven T. Dennis and Laura Litvan report.

The disclosure comes as the president’s lawyers are preparing to deliver the meat of Trump’s defense when the trial reconvenes today. Trump denied the allegations in a tweet early today, saying he released aid to Ukraine without any conditions.

It wasn’t immediately clear how much the revelations could impact the debate on calling trial witnesses (it’s almost certain not to shift the expectation that Trump won't be convicted). Four Republicans would have to join with all Democrats to make that happen.

The more important audience for Bolton’s claims will be voters who will decide in November whether Trump should be re-elected. Keep an eye on forthcoming polling to see if they’re swayed by this latest turn of events.

Global Headlines

Organizing strategy | Reaching out to colleagues, fellow parents and ex-husbands. Those are some of the strategies that Pete Buttigieg’s female volunteers are using in Iowa in a campaign tactic the former South Bend, Indiana, mayor is relying on to an extent not seen before, Tyler Pager reports.

New polls underscore the unsettled state of the Democratic primary days before the first voters weigh in at the Iowa caucuses.

Not so fast | Italian populist firebrand Matteo Salvini’s hopes that victory in a key regional vote would propel him toward power were dashed yesterday when his anti-migrant League suffered a stinging loss. A win by the center-left bloc led by the Democratic Party breathed new life into Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte’s fragile government.Virus watch | China’s death toll from the coronavirus hit at least 80 as the country extends the Lunar New Year holiday to try and contain an infection now spreading around the globe. Premier Li Keqiang visited Wuhan, the city at the epicenter of the disease, as the government faces pressure to combat the outbreak.

China has canceled exams needed for entrance to schools and universities abroad. Click here for a look at the origins of the virus and its ongoing challenges. We have a map that shows the latest on the outbreak’s spread.

Trudeau’s challenge | Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau returns to a fragmented parliament today facing sharp domestic divisions. As Stephen Wicary reports, his looming decisions on whether to ban Huawei from Canada’s 5G networks, as well as whether to proceed with a massive oil-sands mine, will make ratifying a new trade agreement with the U.S. and Mexico look easy by comparison.

Desperate times | Sanctioned by the West and spurned by China, Zimbabwe has turned to the United Arab Emirates in its latest bid to find a savior that can arrest the collapse of its economy. With half the population in need of food aid and inflation running at 500%, the government hopes to sell a stake in the national oil company and wants U.A.E. firms to buy more of its gold. But it’s not clear the Gulf state is ready to bail out Harare just yet.What to Watch This Week

As the U.K. prepares to exit from the European Union on Friday, its officials shouldn't harbor any hopes of reaching a new trade deal with the EU quickly or easily. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he will “make history” when he meets Trump tomorrow in Washington, where the U.S. leader is expected to present his long-awaited Middle East peace plan. Slovenian Prime Minister Marjan Sarec unexpectedly stepped down, sinking his minority government after months of bickering over budget policy. Talks for a new coalition will start but early elections are the best option, he said. U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson will put his friendship with Trump to the test this week as he is poised to allow Huawei Technologies a role in the country’s fifth-generation wireless broadband networks. Libya’s internationally recognized government says repeated attacks by rival commander Khalifa Haftar have rendered a fragile truce all but meaningless. Peruvians voted for a new Congress yesterday, with early indications that it will be divided between as many as 10 parties, with none having enough power to effectively confront President Martin Vizcarra.

Thanks to all who responded to our pop quiz Friday and congratulations to reader Ian Macauley, who was the first to correctly answer that China halted virtually all imports of plastic waste, triggering far-reaching effects around the globe. Tell us how we’re doing or what we’re missing at balancepower@bloomberg.net.

And finally ... An aunt of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un appeared in state media over the weekend, the first time she’s been seen in public since her husband was executed in 2013. Kim Kyong Hui, 73, sat two seats away from her nephew during an orchestra performance in Pyongyang celebrating the Lunar New Year, according to a photo carried by state media.

 

--With assistance from Stephen Wicary and Ruth Pollard.

To contact the author of this story: Kathleen Hunter in London at khunter9@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Karl Maier at kmaier2@bloomberg.net, Rosalind Mathieson

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