- The Washington Times - Friday, January 31, 2020

The final dramatic session of President Trump’s impeachment trial began Friday as the president denied a report that he told then-National Security Adviser John R. Bolton in front of other aides to help pressure Ukrainian officials to get damaging information on Democrats.

Mr. Trump rejected a report by The New York Times, citing Mr. Bolton’s forthcoming book, that he instructed him last May to set up a meeting for Trump lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky. The report claims that the Oval Office meeting included Mr. Giuliani, acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and White House Counsel Pat Cipollone.

“I never instructed John Bolton to set up a meeting for Rudy Giuliani, one of the greatest corruption fighters in America and by far the greatest mayor in the history of N.Y.C., to meet with President Zelensky,” the president said in a statement. “That meeting never happened.”

Democrats have been clamoring for Mr. Bolton to testify in the impeachment trial, and he’s willing to do so. But Republicans achieved enough votes late Thursday night to block witnesses after Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee announced he would vote against such an effort.

Pivotal votes on witnesses and to acquit the president were likely later Friday or overnight, after House Democratic impeachment managers and lawyers for the president present their final arguments on those issues.

According to Mr. Bolton’s manuscript, he never made the call to Mr. Zelensky to set up a meeting with Mr. Giuliani.

The White House National Security Council has told Mr. Bolton that he can’t publish his book until he removes classified information, some of it allegedly top secret.

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