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Everything Republican senators have said about John Bolton's testimony

Updated 8:11 PM ET, Tue January 28, 2020

Washington (CNN) - In the midst of the ongoing Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, a report from The New York Times has renewed calls from Democrats for John Bolton to testify.

According to the Times, an unpublished draft manuscript of a forthcoming book by the former national security adviser says Trump told Bolton he wanted to withhold aid to Ukraine until the country helped investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and Democrats. A source with direct knowledge of the manuscript told CNN the Times' telling of Bolton's account of the Ukraine aid hold discussion with Trump is accurate.

Trump's attempts to pressure Ukraine to investigate Hunter Biden and Joe Biden, his potential political rival, are at the center of the President's impeachment trial. Trump has repeatedly made unfounded and false claims to allege that the Bidens acted improperly in Ukraine. There is no evidence of wrongdoing by either Joe or Hunter Biden.

Here is how Senate Republicans have responded to the report and calls for Bolton's testimony following the report.

Sen. Lamar Alexander, Tennessee

Alexander spoke briefly to reporters on Monday to note he was among the Republicans who originally fought to include in the trial rules a vote on whether to have witnesses. "I'll decide then at that time," he said.

Sen. Susan Collins, Maine

"From the beginning, I've said that in fairness to both parties the decision on whether or not to call witnesses should be made after both the House managers and the President's attorneys have had the opportunity to present their cases. I've always said that I was likely to vote to call witnesses, just as I did in the 1999 Clinton trial. The reports about John Bolton's book strengthen the case for witnesses and have prompted a number of conversations among my colleagues."

Sen. Ron Johnson, Wisconsin

He would not say if he wants to hear from Bolton: "We'll go through phase one .... and then make that determination."

Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina

"He may be a relevant witness, but I've also said I want to know is there a reasonable belief by the President that the Bidens are involved in corrupt behavior, is there a reasonable belief Ukraine may have been involved in helping both sides or the Democratic party," he told CNN Monday morning. "All that stuff will be looked at. We're not going to look at part of it. We're going to look at all of it if we look at any of it.

He later told reporters: "What we have to do here is evaluate the manuscript and see if it's a reason to add to the record," he said. Asked if he would support a subpoena to get the manuscript, the South Carolina Republican said, "I want to know what's in the manuscript, yeah, I think that's important."

Sen. Mike Crapo, Idaho

Asked by CNN if he wants to hear from Bolton, he said: "I don't think we need to," adding he wants to hear from the defense team first.

Sen. Rick Scott, Florida

"If we're going to invite people like John Bolton, I think we need to hear from Adam Schiff and the Biden's and some other people," he said.

When asked if he would vote for Bolton to testify, Scott said he was going to finish "listening to all the testimony."

Sen. John Thune, South Dakota

"I personally don't see it as a gamechanger because I've looked at the fact pattern from the beginning. We've already seen a lot evidence and heard a lot testimony from the House managers about their arguments trying to connect the dots that there was a quid pro quo."

Sen. Thom Tillis, North Carolina

When asked if the report about Bolton's upcoming book changes his views on witnesses, he said "not at this point." Asked why he doesn't want to hear from Bolton, Tillis said: "Spend a little time on what you heard on Saturday and check back with me," a likely reference to the defense team case.

Sen. Mitt Romney, Utah

"I can't begin to tell you how John Bolton's testimony would ultimately play on a final decision but it's relevant," he told reporters Monday. "And therefore, I'd like to hear it."

He later told CNN, "I think it's basically clear that what John Bolton would have to say would be important to those of us who are asked to render impartial judgment."

Sen. Joni Ernst, Iowa

The the vice chairwoman of the Senate Republican Conference said the report doesn't really change the situation on witnesses. She said she wants to hear from the President's defense team. "Let's hear what they have to say over the next couple of days."

Sen. John Barrasso, Wyoming

"Yeah, there's really nothing new here. It does seem to be an effort to sell books."

Sen. Roy Blunt, Missouri

"The one thing I know for sure is John Bolton doesn't know a single thing today he didn't know before Christmas. It's the House's job to put a case together. It's then our job to deal with that in a prompt manner. Unless there's a witness that's going to change the outcome, I can't imagine why we'd want to stretch this out for weeks and months. And if we call any witnesses that are subject to privilege, it would take weeks and months."

Sen. Pat Roberts, Kansas

"I was reading 'Gone With the Wind,'" he said when asked about report. He said he understands what the media is reporting, "but I have not seen the manuscript." Asked if he would like to see the manuscript, Roberts said "it remains to be seen" whether the Senate should hear from John Bolton. He said, "I don't know yet," on Tuesday when asked again if he wanted to see the manuscript.

Sen. Mike Braun, Indiana

"Of course it's a new piece of information. I was the first Republican I think on the record with it last night, and I don't think it's going to make any difference in terms of the framework of the timeline, because we knew we were going to get to the issue of witnesses anyway here in few days. So I'm just guessing it'll make it a more lively conversation so it's going to be a little different for every senator how important it is, but we'll get to it, just like we did, knowing that we're going to come to the issue of further documentation and witnesses anyway."

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, West Virginia

"I guess we'll know as the days go on. I don't have a feel for that right now," when asked if the report about Bolton's book was a gamechanger.

Sen. Josh Hawley, Missouri

"I don't know if we will or not" when asked if he would like to hear testimony from the former national security adviser.

Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas

"At the outset of this trial, I predicted that we would have revelation after revelation that would be treated as a bombshell and drive everyone into a frenzy. At the end of the day, nothing I've seen in the reporting changes the underlying fact that a president has the full constitutional authority and indeed the responsibility to investigate serious evidence of corruption. And when it comes to Burisma, a Ukrainian natural gas company that was paying Hunter Biden a million dollars a year, there was more than enough evidence to justify a serious investigation."

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Alaska

"I stated before that I was curious as to what John Bolton might have to say. From the outset, I've worked to ensure this trial would be fair and that members would have the opportunity to weigh in after its initial phase to determine if we need more information. I've also said there is an appropriate time for us to evaluate whether we need additional information —that time is almost here. I look forward to the White House wrapping up presentation of its case."

Sen. Kevin Cramer, North Dakota

He told reporters that he "would not support" witness testimony from Bolton without a commitment for other testimonies. "I would not support that without a commitment that we would have others as well." He added, "I'd start with the whistleblower...You have to hear from the accuser, you can't just have 20 witnesses from the prosecution. And so, to my mind, the whistleblower would be my first pick."

Sen. Tim Scott, South Carolina

He told reporters on Tuesday that he hasn't made up his mind about whether he wants to see the manuscript. "I haven't decided on that, to be honest with you," he said. "Folks have talked about using the manuscript as a way of getting the testimony. I haven't considered if I'd find that acceptable or not."

Sen. John Cornyn, Texas

"I read The New York Times story. I don't think anything they report adds anything new to what we already know," he said Tuesday. "We know there were conversations that had to do with investigations. We know there were conversations about aid. But ultimately the President released the money before the end of the fiscal year and an investigation didn't occur. I don't see that Mr. Bolton adds anything to what we already know."

Sen. James Lankford, Oklahoma

"We have to resolve in a couple of days if we need witnesses or not -- this is an issue that's outstanding that we don't have a good way to be able to answer," he told CNN on Tuesday, adding that senators need to see the manuscript before deciding on whether to include witnesses in the impeachment trial. "We can't say six weeks from now we'll be able to see it. We've got to be able to see it in advance to be able to make that decision on witnesses in a couple days."

This story has been updated with additional developments Tuesday.


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