Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) indicated in a closed-door meeting with Senate Republicans that he did not yet have enough votes to defeat an effort, expected later this week, to call additional witnesses and evidence in President Trump’s impeachment trial.

Pressure has ramped up to include witnesses after reports that former national security adviser John Bolton says in a book manuscript that Trump directly tied the holdup of nearly $400 million in military assistance to Ukraine to investigations of former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.

Trump’s defense team argued Tuesday that Democrats are seeking to remove him from office over policy differences as they offered their third and final day of opening arguments in a Senate trial on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

The crux of the case for Trump’s impeachment is the allegation that he withheld military aid and a White House meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Bidens. Hunter Biden served on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company, while his father was vice president. Trump’s attorneys have argued that the president was justified in seeking investigations because of a history of corruption involving the company.

●White House works to contain damage from allegations in forthcoming Bolton book.

●Bolton book roils Washington as onetime allies turn on Trump’s former national security adviser.

12:46 a.m.
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Ankle monitor to prevent Parnas from attending trial

A Ukrainian-born associate of Rudolph W. Giuliani who wants to testify at the Senate trial was given tickets to the proceeding by Sen. Charles E. Schumer’s (D-N.Y.) office, but he will not be able to go after a federal judge denied his request to remove his ankle monitor.

Lev Parnas, who is under indictment in the Southern District of New York for campaign finance fraud in a case that crosses with Giuliani’s efforts in Ukraine on behalf of Trump, is under house arrest in Florida and wears a monitor, though he’s been given prior travel permissions. Giuliani is one of Trump’s personal attorneys.

Parnas’s attorney, Joseph Bondy, said in a letter to U.S. District Judge J. Paul Oetken that he got an email Tuesday from Amy Mannering, Schumer’s director of operations, “informing that my request for tickets to the trial had been granted.” The tickets were granted for a window of time at the trial on Wednesday.

Oetken said in a two-sentence ruling that Parnas could go to Washington, but “to the extent that [the request] seeks the removal of the GPS monitoring device, the request is denied.”

Read more of this story here.

12:40 a.m.
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Trump accuses Democrats of ‘deranged partisan crusade’

Trump described impeachment as a “deranged partisan crusade” by “do-nothing Democrats” who want to force him from office.

Speaking at a rally in Wildwood, N.J., the president cycled through a number of frequent talking points about Democrats who he argued are “trying to overturn” the results of the 2016 election.

“Which is worse: the impeachment hoax or the witch hunts from Russia?” Trump said to laughs.

“We will make sure that they face another crushing defeat,” he said of Democrats, predicting that Republicans will win back the House in November. “... They can’t win an election, so they’re trying to steal an election.”

GOP senators have continued to weigh the potential testimony of John Bolton following new reporting on Jan. 26 about his conversations with President Trump. (The Washington Post)
12:15 a.m.
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Graham calls on Bolton to hold a news conference

Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) called on Bolton to hold a news conference to deliver his perspective for senators.

Speaking on Fox News, Graham addressed Bolton directly, noting that he recommended the former national security adviser to Trump and that he and Bolton have a “very shared worldview.”

“John, you’ve kind of thrown the country into a ditch here,” Graham said. “Just come forward and say what on your mind. Hold a news conference, and we’ll consider what you’ve got to say if you think it’s that important.”

He added: “From my point of view, I’ve got all the evidence I need.”

Graham said he is “increasingly optimistic” that the trial will be over before Trump’s scheduled State of the Union address in one week.

“If it goes beyond this week, it’s going to on for a long time,” he said of the proceedings.

11:49 p.m.
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Warren says impeachment trial ‘more important’ than politics

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) emphasized that she has no intention of skipping out on the impeachment trial in favor of the Iowa caucuses on Monday.

“There are some things that are more important than politics,” Warren told PBS. “I took an oath of office to uphold the Constitution. ... I will be there as long as the trial needs me.”

Warren argued that the trial is about “trying to protect the integrity of the election process.”

“Remember exactly what’s been alleged here. What’s been alleged is, this is a president who was trying to interfere with an election, not just something else going on fraudulently, but trying to interfere with an election,” she said.

11:40 p.m.
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Jared Kushner calls impeachment trial a ‘nuisance’

Trump senior adviser Jared Kushner told CNN that Trump’s impeachment trial is a “nuisance” that “really doesn’t take a lot of our time,” referring to the White House staff.

Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, praised the White House’s legal defense before the Senate and accused Democrats of “going crazy” with their allegations of an impeachable quid pro quo involving Ukraine.

Kushner was on CNN to discuss Trump’s long-awaited Middle East peace plan, which granted Israel most of what it sought. The interview turned to impeachment at the end; Kushner did not speak about the possibility of Bolton testifying.

“It’s very easy to defend when they don’t really have any legitimate accusations against you,” Kushner said. “The president has been totally vindicated.”

11:07 p.m.
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McConnell tells GOP senators he does not have the votes to block witnesses

McConnell indicated in a closed-door meeting with Senate Republicans that he did not yet have enough votes to defeat an effort, expected later this week, to call additional witnesses and evidence in the trial.

His remarks were confirmed by people familiar with them who spoke anonymously to discuss a private meeting. At least four Republicans would have to vote with all Democrats in the key vote later this week to allow witnesses. The vote will be on whether witnesses should be called. Votes on specific witnesses would come later.

10:48 p.m.
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The next steps for the Senate trial

Here’s how the next few days will go.

On Wednesday afternoon, the next phase of the trial begins — a chance for senators to ask questions of the prosecution and defense. They’ll spend up to eight hours a day asking questions, alternating between Republican and Democratic senators. Here’s the catch: The Senate rules passed in the 1980s outlining how to do a trial say senators have to ask these questions in writing (to avoid grandstanding). The chief justice will read them out loud.

Thursday will be the same as Wednesday. During the Bill Clinton trial, more than 100 questions were asked.

On Friday, senators are expected to debate, two hours for each side, on whether to call witnesses. Then they’ll vote on whether to hold a final vote to call witnesses, opening it up for more debate. Then they’ll vote on whether to call witnesses.

If they vote to call witnesses, the prosecution and defense each have to decide who to call. Roberts will issue the subpoena, and the witnesses would most likely be deposed behind closed doors first, kind of like how House Democrats interviewed witnesses in their impeachment inquiry in private, secure rooms in the Capitol’s basement. During the Clinton trial, one senator from each side was present during these depositions, which was conducted by staff lawyers. After those depositions, senators would decide whether to have these witnesses testify live on the Senate floor, or air videotape from their interviews or just share the transcripts with senators.

If they vote not to call witnesses, the trial is basically over, save for two final, big votes: whether to convict or acquit Trump on each article of impeachment. As things stand now, there is every sign that Republican senators will stand by Trump and keep him in office.

(This is an abridged edition of The 5-Minute Fix impeachment newsletter. You can sign up to receive it here.)

10:17 p.m.
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Trump defense did not mention CrowdStrike theory

Trump’s defense team ended an extended opening argument Tuesday in which it laid out that Trump had legitimate reasons to ask Ukraine for specific investigations.

But it spent almost no time vouching for the actual investigations he wanted.

To the extent that Trump’s team tried to argue that the investigations were legitimate, it focused mostly on the idea that Hunter Biden’s employment at a Ukrainian gas company was problematic. It spent considerably less time arguing for the theory that Trump actually raised with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky on their phone call: that then-Vice President Joe Biden sought to help his son by pushing out Ukraine’s top prosecutor.

Ditto the other investigation Trump sought. In fact, Trump’s legal team spent literally zero time talking about the one involving CrowdStrike and a server that was supposedly in Ukraine. Trump’s team didn’t utter the word “CrowdStrike” once in three days, in fact, nor did it even mention a “server” in Ukraine. It instead more broadly defended the idea that Ukraine might have interfered in the 2016 election.

Read more analysis here.

9:30 p.m.
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GOP senators unresolved on witnesses

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), one of a handful of GOP senators Democrats think can be convinced to vote to allow witnesses to testify, told reporters that he won’t make a decision until after the question period.

“I think the path forward is, we’ve got two days of questions and answers. That’ll take Wednesday and Thursday. As far as I’m concerned, after I finish hearing the answers to the questions and consider the record — I’ve heard the arguments of both sides — then I’ll make a decision about whether we need more evidence in terms of documents and witnesses,” Alexander said, leaving a closed-door meeting with GOP senators.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) exited the meeting with little update other than to say “there is no agreement yet” on a pathway forward to allow witnesses.

But Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) said “most of us believe we don’t need any more witnesses.”

“In terms of how people vote on witnesses, all I can say, is I don’t need any more evidence,” Graham said. “But if we do call witnesses, we’re not just going to call one witness. We’re going to call a bunch of witnesses.”

9:00 p.m.
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Key senators huddle after White House presentations

After the White House wrapped up its case, the Senate adjourned and small huddles formed around the chamber.

Attention was directed toward the moderates whose votes will determine whether the trial includes witnesses.

In chairs in the back, reserved for staff, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) sat with freshman Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.).

Sen. Joe Manchin III (W.Va.), a Democrat always in the mix, first huddled with Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) before moving on to a long one-on-one discussion with Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who had previously been meeting with Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.).

And finally, Collins walked over to join a Republican scrum led by Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), whose back-row desk is a pivotal place in the chamber, given his Bush-lineage roots in politics. The impromptu gathering included Sens. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) and, later, John Thune (R-S.D.).

8:30 p.m.
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Schumer says no need to review Bolton manuscript in secure area

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) dismissed one Republican’s proposal that senators receive access to Bolton’s manuscript in a secure area.

“What the heck are they hiding?” he told reporters after Tuesday’s session recessed. “You don’t need it in a classified [setting]. There is no substitute for a witness speaking under oath to the senators.”

A classified version of the transcript “is just another excuse to hide things,” he said of the proposal from Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.). “They are afraid to tell the truth.”

Schumer said his plans for the upcoming question-and-answer period do not include “censuring anybody.”

“What we are doing is sort of organizing things,” he said. “We don’t want the same question 10 times, and we want them in some degree of order.”

“I’m sure that a good number of the questions will give House managers a chance to rebut” the White House’s case, he said.

7:55 p.m.
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Defense rests, trial to resume Wednesday afternoon

Trump’s defense team finished its opening arguments, taking less than two hours to make a final plea to end the trial “here and now.”

“End the era of impeachment for good,” said Pat Cipollone, Trump’s White House counsel. “You know it should end.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced the trial was done for the day and would resume Wednesday afternoon with the question period for senators.

The questions will alternate between the majority and minority for up to eight hours on Wednesday and again for up to eight hours on Thursday. They are submitted to Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., who reads them.

“During the question period of the [Bill] Clinton trial, senators were thoughtful and brief with their questions, and the managers and counsel were succinct in their answers,” McConnell said.

Echoing that, Roberts asked the managers and Trump counsel to abide by a time limit of five minutes or less to answer each question.

7:45 p.m.
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Final video from Trump defense shows Democrats lambasting Clinton impeachment

White House Counsel Pat Cipollone began his final presentation with a video compilation showing several House managers and Senate Democrats criticizing the impeachment of President Bill Clinton in 1998.

In old C-SPAN footage, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) said there should “never be a narrowly voted impeachment or an impeachment supported by one of our major political parties and opposed by the other.”

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) said the Clinton impeachment would “damage the faith the American people have in this institution.”

“Future presidents will face election, then litigation, then impeachment,” she said.

Sens. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) were shown making similar points as House representatives. Markey called the impeachment a “constitutional coup d’etat which will haunt this body and our country forever.”

The roundup ended with footage of Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) saying: “My fear is that when a Republican wins the White House, Democrats will demand payback.”

“You were right,” Cipollone said after the video ended, prompting laughter in the chamber. “But I’m sorry to say you were also prophetic. And I think I couldn’t say it better myself, so I won’t.”

7:20 p.m.
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Sekulow says ‘justice demands’ acquitting Trump

Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow wrapped up his presentation by arguing that Democrats were trying to remove Trump from office for policy differences.

“The bar for impeachment cannot be set this low,” he said. “Danger, danger, danger. These articles must be rejected. The Constitution requires it. Justice demands it.”

Earlier, Sekulow argued that the abuse of power charge “fails constitutionally.”

“The president has constitutional authority to engage, conduct foreign policy and foreign affairs,” he said. “It is our position, legally, the president at all times acted with perfect legal authority, inquired of matters in our national interest.”