Former national security adviser John Bolton, highly sought by Democrats as an impeachment witness, said Monday that he is prepared to testify in a Senate trial if a subpoena is issued — a move that could be damaging to President Trump.

The development came as Trump called for a quick end to the impeachment process and congressional Republicans stepped up pressure on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to transmit articles to the Senate, allowing a trial to begin in the chamber. Pelosi has been holding on to the documents as Democrats seek guarantees about the scope of a Senate trial, including witnesses.

The crux of the Democrats’ case is the allegation that Trump tried to leverage a White House meeting and military aid, sought by Ukraine to combat Russian military aggression, to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to launch an investigation of former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden, as well as a probe of an unfounded theory that Kyiv conspired with Democrats to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

●Top Republican suggests changing Senate rules to begin Trump impeachment trial within days.

●Escalating U.S.-Iran tensions scramble the politics of Trump’s impeachment.

●Least deliberative Senate faces weighty task of holding Trump’s impeachment trial.

Bolton’s willingness to testify in Trump’s impeachment trial ramps up pressure on Senate Republicans

1:15 a.m.
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Bolton complicated Senate Republicans’ impeachment strategy on Monday, declaring his willingness to testify and upping the pressure on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and his party to summon the former national security adviser as a witness in Trump’s trial.

Bolton last fall rebuffed House impeachment investigators’ entreaties to testify about his concerns over Trump’s demands that Ukraine investigate his political rivals as the administration delayed military aid.

Bolton’s surprise announcement changed the political calculus for McConnell’s no-witness strategy and appeared to increase the likelihood of additional testimony that could embarrass the president.

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‘That’s a bridge we will cross when we come to it,’ Sen. Thune says of Bolton testimony

12:20 a.m.
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Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) declined to say whether he believes Bolton should testify.

“I think that’s a bridge we will cross when we come to it,” Thune said upon leaving a leadership meeting Monday night.

“I think the first order of business is to get the articles then adopt a resolution,” he said, adding that the Senate should then “use the Clinton process” to determine whether to call Bolton later on.

“Call me a skeptic. I just think the House, they could have subpoenaed him, they could have called him. ... So, I’m not sure it’s the Senate’s job to complete the House record,” he added.

Trump campaign announces Jan. 28 rally in Rep. Van Drew’s N.J. district

11:15 p.m.
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Trump’s 2020 presidential campaign announced that the president will headline a rally Jan. 28 in Wildwood, N.J.

The Garden State is hardly a battleground in the presidential race. But Wildwood, a popular summertime destination on the Jersey Shore, sits in the congressional district of Rep. Jeff Van Drew, the freshman Democratic lawmaker who opposed impeachment and switched his party affiliation to Republican last month.

It was not immediately clear whether Van Drew might make an appearance at the rally.

“President Trump looks forward to returning to the Garden State to celebrate his message of ‘Promises Made, Promises Kept,’ ” Michael Glassner, chief operating officer of Trump’s campaign, said in a statement.

On Bolton, Sen. Tillis says he wants the House to ‘do their work’

11:00 p.m.
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Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) suggested that he doesn’t want to hear from Bolton unless the House has struck a deal with the former national security adviser first.

It was unclear what type of scenario would satisfy that requirement, as the House has already voted to impeach Trump. Tillis said only that the House “should have gotten as much evidence as possible.”

“I’m in the position now to where I want to consider the weight of the evidence coming from the House,” Tillis said. “I don’t want to do their work.”

“It’s not that I don’t want to hear from him,” he added. “I want to hear from him when the House is willing to do their work and have the same agreement with the ambassador on their side of the Hill.”

Rep. Schiff, Sen. Romney say Bolton should testify in Senate

10:25 p.m.
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House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) told reporters at the Capitol that Bolton “really should testify in the Senate trial.”

“That makes the most sense,” Schiff said in response to a question on whether he would directly seek testimony from Bolton. “The senators ought to hear directly from him as well as the other witnesses. And they need to start by giving the documents.”

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), who has at times been critical of Trump, also said he supports Bolton testifying in the Senate, although he declined to elaborate on the process he believes the chamber should follow.

“I would like to be able to hear from John Bolton,” Romney said. “What the process is to make that happen, I don’t have an answer for you. The leaders are trying to negotiate that process right now. … What’s important is that we hear from him.”

Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), meanwhile, didn’t rule out testimony from Bolton but sided solidly with McConnell on a two-stage plan.

“We won’t make a decision on it until we hear the House’s argument,” Rounds said.

Pompeo discusses postponed Ukraine trip with Zelensky

10:00 p.m.
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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke with Zelensky on Monday to discuss his postponed trip to Ukraine, according to State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus.

Pompeo had been scheduled to visit Ukraine and four other countries last week but delayed the trip due to the breach of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

Pompeo and Zelensky “discussed the situation in the Middle East and the Secretary appreciated Ukraine’s condemnation of the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad,” Ortagus said. “Secretary Pompeo reiterated the strong U.S. support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and underscored our long-term strategic partnership.”

There was no immediate word of potential dates for a future visit by Pompeo to Ukraine.

‘Entirely likely’ that Bolton testimony could be helpful to Trump, Sen. Cornyn says

9:15 p.m.
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Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) mused Monday that Bolton’s testimony could be helpful to Trump, although he stopped short of saying whether he would vote in favor of subpoenaing Bolton to testify.

“Well, I think it’s entirely likely that his testimony would be helpful to the president, because it would identify, basically, a foreign-policy dispute which is reserved to the president under the Constitution — it’s really his sole authority — as a basis for impeachment, for this, now, the third time in American history,” Cornyn said in an interview on Fox News Radio’s “Guy Benson Show.” “So, it could well be beneficial.”

Cornyn added that he would “expect anyone who was subpoenaed by the vote of 51 senators to respond.” But when asked whether he personally would vote to subpoena Bolton, he dodged the question.

“Well, I would want to know what he has to offer that would help illuminate the issues, the two articles of impeachment that have been issued by the House of Representatives,” Cornyn said.

The Texas Republican later clarified his remarks in a tweet, arguing that the Senate should hold off on calling additional witnesses for the time being.

“Let’s first proceed as 100 Senators agreed during Clinton’s impeachment: hear from the parties and reserve question of additional witnesses till they have presented their case,” he said.

Schumer says Democrats will ask for votes on four witnesses

9:00 p.m.
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Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) delivered a blistering rebuke of McConnell’s position on an impeachment trial Monday afternoon. The Kentucky Republican, Schumer argued, believes the Senate trial “should proceed according to the desires of the White House — the defendant in this case.”

Schumer pledged that Democrats will ask for votes on each of the four witnesses they want to call, warning McConnell, “Make no mistake: There will be votes.”

“Witnesses and documents are the most important issue, and we should deal with them first,” he said.

Schumer notably made no mention of a potential negotiated deal with McConnell on the matter, instead delivering a critique of his Republican counterpart and describing McConnell’s position as “a poorly disguised trap.”

“I’m waiting to hear it, Leader McConnell. … Don’t call names. Don’t finger-point. Don’t get angry at Nancy Pelosi. Tell us why here in the Senate witnesses and documents should not come forward that are directly relevant to the charges against the president of the United States of America,” he said.

McConnell accuses Democrats of ‘bizarre stunts’ on impeachment

8:45 p.m.
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McConnell opened the Senate on Monday by arguing that “seriousness is in short supply” among Democrats on two issues: hostilities with Iran and Trump’s impeachment.

Pelosi, he contended, is “sitting on the articles” she previously claimed were “so very urgent.”

“These bizarre stunts do not serve our Constitution or our national security. They erode both. … The American people deserve better — a lot better — than this,” he added.

McConnell did not mention Bolton by name but accused Democrats of deviating from the precedent set by President Bill Clinton’s impeachment and trying to “write new rules for President Trump” — signaling that he would not consider witnesses before the proceedings get underway.

“The Senate has a unanimous, bipartisan precedent for when to handle mid-trial questions such as witnesses in the middle of the trial … and that’s the way it should be done this time,” he said, adding: “That was good enough for President Clinton, so it ought to be good enough for President Trump. Fair is fair.”

Sen. Rubio says he’s not interested in Bolton testimony, prompting Democratic pushback

8:25 p.m.
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Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) went on Twitter Monday to pour cold water on the idea of Bolton testifying before the Senate. The Florida Republican argued that the Senate should not consider any documents or witness testimony beyond what the House has already reviewed.

“The testimony & evidence considered in a Senate impeachment trial should be the same testimony & evidence the House relied upon when they passed the Articles of Impeachment,” Rubio tweeted. “Our job is to vote on what the House passed, not to conduct an open ended inquiry.”

His statement drew a sharp rebuke from Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii).

“Nonsense,” Schatz tweeted. “John Bolton has information relevant to the first Article of Impeachment. He has direct knowledge. What Marco is saying here is that the Senate should not conduct a fair trial at all — that we move directly from opening statements to closing arguments and a vote.”

Their back-and-forth came shortly before the Senate opened for business Monday afternoon, with McConnell and Schumer expected to address impeachment in their floor remarks.

Trump continues to hammer Democrats over impeachment on Rush Limbaugh’s show

8:00 p.m.
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During an appearance on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show Monday afternoon, Trump continued to criticize House Democrats for impeaching him, calling the process a “hoax.” He also claimed the results of the investigation led by former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III proved that Democrats found “nothing” on him.

“Even I was impressed with how clean I am, Rush,” Trump said.

Mueller has said his team found insufficient evidence to allege a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia to influence the election.

But on the question of whether Trump obstructed justice, Mueller’s report said that because of Justice Department policy preventing the indictment of a sitting president, he would not decide — even privately — whether the evidence was sufficient to charge Trump with a crime.

Trump also renewed his attacks on Pelosi, accusing the House speaker and other Democrats of trying to influence the 2020 election by withholding the articles of impeachment.

“I think what they’re trying to do is affect the election, illegally. … They are a joke. They are not crimes. There is nothing there. They found nothing,” Trump said.

He added: “They created a situation that was false, that was fraudulent, and then they investigated the false, fraudulent situation.”

Bolton testimony would almost certainly be damaging to Trump, associate says

7:00 p.m.
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Bolton’s testimony would be almost certainly be politically damaging to Trump, according to a person close to him who was not authorized to discuss private conversations.

In recent months, Bolton has confided to friends that he was deeply troubled by his time at the White House and by the president’s behavior, but he has declined to offer many details, the person said, adding that Bolton’s support for Trump’s hard line on Iran would not influence any possible testimony.

“Those are different issues. One doesn’t affect the other,” the person said.

Still, other Bolton associates have privately said that he wants a future in Republican politics and does not want to be seen as a turncoat on Trump or someone who is trying to ingratiate himself with the president’s critics. They noted, for instance, that his statement Monday came from his political action committee’s office as an example of how he’s trying to build out his operation even as he deals with legal issues.

Sen. Jones says he wants to hear from Bolton

6:50 p.m.
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Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.), who has not indicated how he might vote in a Senate trial, said Monday that he wants to hear Bolton’s testimony.

“Regardless of what Bolton’s testimony might be, I want to hear from him and review his documents,” Jones tweeted. “Why wouldn’t anyone if they were committed to #ImpartialJustice?”

Pelosi, Schiff call for an end to the ‘coverup’ after Bolton’s statement

6:25 p.m.
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After Bolton’s statement, Pelosi took to Twitter to claim that Trump and McConnell have “run out of excuses.”

“They must allow key witnesses to testify, and produce the documents Trump has blocked, so Americans can see the facts for themselves,” Pelosi tweeted. “The Senate cannot be complicit in the President’s cover-up.”

Schiff also called for an end to a “coverup” by the Senate.

“Bolton is an important witness to misconduct involving Ukraine that he called a ‘drug deal,’ ” Schiff tweeted. “Bolton refused to testify in the House, following Trump’s orders. Now he is willing to come forward.”

“The Senate must allow testimony from him, Mulvaney and others,” Schiff added, referring to acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, another witness Democrats want to hear from. “The coverup must end.”

Schiff gave no indication as to whether the House might try to subpoena Bolton. His statement referred only to testifying before the Senate.