Democratic New York Senator Chuck Schumer has dismissed his Republican colleagues' proposal to study John Bolton's manuscript in a classified setting, calling it an "absurd proposal."
"It's a book," Schumer said, speaking to reporters on Tuesday. "There's no need for it to be read in the SCIF [Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility] unless you want to hide something," the senator suggested.
Earlier, senior Republican leaders including Lindsey Graham voiced support for releasing the manuscript of Bolton's unpublished book in a classified setting before it is allowed to be presentated as evidence in the ongoing impeachment trial.
"I totally support Senator James Lankford's proposal that the Bolton manuscript be made available to the Senate, if possible, in a classified setting where each senator has the opportunity to review the manuscript and make their own determination," Graham tweeted.
I totally support @SenatorLankford's— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) 28 января 2020 г.
proposal that the Bolton manuscript be made available to the Senate, if possible, in a classified setting where each Senator has the opportunity to review the manuscript and make their own determination. https://t.co/e18nUfSMgI
On Sunday, the New York Times reported that Bolton's forthcoming new book contains testimony that the president told him about his alleged intention to continue freezing nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine until Kiev reopened a frozen investigation into possible corrupt activities of former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden in Ukraine in the aftermath of the 2014 Maidan coup.
President Donald Trump quickly dismissed the NYT piece's claims, tweeting that he "NEVER told" Bolton anything of the sort, and adding that the former advisor may have made up sensational claims to "sell a book." Trump reiterated that the publicly available transcript of his telephone calls with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky were "all the proof that is needed" to show that "there was no pressure and no problems."
Bolton, who left the White House in September after clashing with Trump on his foreign policy in relation to a number of countries and conflicts, refused to attend a deposition in the House impeachment inquiry against the president in November, but said he would be prepared to testify during the Senate trial if he was subpoenaed to do so.
Earlier, Senator Graham said he would support Bolton's testimony to the record of the Senate trial if it was determined that there was a need to do so. "If the Senate needs to secure testimony from John Bolton, then I will say so if I think that's necessary for fairness. But I also have said for weeks that if we call one witness, we're gonna call witnesses requested by the president, and we'll make that decision Thursday," he said, speaking to reporters on Monday.
The House moved to impeach President Trump late last year, charging him with abuse of power for allegedly pressuring Ukraine to reopen its investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden, Trump's potential rival in 2020, and the activities of his son Hunter Biden in Ukraine between 2014 and 2019. The Republican-dominated Senate impeachment trial began last week, with the Constitution requiring a two thirds majority for Trump to be removed from office.
While Democrats accuse Trump of trying to strong-arm Ukraine into digging up dirt on his potential opponent, Trump and his Republican allies accuse the former vice president of pressuring Kiev to shut down the investigation into his son in 2016, and allege that Hunter Biden received his $50,000 a month no-show job on the board of a Ukrainian energy company in exchange for access to the Obama White House. Both sides continue to deny any wrongdoing.