In wake of Bolton book news, White House allies say Trump lawyers bungled defense

Reports that John Bolton has written a firsthand account of the president’s direct involvement in withholding aid to Ukraine has left some Republicans confused and angry over the legal strategy by the president’s defense team — which devoted much of its first day of arguments in the Senate impeachment trial Saturday to arguing that no such firsthand evidence existed.

One Republican operative in contact with the White House said he was “flabbergasted at how stupidly they have handled this.”

Trump attorney Mike Purpura argued Saturday that “not a single witness testified that the President himself said that there was any connection between any investigations and security assistance, a presidential meeting, or anything else.”

That assertion echoes what the president’s legal team argued in their legal brief filed a week ago: “House Democrats’ claims are built entirely on speculation from witnesses who had no direct knowledge about anything and who never even spoke to the President about this matter.”

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