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Lankford says senators should get access to Bolton manuscript

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Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., walks on Capitol Hill, Monday, Jan. 27, 2020, in Washington, before the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. (AP Photo/ Jacquelyn Martin)
Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., walks on Capitol Hill, Monday, Jan. 27, 2020, in Washington, before the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. (AP Photo/ Jacquelyn Martin)

U.S. Sen. James Lankford said Monday that senators should be given access to a manuscript written by former national security advisor John Bolton that reportedly bolsters the argument that President Donald Trump withheld aid to Ukraine to force an investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden.

The Oklahoma Republican also urged Bolton to speak publicly about the matter.

“I think getting that information first-hand would be really important for us,” Lankford said on Facebook after the second day of White House defense arguments in the impeachment trial of the president.

“My encouragement would be: If John Bolton’s got something to say, there’s plenty of microphones all over the country that he should step forward and start talking about it right now.”

In the meantime, Lankford said, senators should get access to the manuscript even though it’s going through a screening process to determine whether it contains classified information. All members of Congress have clearances to read classified information, Lankford said.

“That’s a minimum amount that we should actually be able to get and I am encouraging the White House, anybody that I can talk to to say: That manuscript is pertinent and we should get access to that manuscript to see what they’re actually saying,” Lankford said.

“We still have quite a few days before we have to decide on witnesses and about testimony. There will be more that will continue to be able to come out to be able to make that decision. As I’ve said all along, the decision about witnesses and additional testimony and additional evidence comes at the end of the trial. If all the questions are answered, we don’t need it. If the questions are not answered, then we may.”

Lankford’s comments came a day after the New York Times reported that the manuscript for a book Bolton has written includes a recounting of a conversation in which Trump told the former advisor that he would continue to withhold aid until Ukraine conducted the investigations he sought, including one regarding Joe Biden’s son’s service on the board of a natural gas company in Ukraine.

Trump said in a tweet on Monday, “I NEVER told John Bolton that the aid to Ukraine was tied to investigations into Democrats, including the Bidens. If John Bolton said this, it was only to sell a book.”

Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe, also a Republican, said Monday that he didn’t see the need for Bolton to testify at the trial.

Inhofe said Bolton “has always been a friend of mine, but he was fired by the president—that can have an effect on a person.”

Inhofe, like most Republican senators, has said that witnesses would unnecessarily prolong Trump’s trial on impeachment articles alleging abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

Inhofe has also said that there is no direct evidence that Trump withheld military aid to Ukraine last year to force that country to investigate Biden, who may be Trump’s election rival next year.

Inhofe said, “I still don’t believe we need to hear from any additional witnesses. The House managers have stated several times that they have a clear case against the president, yet they want us to do their work for them. Calling additional witnesses at this point is just a Democrat effort to drag this thing out until November.”

The Senate, controlled by Republicans, is expected to vote late this week on whether to call witnesses.

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<strong>Inhofe</strong>

Inhofe

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-e6532ebb8e587f32db663d638772cfb3.jpg" alt="Photo - Inhofe " title=" Inhofe "><figcaption> Inhofe </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-dc35ffae0170b2872962b1e28a89baa5.jpg" alt="Photo - Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., walks on Capitol Hill, Monday, Jan. 27, 2020, in Washington, before the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. (AP Photo/ Jacquelyn Martin)" title="Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., walks on Capitol Hill, Monday, Jan. 27, 2020, in Washington, before the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. (AP Photo/ Jacquelyn Martin)"><figcaption>Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., walks on Capitol Hill, Monday, Jan. 27, 2020, in Washington, before the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. (AP Photo/ Jacquelyn Martin)</figcaption></figure>
Chris Casteel

Chris Casteel began working for The Oklahoman's Norman bureau in 1982 while a student at the University of Oklahoma. Casteel covered the police beat, federal courts and the state Legislature in Oklahoma City. From 1990 through 2016, he was the... Read more ›

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