'You did a good job on her': Trump praises Pompeo for confrontation with NPR reporter
President Donald Trump took a moment from presenting his plan for peace in the Middle East on Tuesday to praise his secretary of state — for blasting an NPR reporter.
"That reporter couldn't have done too good a job on you yesterday. I think you did a good job on her, actually," Trump told a chuckling Mike Pompeo during his speech at the White House alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Trump was referring to an interview Pompeo did with NPR's Mary Louise Kelly last week, which the he cut off after she pressed him on why he has never publicly defended former ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.
After Pompeo abruptly ended the interview, an aide called Kelly back to Pompeo's private living room where the correspondent said he "shouted" and "used the F word."
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Defense's closing arguments to wrap up before 'dinner time'
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said they expect Tuesday’s session to be “several hours” with probably one quick break in the middle.
Deputy White House counsel Pat Philbin started opening arguments and Jay Sekulow will be next, followed by a break, and then White House counsel Pat Cipollone will wrap up arguments, Cipollone said.
"Our goal is to be finished by dinner time and well before," he said.
Romney spotted with a new beverage: chocolate milk
'You can't predict him': Lamar Alexander key in vote for witnesses at Senate trial
His political hero is former Sen. Howard Baker, the Republican Tennessee lawmaker remembered for his impartiality during the Watergate impeachment hearings.
Now, all eyes are on Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., as he could be a pivotal vote on whether there are witnesses in President Donald Trump's Senate impeachment trial.
Alexander hasn't tipped his hand and no one is totally sure of which way he'll go.
'You can't predict him," Tom Ingram, Alexander's former chief of staff, told NBC News. "He will hold his counsel, make his own decision and you won’t be sure of it until he makes it known in due course."
Alexander, who is retiring at the end of this term and has a history of working with Democrats on major issues, has been zeroed in on along with GOP Sens. Mitt Romney, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski as the top targets for Democrats hoping to have witness testimony and documentary evidence at the Senate trial.
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Ex-White House chief of staff John Kelly: 'I believe John Bolton'
John Kelly, the retired Marine general who served as Trump's chief of staff for 18 months, said Monday that he believes the reported allegations made by Bolton in an upcoming book.
"If John Bolton says that in the book, I believe John Bolton,” Kelly said at a lecture series appearance in Sarasota, Fla..
Kelly added, "John’s an honest guy. He’s a man of integrity and great character, so we’ll see what happens,” according to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.
The former White House chief of staff said "the majority of Americans would like to hear the whole story," adding, "I think if there are people that could contribute to this, either innocence or guilt ... I think they should be heard.”
Bolton reportedly claims in the upcoming book that Trump linked Ukrainian aid with the investigations he sought into the Bidens in an August conversation with his former national security adviser. Trump denies having done so.
Senate GOP to meet Tuesday on calling witnesses
Senate Republicans are expected to meet after the impeachment trial adjourns Tuesday afternoon to discuss whether to call witnesses, four GOP aides told NBC News.
The meeting is for “starting to check the conference on witnesses,” a GOP leadership aide said. Other topics likely will be discussed as well.
The Senate Republican Conference's conversations on witnesses are taking on a new sense of urgency with Trump's defense team's arguments set to conclude Tuesday and the question-and-answer phase expected to start Wednesday.
Once the 16 hours of senators' questions of the House managers and Trump's lawyers are finished (likely taking two days), there will be up to four hours of debate on whether to consider subpoenas for witnesses.
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Schiff rips Starr, Dershowitz, says defense wants to sweep Bolton testimony 'under the rug'
Lead House manager Adam Schiff ripped into Trump's defense team Tuesday morning, saying they are afraid to let John Bolton testify because "he would tell, in a captivating way that the public would watch, the most pernicious part of the president's scheme — the withholding of hundreds of millions of dollars of military aid to an ally at war in order to coerce these sham investigations.
"They don't want the country to hear it," he continued. "They just want to sweep it under the rug."
Appearing on appeared on MSNBC’s "Morning Joe," Schiff singled out arguments about Rudy Giuliani, who was central to the Ukraine saga, and those presented by Ken Starr and Alan Dershowitz.
"It's hard to know where to begin with the arguments that Giuliani is just a bit player here, even though, of course, the president brought up Rudy Giuliani, I think, more than anyone else in that phone call with Zelenskiy. It was 'talk to Rudy,'" Schiff said. The argument presented by Trump lawyer Pam Bondi that Giuliani is "merely a distraction" wasn't "the least bit credible," he added.
On Starr and Dershowitz, Schiff said, "I was leaning over to my staff counsel and basically saying, 'This is the same Ken Starr that we're talking about, right? This is the same Ken Starr?' And then you've got the debate between 60-year-old Alan Dershowitz and 81-year-old Alan Dershowitz. You know, the weight of their own legal team doesn't believe their legal constitutional theory."
"But I think, at the end of the day, it all boils down to this: You know, they're reading between the lines of their defense," Schiff continued. "It's basically, 'Yeah, he did it, we know he did it, the president knows he did it. We just don't want the American people to see any more evidence that he did it.'
Romney: Each side choosing witnesses 'has some merit'
Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, said Tuesday that the idea of Democratic House managers and Trump's defense team each choosing one or more witnesses "has merit."
When asked by NBC News' Peter Alexander whether he is confident at least three other Republican senators would support hearing from witnesses, Romney said, "I don’t think they’re all settled, as a group or as individuals, as to exactly how they’re going to vote. But I’d like to hear from John Bolton, and I think the idea that’s been expressed in the media about having each side be able to choose a witness, or maybe more than one witness on a prepared basis, has some merit."
Romney added, "I think if you’re going to have one side call witnesses, the other side ought to be able to do the same."
Asked what will happen if Democrats don't go along with the idea, he said, "If you don’t have 51 votes, nothing happens."
Schumer: 'Steady drip, drip, drip' of info against Trump 'further implicates' him
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., predicted Tuesday that the longer President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial goes on, “the more likely that more new evidence will come out that further implicates the president.”
Schumer said there had been a “steady drip, drip, drip of information” with “one explosive article after another coming out” — most recently The New York Times’ reporting on “several stunning chapters from (former national security adviser John) Bolton’s book.”
The minority leader said the steady stream of additional facts pertinent to the charges against Trump was “reminiscent of Watergate.”
Schumer also dismissed calls by Republican senators for testimony from Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden during the trial.
“What can Hunter Biden tell us about the president’s conduct with Ukraine?” Schumer asked, or about Trump’s “obstruction of Congress,” he added.
“Nothing obviously,” he said.
Graham supports making Bolton's manuscript available to senators