OnPolitics: The day impeachment witnesses became a maybe

Louie Villalobos, USA TODAY

If you've been sitting in the shadows, waiting for John Bolton-impeachment crossover news, now is your time to shine. 

Heads up, it's a lot to sort out. Heads up part 2, we'll sort it out for you, so please don't panic. Or, do. We don't know your life. 

Will Bolton be called to testify, or nah? 

The news of a Bolton-authored book broke Sunday and the details suggest President Donald Trump told the former national security advisory that aid to Ukraine was indeed held up pending a Biden investigation. 

What that meant for impeachment on Monday is that the only question being asked of Senators was would they now agree to allow for more witnesses and documents. It'd been a hard pass on that so far, but all signs point to a reconsideration following news of the Bolton book. 

Several lawmakers dodged the question about Bolton but Maine Independent Sen. Angus King said he expects as many as 10 Senators to vote in favor of allowing witnesses, including Bolton, once the Trump team is finished making its case.

Okay, but it wasn't all Bolton today on impeachment, was it? 

Not everybody has hitched their impeachment interest to the Bolton wagon, right? That's cool. We have that covered, too. Here's what you missed today if you decided to live your life free of binge-watching the trial. 

  • Mike Purpura, a deputy White House counsel defending President Donald Trump in the trial, argued that House Democrats ignored the president’s well-known concern about corruption in Ukraine 
  • Ken Starr, a private lawyer representing Trump in the Senate impeachment trial, urged senators to step back from an “age of impeachment” with three presidential inquiries in 50 years by rejecting the partisan investigation.
  • The Senate chaplain, retired Rear Adm. Barry Black, opened the impeachment trial by mentioning it was Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts’ birthday. He turned 65. “Thank you for giving our chief justice another birthday,” Black said, as Roberts smiled.
  •  Trump’s lawyers focused on Hunter Biden, the son of his Democratic rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, during their arguments in the Senate impeachment trial. Eric Herschmann, a private lawyer representing Trump, questioned why Hunter Biden was hired and paid so much by Burisma without any experience in the natural gas industry

Prince Andrew is ghosting the FBI in Epstein inquiry 

Prince Andrew has not responded to interview requests from the  FBI and federal prosecutors in the government's investigation into accused child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, Manhattan's chief federal prosecutor said Monday.

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said the embattled Duke of York, who indicated last year that he would assist law enforcement authorities with inquires into his former friend's activities, has provided "zero" cooperation.

Facing allegations that Epstein once forced a 17-year-old girl to have sex with the prince, Andrew announced in November that he was stepping away from his public duties as a royal. The prince and Buckingham Palace have cast the allegations as "false and without any foundation."

Have you ever wanted to join a Facebook group dedicated entirely to the calm discussion of politics? 

You've got impeachment questions. We've got answers 

We asked members of our "Across the Aisle, Across the Nation" Facebook group what questions they wanted to know about the impeachment trial. Nick Wu, USA TODAY political reporter, came through with the answers. 

Phyllis Brown asked: Why is Trump not there? Answer: Trump isn’t actually required to be at the trial. He said earlier this week he’d “love” to be at the trial, but his lawyers have poured cold water on that idea.

Dennis Stevens asked: Why won’t they let witnesses when they have in the past allowed witnesses? Answer: The Senate hasn’t actually decided on witnesses yet — they have to get through this first stage of the trial, when both the prosecution and defense will make their cases, then they’ll take a separate vote early next week on whether to allow witnesses or documents. That vote only requires a simple majority, though Republicans control the Senate 53-47. 

Want to read more about the questions people asked? Join our Facebook group

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Impeachment trial: Senators could vote to allow John Bolton testimony