John Bolton says he will testify in Trump's impeachment trial if Senate subpoenas him




  • In Business
  • 2020-01-06 18:52:11Z
  • By USA TODAY
John Bolton says he will testify in Trump\
John Bolton says he will testify in Trump\'s impeachment trial if Senate subpoenas him  

WASHINGTON - John Bolton, President Donald Trump's former national security adviser, said Monday that he is "prepared to testify" in a Senate impeachment trial - if he's subpoenaed by the GOP-controlled chamber.

"I have concluded that, if the Senate issues a subpoena for my testimony, I am prepared to testify," Bolton said in a statement Monday.

Bolton's unexpected statement - coming after he's played coy for weeks about what he knows and whether he would dish on Trump - plays into the hands of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Democrats.

If Senate Republicans now refuse to subpoena Bolton and other witnesses, "they would make absolutely clear they are participating in a cover up," Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said shortly after Bolton issued his statement.

Democrats want Bolton to testify, hoping he would be a bombshell witness in their case against Trump, which accuses the president of soliciting interference from Ukraine in the 2020 presidential election.

Bolton has hinted that he could offer new details about the Ukraine pressure campaign.

He was "personally involved in many of the events, meetings, and conversations about which you have already received testimony," his lawyer said in a November letter to House Democrats, "as well as many relevant meetings and conversations that have not yet been discussed in the testimonies thus far."

On Monday, Bolton said he's tried to balance his obligations "as a citizen and as former National Security Adviser," portraying himself as torn between a presidential directive not to testify and a desire to comply with a congressional request for information.

But skeptics questioned the sincerity of Bolton's offer, saying the Republican-run Senate is unlikely to call any witnesses.

The House impeached Trump for abuse of power and obstructing Congress in a historic vote on Dec. 18. Pelosi has not yet sent the two articles of impeachment to the Senate for a trial; she's held them back as leverage in her effort to pressure Republicans to call new witnesses during a Senate trial.

In November, Bolton defied a request from Democrats leading the House impeachment inquiry to testify. At the time, Bolton's lawyer told lawmakers he would take the impeachment committee to court if it subpoenaed him.

House Democrats decided not to subpoena Bolton during their probe, arguing it would delay their investigation with a protracted court battle; instead, they labeled Bolton's refusal to appear as evidence of obstruction.

Since the House vote, Schumer has pushed for summoning four witnesses who did not testify during the House inquiry, including Bolton and acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has balked at calling any witnesses, pushing for a quick trial that would lead to Trump's acquittal. Republicans have criticized Pelosi for refusing to transmit the articles of impeachment to the Senate, saying they have not yet been able to organize the trial.

There's no question Bolton, who clashed with Trump repeatedly and left the White House on acrimonious terms, could provide an insider's account of Trump's effort to pressure Ukraine's president, Volodymyr Zelensky, for political favors.

According to Fiona Hill, one of Bolton's former deputies, Bolton was alarmed by the Ukraine pressure campaign, particularly the role of Rudy Giuliani, Trump's personal lawyer, played in carrying out that shadow foreign policy agenda. Hill said Bolton called Giuliani a "hand grenade" and referred to the Ukraine effort as a "drug deal" that would backfire on the White House.

Impeachment supporters welcomed the prospect of Bolton's testimony, saying he can shed light on the president's decision to temporarily block aid to Ukraine as he and others pressing Zelensky to open two investigations that would benefit Trump in his 2020 re-election campaign.

"Good for you @AmbJohnBolton," tweeted Neal Katyal, former acting solicitor general and author of a book on impeachment. "We are all Americans, united in our pursuit of the truth."

Katyal added; "I hope your White House colleagues, including President Trump, follow your lead and testify as well. The American people deserve no less."

But Barb McQuade, a former federal prosecutor, described Bolton's new statement as "a PR move" designed to help the former national security adviser sell copies of his forthcoming book.

"He is currently in a bad spot because he looks like he was willing to tell his story only for money, not for country," said McQuade, a law professor at the University of Michigan. "He is gambling that the Senate will not demand his testimony."

If McConnell does subpoena him, Bolton could always change his mind, citing executive privilege, McQuade said.

Others said that, depending on how the Senate trial's rules are written, a simple majority of senators could approve a subpoena - and a few GOP senators may want to hear from Bolton and others.

"Everyone saying 'yeah but the Senate won't subpoena Bolton' ... just chill for a moment," tweeted national security lawyer Bradley P. Moss. "Let the president stew with this new cycle for a few hours."

Moss told USA TODAY that "all eyes" would now be trained first on Trump, to see how he reacts to Bolton's statement, and then on a handful of moderate GOP senators who could potentially break with McConnell to demand testimony from Bolton and other witnesses.

Schumer said Sunday it would take only four Republican senators to join Democrats in the push for witnesses, and possibly new documents.

"We have the ability to require votes on the four witnesses we've asked for, whether there's agreement or not," Schumer said on ABC's This Week. "We have the ability to ask for the documents and I hope, pray, and believe there's a decent chance that four Republicans will join us."

The White House declined to comment on Bolton's statement.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: John Bolton says he's 'prepared to testify' in Trump impeachment trial

COMMENTS

More Related News

Mount Rushmore: Isn
Mount Rushmore: Isn't it time to talk about its Native American history?​​​​​​​

As the U.S. and NFL reckon with their relationship to Native Americans, Mount Rushmore remains almost completely devoid of important history.

Leading Homeland Security Under a President Who Embraces
Leading Homeland Security Under a President Who Embraces 'Hate-Filled' Talk

WASHINGTON -- Elaine C. Duke, then President Donald Trump's acting secretary of homeland security, arrived at the Roosevelt Room, down the hall from the Oval Office, on a steamy August afternoon in 2017 expecting a discussion about Trump's pledge to terminate DACA, the Obama-era protections for young immigrants. Instead, she said, it was "an ambush.""The room was stacked," she recalled. Stephen Miller, the architect of the president's assault on immigration, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and other White House officials demanded that she sign a memo ending the program, which they had already concluded was illegal. She did not disagree, but she chafed at being cut out of the real...

Trump wears mask while visiting wounded soldiers, medical workers at Walter Reed hospital
Trump wears mask while visiting wounded soldiers, medical workers at Walter Reed hospital

Trump, who has been criticized for not wearing a mask at public events, donned one while visiting wounded soldiers at Walter Reed hospital

Trump wears mask in public for first time during pandemic
Trump wears mask in public for first time during pandemic
  • World
  • 2020-07-11 21:43:35Z

President Donald Trump wore a mask during a visit to a military hospital on Saturday, the first time the president has been seen in public with the type of facial covering recommended by health officials as a precaution against spreading or becoming infected by the novel coronavirus. Trump flew by helicopter to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in suburban Washington to meet wounded servicemembers and health care providers caring for COVID-19 patients. As he left the White House, he told reporters: "When you're in a hospital, especially ... I think it's a great thing to wear a mask."

Romney, breaking with GOP, criticizes Trump for commuting Roger Stone
Romney, breaking with GOP, criticizes Trump for commuting Roger Stone's prison sentence

The Utah Senator was the first prominent voice in the Republican Party to publicly disavow the president's decision to erase Stone's prison sentence.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

  • xxnx
    (2020-01-14 02:51:54Z)

    Democrats want Bolton to testify, hoping he would be a bombshell witness in their case against Trump, which accuses the president of soliciting interference from Ukraine in the 2020 presidential election.

    REPLY

Top News: Business