Former National Security Adviser John Bolton has said that he would testify in an impeachment trial against President Trump should he be subpoenaed by the Senate.
Bolton has been sought by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and other Senate Democrats as a witness in the pending impeachment trial, along with other members of the administration, including acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney. But the GOP majority has not at this point agreed to witnesses, and the entire process is in a holding pattern as Speaker Nancy Pelosi continues to sit on the impeachment articles.
While Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell has yet to say if there will even be any witnesses called at the trial, some believe that Bolton’s bold statement could put additional pressure on Republicans to do so.
“The House has concluded its Constitutional responsibility by adopting Articles of Impeachment related to the Ukraine matter,” Bolton said Monday. “It now falls to the Senate to fulfill its Constitutional obligation to try impeachments, and it does not appear possible that a final judicial resolution of the still-unanswered Constitutional questions can be obtained before the Senate acts.”
The statement continued, “Accordingly, since my testimony is once again at issue, I have had to resolve the serious competing issues as best I could, based on careful consideration and study,” he continued. “I have concluded that, if the Senate issues a subpoena for my testimony, I am prepared to testify.”
Top Democrats have already seized on the former NSA’s statement to renew their calls for his testimony. Shortly after the statement’s release, Schumer claimed Bolton’s offer gives “momentum” to the push for testimony.
“Given that Mr. Bolton’s lawyers have stated he has new relevant information to share, if any Senate Republican opposes issuing subpoenas to the four witnesses and documents we have requested they would make absolutely clear they are participating in a cover up,” he said in a statement.
During the House impeachment inquiry, Bolton was invited to testify before the House Intelligence Committee. Bolton did not attend his scheduled deposition, but the committee did not take the step to issue a subpoena for his testimony.
His testimony was sought following the claims of acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor, who said Bolton was opposed to Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, which led to an anonymous whistleblower complaint that sparked the inquiry.
Schumer defended his party’s efforts to seek certain high-level witnesses and documents, noting how recently published emails have started to fill out the details of the administration’s decision to freeze aid to Ukraine while the president sought politically advantageous investigations from Kiev. Schumer said last week it is imperative to learn the “whole truth,” while voicing concern McConnell could end up holding a “mock trial.”
However, McConnell has flatly rejected Pelosi’s efforts to shape a pending impeachment trial, calling it a “fantasy.”
“Their turn is over. They’ve done enough damage. It’s the Senate’s turn now to render sober judgment,” he said, while stressing that the Senate cannot hold a trial unless and until Pelosi transmits the two articles. McConnell indicated that the Senate process is at a standstill for now, and accused the House of getting “cold feet.”
“The same people who spent weeks screaming that impeachment was so urgent … now decided it could wait indefinitely while they check the political winds and look for some new talking points,” he said.