Willing to testify on Trump's trial, says Bolton

Months after he was fired by US President Donald Trump, former national security advisor John Bolton on Monday said he is ready to testify before the Senate on Trump's impeachment trial

"I have concluded that, if the Senate issues a subpoena for my testimony, I am prepared to testify," said the former NSA. (Photo Credit: AFP)

Months after he was fired by US President Donald Trump, former national security advisor John Bolton on Monday said he is ready to testify before the Senate on Trump's impeachment trial.

The surprising move by 71-year-old Bolton adds a new dimension to the ongoing impeachment proceedings against Trump, who is only the third president in the US' history to face such an attempt to remove an elected president from power.

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

The House, he said, has concluded its Constitutional responsibility by adopting articles of Impeachment related to the Ukraine matter.

"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," he said.

Bolton said 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 added that during the present impeachment controversy, he has tried to meet his obligations both as a citizen and as a former national security advisor.

Unlike the House of Representatives, where the opposition Democratic party enjoyed a majority, the ruling Republicans have a majority in the Senate.

The Democrats have alleged that they do not expect a fair trial in the Senate. The charges have been denied by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Senate Minority Leader, Chuck Schumer, on the Senate floor demanded that Bolton be subpoenaed during the trial for his testimony. He described Bolton as one of the key witnesses with knowledge of the president's dealings with Ukraine, about how decisions were made to withhold security assistance, and how opposition within the administration to that delay that Trump seemed to want, was overcome.

“Given that Mr. Bolton’s lawyers have stated he has new and 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, in one of the most sacred duties we have in this Congress, in this Senate. And that is to keep a President in check,” Schumer said.

On the other hand, McConnell has suggested the Senate follow the 1999 example of beginning the impeachment trial first and then deciding on witnesses and documents after the arguments are complete.

“In 1999, every single US senator agreed to establish basic parameters for the start of the trial upfront, and we reserved mid-trial questions such as witnesses until later. The vote was 100-0,” McConnell argued.

Schumer dismissed the argument.

“He keeps making this argument, it doesn’t gather any steam, because it’s such a foolish one. Let me again respond, for the benefit of my colleagues: witnesses and documents are the most important issue and we should deal with them first,” he said.

Republican Senator Mitt Romney, and a bitter Trump critic, favored Bolton’s appearance before the Senate. He said he wanted to hear from Bolton what he knows.

Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein demanded that the Senate issue subpoena to Bolton.

“Given John Bolton’s willingness to appear before the Senate, I can see no reason not to call on him to testify. As President Trump’s national security advisor, he had firsthand knowledge of the president’s actions and thinking with respect to Ukraine,” she said.

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