Trump says Bolton testimony up to Senate, claims former adviser knows 'nothing'

President TrumpDonald TrumpEx-Trump lawyer Cohen to pen forward for impeachment book Murkowski says it would be 'appropriate' to bar Trump from holding office again Man known as 'QAnon Shaman' asks Trump for pardon after storming Capitol MORE said Tuesday that John BoltonJohn BoltonAfter insurrection: The national security implications McConnell won't reprise role as chief Trump defender Cyber czar to draw on new powers from defense bill MORE, his former national security adviser, would “know nothing about what we’re talking about” even if the former White House aide were to testify in the Senate impeachment trial.

Asked by reporters during a meeting with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis whether he would be comfortable with Bolton testifying, Trump responded, "That's going to be up to the lawyers. It'll be up to the Senate, and we'll see how they feel."

“He would know nothing about what we're talking about because, as you know, the Ukrainian government came out with a very strong statement, no pressure, no anything, and this from the boss,” Trump continued. “That's from the president of Ukraine. The foreign minister came out with a statement that was equally as strong.”


Bolton, who left his White House post on testy terms with the president, said in a statement Monday that he would be willing to testify in a Senate impeachment trial of Trump if subpoenaed because the legal question of whether a senior adviser to the president can be subject to compelled congressional testimony would not be resolved until after the conclusion of a trial. 

“I have had to resolve the serious competing issues as best I could, based on careful consideration and study. I have concluded that, if the Senate issues a subpoena for my testimony, I am prepared to testify,” Bolton said.  

It appears unlikely, however, that the GOP-controlled Senate will call Bolton to testify.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump seeks to freeze .4 billion of programs in final week of presidency McConnell about to school Trump on political power for the last time Murkowski blasts Trump's election claims, calls House impeachment appropriate MORE (R-Ky.) announced Tuesday that he had the votes to pass an organizing resolution to begin the trial without requiring witness testimony. Democrats have pushed for the Senate to call Bolton and other White House officials to testify about the Trump administration's dealings with Ukraine.

Bolton is viewed as a key witness because he was privy to events leading up to and following Trump’s July 25 conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, during which the president asked Ukraine to investigate a debunked theory about 2016 election interference as well as former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenConfirmation hearing for Biden's DNI pick postponed Biden's Sunday inauguration rehearsal postponed due to security concerns: report Murkowski says it would be 'appropriate' to bar Trump from holding office again MORE and his son Hunter Biden’s business dealings in Ukraine.


Bolton described the effort by administration officials to press Ukraine for the investigations as a “drug deal,” according to witness testimony in the House impeachment inquiry. His attorneys have also said he has relevant information on meetings and conversations regarding Ukraine.

The Democrat-controlled House voted almost strictly along party lines last month to impeach Trump for abusing his office by pressuring a foreign leader to launch politically motivated investigations and for obstructing the congressional inquiry into his dealings with Ukraine.

Trump has maintained he did nothing wrong on the phone call, describing it as “perfect” and insisting Democrats impeached him in order to damage him politically. As he did Tuesday, Trump has pointed to statements from Ukrainian officials saying they felt no pressure from him.

Bolton, who declined to testify before the House but was never subpoenaed, had previously said he would wait until a lawsuit by his former deputy Charles Kupperman was resolved. Kupperman had asked a court to decide whether he should obey a congressional subpoena for testimony or the White House instructions that he not testify, but a federal judge declared the case moot last month.