Bolton defends not testifying: ‘I don’t think it would have made a difference’
Former national security adviser John Bolton defended his decision not to testify in the House impeachment inquiry into President Trump, telling ABC’s Martha Raddatz that his testimony would not have made a difference in the outcome.
“I don’t think it would have made a difference because of the way the Democrats pursued the impeachment process in the House,” Bolton said in the interview, which aired Sunday evening.
Bolton was deeply critical of the House Democrats’ impeachment process, claiming they were chiefly motivated by politics in their decision to move the impeachment quickly and keep it focused on Trump’s dealings with Ukraine. He described the process as a “partisan catfight.”
“I think the way the House advocates of impeachment proceeded was badly wrong. I think it was impeachment malpractice,” Bolton said. “I think they were determined because of their own political objectives to conduct an impeachment proceeding that was very narrowly focused on Ukraine, and that went very, very quickly.”
“Because they didn’t want to mess up the Democratic presidential nomination. Now, I find that conduct almost as bad and somewhat equivalent to Trump,” Bolton continued. “That they’re torquing one of the gravest constitutional responsibilities the House of Representatives has, the power of impeachment, around their presidential nomination schedule.”
Bolton refused to testify before the House last fall and was never served a subpoena by the lower chamber. The House voted in December to impeach Trump for abusing his power and obstructing Congress in a 230-197 vote that fell almost completely along party lines.
Bolton later said he would be willing to testify before the GOP-controlled Senate during the impeachment trial if served a subpoena. However, the upper chamber voted against calling witnesses and ultimately voted to acquit Trump of the impeachment charges in two largely party-line votes.
Bolton’s forthcoming memoir, “The Room Where It Happened,” describes an August 2019 conversation during which Trump allegedly directly linked security assistance to Ukraine to investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden and 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
A central allegation of Democrats’ impeachment case was that Trump withheld military assistance from Ukraine in order to pressure the country for investigations that could advantage him politically. Trump denied any wrongdoing throughout the impeachment process, and he has more recently described Bolton’s book as “made up of lies & fake stories.”
Democrats have harshly criticized Bolton for refusing to testify about his knowledge of Trump’s actions in light of new public revelations from his memoir, which will be released on June 23.
“John Bolton may be an author, but he’s no patriot,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said in a statement released Thursday, after news outlets reported on details from Bolton’s memoir, accusing the former Trump adviser of “self-serving silence during the impeachment investigation.”
“When Bolton was asked [to testify by the House], he refused, and said that he would sue the House if he was subpoenaed. When Senate Republicans blocked Bolton’s testimony during the Senate trial to protect Trump, we asked if Bolton would be willing to provide written testimony before the trial was over,” Schiff said. “He refused, again, and decided to save it for his book.”