Nadler says it’s ‘likely’ House will subpoena Bolton
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) said Wednesday that it is “likely” that the House will issue a subpoena to President Trump’s former national security adviser John Bolton.
Nadler said that a final decision had not been made yet, but that the odds were that House Democrats would issue a subpoena after the Senate voted last week not to call any witnesses in Trump’s impeachment trial.
“I think it’s likely, yes,” Nadler told reporters. “We’ll want to call Bolton.”
Nadler elaborated that Democrats would continue their investigations even after the Senate’s expected vote later Wednesday to acquit Trump on the two articles of impeachment passed by the House.
Nadler defended pursuing further investigations into the White House in an election year.
“First of all, I think when you have a lawless president, you have to bring that to the fore and you have to spotlight that. You have to protect the Constitution, whatever the political consequences. Second of all, no, as more and more lawlessness comes out, I presume the public will understand that,” Nadler told reporters outside a Democratic caucus meeting.
But a decision on the House issuing a subpoena to Bolton is not set in stone.
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), the Democratic caucus chairman and one of the seven impeachment managers, said that subpoenaing Bolton would be a “question for further discussion” that would be decided by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.).
Bolton’s upcoming book reportedly will claim that Trump wanted to withhold nearly $400 million in security assistance to Ukraine until its government agreed to open investigations into his political opponents.
House Democrats asked Bolton to testify last fall but did not issue a subpoena. Bolton declined to testify because the White House didn’t authorize him to appear as a witness in the impeachment inquiry.
Democrats opted against trying to force Bolton to testify out of concerns that the fight would take months to resolve in the courts.
But in January, Bolton announced that he would be willing to testify in the Senate impeachment trial if he were subpoenaed. Senators, however, narrowly voted last week against calling any witnesses.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) suggested on Wednesday that there is value in hearing from Bolton, even after the Senate impeachment trial has ended. But he deferred the decision to the committee leaders, like Nadler, who have been examining Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.
“I don’t think they’re going to be precluded by any vote of the Senate on that,” Hoyer told reporters in the Capitol. “But the committees will make that decision.”
Hoyer acknowledged that there are some moderate Democrats facing tough reelections who are ready to put the whole saga behind them and turn their focus to legislation. But, he predicted voters will understand if Democrats frame the ongoing investigation as routine oversight, rather than a second stab at impeachment.
“The committees … will be making a determination whether that information is useful to get for their oversight responsibilities, not necessarily for the impeachment process, but for … closing the book, finding out the information,” he said. “I think that they may well do that, but they’re going to make that decision.”
–Mike Lillis contributed to this report, which was updated at 12:20 p.m.