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John Bolton in heated exchange with BBC anchor over lack of impeachment testimony

Former White House national security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonPressure grows from GOP for Trump to recognize Biden election win Sunday shows - Virus surge dominates ahead of fraught Thanksgiving holiday Bolton calls on GOP leadership to label Trump's behavior 'inexcusable' MORE engaged in a heated interview with BBC "Newsnight" anchor Emily Maitlis over his lack of testimony during President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden adds to vote margin over Trump after Milwaukee County recount Krebs says allegations of foreign interference in 2020 election 'farcical'  Republicans ready to become deficit hawks again under a President Biden MORE's impeachment hearings last year.

"You were given the chance to testify in [Trump's] impeachment. You were begged to do your duty as a citizen," Maitlis told Bolton over a live video conference call. "You refused to tell the American people what you saw and what you know."

Bolton swiftly interjected, saying, "Well, you're absolutely wrong about that," continuing his thought, adding, "There's a history here that I'd be delighted to lay out, although I'm sure you won't broadcast any of it because it's too complicated."

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Maitlis interrupted Bolton midway through his comment, causing the former national security adviser to lose some of his composure by loudly exclaiming, "Let me finish! Let me finish. OK?"

Bolton explained to Maitlis that the House of Representatives never subpoenaed him during the impeachment.

"The fact is, the advocates of impeachment did a terrible job and made the situation much worse, because they impeached Trump, but by their own actions failed to achieve a conviction in the Senate," said Bolton.

Still, Maitlis cited Bolton's tell-all book, "The Room Where It Happened," where the former adviser explains the impeachment process and how it lacked the evidence to convict the president of abuse of power and obstruction of justice alleged in Trump's call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in December 2018.

"You explain ... that it wasn't big enough, the parameters weren't wide enough. ... But you still had a chance to say out loud to the people of America what you knew," said Maitlis.

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"And I did that, and it took 500 pages to do it," said Bolton.

"Not until the book deal," Maitlis interjected, later adding, "The point is, I'm sure you did well in the book deal. But if Donald Trump gets reelected, which you've already hinted would be problematic — presumably, you will have to accept your part in that?"

Maitlis then alleged Bolton "covered up a criminal act," prompting Bolton to ask the anchor, "Do you work for free?"

"I take a salary," she said, to which Bolton replied, "That's why I got reimbursed for the book."

In his final remarks, Bolton restated, "I didn't cover anything up. ... The administration has made something of a precedent in American history by trying to suppress the book. That should tell you what they think of what I've revealed in it."

The advent of Bolton's book release earlier this year prompted much backlash from officials within the White House, seeking litigation over claims the former adviser potentially published classified information or important matters of national security.