Romney wants ‘to hear from John Bolton’ in impeachment trial
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) said on Monday that he wants to hear from John Bolton after the former White House national security adviser offered to testify in President Trump’s impeachment trial if subpoenaed.
Romney told reporters at the Capitol that he wants to hear from Bolton and find out “what he knows” about Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.
“I would like to be able to hear from John Bolton. What the process is to make that happen, I don’t have an answer for you,” he added.
Romney is the first GOP senator to specifically say he wants to hear from Bolton since the former Trump administration official said earlier Monday that he is willing to testify if the Senate subpoenas him.
Romney did not indicate if he thinks there needs to be a deal on hearing from Bolton at the outset of the trial, saying Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) are still working on trying to get a deal on the rules.
Bolton is one of four witnesses that Senate Democrats want to call as part of Trump’s trial. They’ll need four Republicans to support their efforts if they are going to successfully subpoena him.
Bolton did not appear before the House and was not subpoenaed as part of its impeachment inquiry after his lawyers made clear he would not appear without a subpoena and that he would want a court to resolve the question of whether he could be forced to testify.
Bolton announced in a statement on Monday that he would testify if he is subpoenaed by the Senate, a decision that immediately sent shockwaves through Washington.
“The House 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,” Bolton said in a statement.
“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. I have concluded that, if the Senate issues a subpoena for my testimony, I am prepared to testify,” he added.
Bolton did not indicate what he was prepared to tell senators, but he witnessed key moments leading up to and following the July 25 call during which Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate a debunked theory about Kyiv’s involvement in the 2016 Democratic National Committee server hack as well as former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden’s business dealings in Ukraine.
Bolton’s offer to testify comes as Senate Republicans have increasingly embraced a speedy impeachment trial with no witnesses for either Trump’s legal team or the House impeachment managers.
McConnell has personally said he does not believe witnesses should be called. He is urging the Senate to pass two resolutions in regards to the trial. One, passed at the outset, would deal with the rules of a trial. The second, passed after opening arguments and questions from senators, would determine which, if any, witnesses would be called to testify.
McConnell could force through his preferred setup for a trial if he can keep 51 of his 53 member-caucus united.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) has said she is “open” to witnesses but thinks the decision should wait until after the initial phase of the trial.
—Updated at 5:26 p.m.