National Security

Bolton will not voluntarily testify, says his lawyer

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Former national security adviser John Bolton will not appear voluntarily to testify in connection with the House impeachment inquiry into President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.

Bolton’s attorney Chuck Cooper told The Hill in an email late Wednesday that Bolton would not appear voluntarily and would need to be subpoenaed.

{mosads}House Democrats have issued subpoenas to several witnesses in order to compel their testimony amid efforts by the White House to prevent their appearance. The White House has refused to cooperate with the impeachment inquiry, describing it as illegitimate and an attempt to overturn the results of the 2016 presidential election.

House investigators on Wednesday invited Bolton, who was dramatically ousted as Trump’s third national security adviser in September, to testify at a deposition on Nov. 7, next week.

It is not clear whether a subpoena will be enough to compel his appearance. Charles Kupperman, former deputy national security adviser, filed a lawsuit on Friday asking a federal court to weigh in on whether he should obey a subpoena to testify or instructions from the White House against cooperating, describing himself as caught between two competing branches of government.

Kupperman did not show up for scheduled testimony on Monday. A court hearing on the matter has been scheduled for Thursday.

Bolton, who has the same attorneys as Kupperman, as viewed as a potential bombshell witness for Democrats as they seek to uncover more about the Trump administration’s interactions with and policies toward Ukraine.

At the center of the impeachment inquiry is a July 25 phone call in which Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to “look into” allegations against former Vice President Joe Biden, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, and his son Hunter’s dealings in Ukraine.

Trump has insisted the call was “perfect” and that it had to do with fighting “corruption” in Ukraine and nothing to do with politics. However, it triggered an intelligence community whistleblower complaint alleging that the president used his official position to solicit foreign interference in the upcoming election.

Democrats are, among other things, investigating whether military aid to Ukraine was conditioned on Kiev opening investigations sought by Trump; the president has denied the existence of any “quid pro quo.”

A parade of witnesses have testified behind closed doors in connection with the inquiry; according to portions of their testimony leaked out into the press, several witnesses expressed concerns over an unconventional channel of policymaking on Ukraine involving Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani.

Bolton’s name has come up during the depositions. He is said to have been alarmed by a July 10 meeting during which U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland linked “investigations” to a White House meeting between Trump and Zelensky, reportedly later referring to it as a “drug deal.”

Trump announced Bolton’s ouster on Twitter in September, the culmination of disagreements between the two on policy moves related to the Afghanistan War, Iran and North Korea. Trump and Bolton also disagreed over whether the national security adviser had quit or been fired. 

Tags Donald Trump Impeachment Joe Biden John Bolton Rudy Giuliani
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