Bolton on impeachment: ‘My testimony would have made no difference to the ultimate outcome’
Former national security adviser John Bolton is downplaying the impact his testimony would’ve had in President Trump’s Senate impeachment trial, saying it would’ve made “no difference” in the outcome.
During an event at Vanderbilt University on Wednesday, Bolton was confronted by his predecessor, former national security adviser Susan Rice, over whether he had shirked his constitutional duty by not testifying before Congress without being subpoenaed by lawmakers, according to CNN.
“I thought a lot about if I had been in that position how would I have approached it, and I’ll be honest: It’s inconceivable to me that if I had firsthand knowledge of gross abuse of presidential power that I would withhold my testimony from a constitutional accountability process,” Rice said.
Bolton responded, countering that he never said he would reject a congressional subpoena to testify: “In no case did I say I would reject a subpoena.”
Rice then fired back: “I can’t imagine withholding my testimony with or without a subpoena.”
That remark was followed by a sharp line of attack from Rice, who accused Bolton of being “not being willing to come forward” about alleged wrongdoing by Trump and said that she would feel ashamed were she to act in a similar manner.
“That, to me, makes it even more difficult, as a former national security adviser, not being willing to come forward,” Rice said, according to CNN. “I would feel like I was shamefully violating the oath that I took to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic.”
Bolton then countered that his testimony would not have made a difference: “I will bet you a dollar right here and now my testimony would have made no difference to the ultimate outcome.”
“If anybody thinks to the contrary, I just don’t think you knew what was going on in Washington,” he reportedly added.
The remarks are both Bolton’s strongest to date describing his possible testimony as well as some of Rice’s first public comments about the impeachment inquiry, which ended earlier this month with the acquittal of the president on two House-passed articles of impeachment.
Trump and his allies have maintained that the effort was a Democratic witch hunt aimed at ending his presidency, while Democrats and Trump’s critics have argued that he abused power in office with his pursuit of politically charged criminal probes in Ukraine.