Politics

John Bolton says he will testify in Trump's impeachment trial if the Senate subpoenas him

Key Points
  • Former national security advisor John Bolton said in a statement Monday that he is willing to testify in President Donald Trump's impeachment trial if he is subpoenaed by the Senate.
  • "I have concluded that, if the Senate issues a subpoena for my testimony, I am prepared to testify," Bolton said.
  • Republicans hold a 53-47 majority in the Senate, and none of them have yet said they supported Trump's impeachment, let alone his removal from office.
National Security Adviser John Bolton listens as President Donald Trump holds a Cabinet meeting at the White House, April 9, 2018.
Kevin Lamarque | Reuters

Former national security advisor John Bolton said in a statement Monday that he is willing to testify in President Donald Trump's impeachment trial if he is subpoenaed by the Senate.

Democrats are grappling with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., over the rules for Trump's eventual Senate trial, which will determine whether he is convicted on the House-passed articles of impeachment and removed from office.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., wants McConnell to approve four witnesses in advance — including Bolton — but McConnell has rejected Schumer's demand, saying instead that he wants the trial to closely resemble former President Bill Clinton's.

Bolton, rather than formally agree or decline to participate in the House impeachment process, opted instead to make his decision based on the outcome of a related court case. That case, which involved his former colleague Charles Kupperman, was found to be moot by a federal judge in late December.

"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," Bolton wrote in a statement posted to his political action committee's website.

"I have concluded that, if the Senate issues a subpoena for my testimony, I am prepared to testify," Bolton said.

Bolton TWEET

Neither the White House nor McConnell's office immediately responded to CNBC's questions or requests for comment on Bolton's statement.

Republicans hold a 53-47 majority in the Senate, and none of them have yet said they supported Trump's impeachment, let alone his removal from office.

Subpoenas in the Senate would need a "simple" 51-vote majority to pass.

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Bolton, who has a well-known reputation for his super-hawkish foreign policy views, left the White House in September amid a slew of disagreements with Trump — including whether he quit or was fired.

But Bolton has applauded Trump's surprise decision to authorize the airstrike that killed top Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani.

He called the killing a "decisive blow" against Soleimani's Quds Force, a unit of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards. "Hope this is the first step to regime change in Tehran."

Trump was impeached in the Democrat-led House last month on articles of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, both related to his attempt to have Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy announce investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter.

Trump has been accused of trying to pressure a foreign government to interfere in a U.S. presidential race to help Trump's election chances, while his supporters say the probes were legitimate attempts to uncover possible corruption.

Witnesses in the House impeachment inquiry testified that Bolton had called the efforts to get Ukraine to probe the Bidens a "drug deal."

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., who led the way during Trump's impeachment in the House, tweeted that the Senate "must allow testimony from him" and others.

Schiff TWEET

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., agreed. "The Senate cannot be complicit in the President's cover-up," she tweeted.

Pelosi TWEET

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