WASHINGTON, D.C. — Former national security adviser John Bolton said Monday he would testify in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial if the Senate issues him a subpoena, putting new and potentially intense pressure on Senate Republicans to open the impeachment trial further than they had planned.
Several administration witnesses testified during the House investigation of Trump’s actions toward Ukraine that Bolton told them he was concerned about aspects of the president’s behavior. One witness recounted Bolton caustically comparing Trump lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani’s work in Ukraine to a “drug deal.”
Bolton’s testimony —which Democrats have long sought, believing it would shine additional light on Trump’s actions —could serve as a focal point of a Senate impeachment trial.
“I have concluded that, if the Senate issues a subpoena for my testimony, I am prepared to testify,” Bolton said in a statement.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has, so far, resisted calls to have live witnesses testify in the Senate trial. The House voted last month to impeach Trump on two counts —one accusing him of abuse of power, the other of obstructing Congress’ investigation —but Speaker Nancy Pelosi has delayed the formal step of sending the impeachment resolution to the Senate in an effort to put pressure on McConnell to relent.
House Democrats did not subpoena Bolton, but they made clear that they wanted to hear from him. During the House proceedings, Bolton said he would wait for the courts to decide whether witnesses had to testify before Congress or whether they could abide by a presidential directive to not testify in the House’s impeachment effort.
Bolton had tied his fate to that of Charles Kupperman, his former deputy, who asked a court to decide whether he had to abide by a congressional subpoena. A federal judge late last month said that case was moot and didn’t decide the issue.
“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 said in his statement.