John Bolton, the former National Security Adviser to President Donald Trump who stepped down from his position this past summer amid contentious disagreements with the commander-in-chief, would agree to testify before a House impeachment inquiry if he were told by a federal court he could do so, sources close to him said on Thursday.
Bolton could be an important witness in the ongoing impeachment inquiry, which is focusing on the Trump administration’s alleged attempts to compel Ukraine to investigate political foes of the president in order to secure military aid, and/or secure a meeting with the commander-in-chief face-to-face with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Several sources speaking with the Washington Post, who are familiar with Bolton’s thinking, said that the former National Security Adviser would be willing to tell House investigators what happened from his point of view with regards to Ukraine. Bolton would only agree to speak, however, if a federal court ruled that he could do so.
It’s expected that Bolton, if he did indeed testify, would confirm statements and conversations he had with Trump, according to the sources. One of the sources added that Bolton’s statements would be “damaging” to Trump.
Bolton was requested by Democrats to appear before at a hearing on Thursday, however, he did not make an appearance, as several other Trump administration officials have refused to do this week. Democrats also signaled that they didn’t want to go through a months-long process of subpoenaing Bolton and arguing in the courts to compel him to speak before them, the New York Times reported.
— SFGate (@SFGate) November 7, 2019
Bolton allegedly viewed a backchannel effort, led by Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, to attain investigations from Ukraine with contempt, a former NSC aide said in testimony last month. According to Dr. Fiona Hill, who has already spoken before the impeachment inquiry, Bolton directed her to report any efforts by Giuliani and others working with him to White House lawyers.
Hill added that Bolton told her in a direct way that he didn’t want any involvement in Giuliani’s shenanigans. “I am not part of whatever drug deal Rudy and [White House chief of staff Mick] Mulvaney are cooking up,” Hill testified Bolton said to her.
Bolton also allegedly described Giuliani as “a hand grenade who’s going to blow everybody up,” Hill added.