Former National Security Advisor John Bolton is negotiating on testifying in the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry against the president, with his lawyers in contact with House committees involved in the probe, an unnamed individual said to be close to Bolton told NBC news on Friday.
Trump administration officials refused to comment on the report directly, with one official telling CNBC that “We’re not going to talk about Bolton.”
In mid-October Fiona Hill, Trump’s former Russia and Eurasia advisor, who left her post in late July, testified before Congress, telling officials that Bolton had told her that he was “not part of whatever drug deal” Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani and acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney were “cooking up” amid alleged efforts to pressure Ukraine into reopening an investigation into Joe Biden’s son over possible corruption.
Hill’s testimony led to speculation that it was “increasingly likely” that House Democrats would subpoena Bolton to testify in the Trump impeachment inquiry.
Earlier this month, anonymous sources told Yahoo News that Trump suspected that a “spiteful” Bolton may have been responsible for some of the Ukraine-related leaks which prompted the Democrats to launch an impeachment inquiry against the president last month.
The impeachment probe revolves around President Trump’s July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which he was accused of trying to ‘dig up dirt’ on former Vice President Joe Biden, a contender in the Democratic primaries for the 2020 nomination, and of threatening to withhold US military aid to Kiev unless a criminal probe into Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, was reopened.
Zelensky himself denied the claims of pressure from Trump, saying the phone call was productive. The White House released a transcript of the call, showing no direct evidence of any apparent pay-to-play pressure on Trump’s part. In the transcript, Trump accuses Biden of publicly “bragging” about having the Ukrainian prosecutor investigating his son fired. Hunter raised the suspicions of Ukrainian anti-corruption authorities over his alleged suspicious dealings with Ukrainian energy company Burisma, but the investigation was halted in 2016 after President Poroshenko fired the prosecutor investigating him, directly following a visit by Vice President Biden.
Trump rejected any wrongdoing in the Zelensky phone call and called the impeachment proceedings “witch hunt garbage” and an attempted “coup.”
Bolton, a prominent neoconservative, and one of the architects of the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, became Donald Trump’s national security advisor in 2018. An avid supporter of US military intervention around the world, Bolton has promoted regime change operations in Iraq, Iran, Venezuela, North Korea, Syria and Libya, and called on the US and its allies to beef up their efforts to ‘contain’ Russia and China militarily. Bolton left his post as national security advisor in September, with President Trump saying he fired him, while Bolton maintaining that he had tendered his resignation.