Former National Security Advisor John Bolton says he’ll testify in Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, and it’s clearly hit a nerve with the president. Learn more about Bolton, and what his testimony could mean.
Former National Security Advisor John Bolton said at the beginning of January that he’s willing to testify in Donald Trump‘s impeachment trial, and now, the Senate is considering it. With mounting pressure on Republicans to call witnesses, Bolton’s testimony could be devastating; the former lawyer has direct knowledge of the president’s dealings with Ukraine, and has the potential to cause GOP senators to deflect should they hear new evidence. With Trump now attacking Bolton on Twitter and attempting to block him from publishing a White House memoir, it’s becoming increasingly clear that his testimony would be vital. Here’s what you need to know:
1. He was Trump’s National Security Advisor from April 2018 to September 2019. After firing General H.R. McMaster, 57, as National Security Advisor in 2018, Trump replaced him with Bolton. In a March 22, 2018 tweet, the president announced: “I am pleased to announce that, effective 4/9/18,
@AmbJohnBolton will be my new National Security Advisor. I am very thankful for the service of General H.R. McMaster who has done an outstanding job & will always remain my friend. There will be an official contact handover on 4/9.” Bolton exited the administration in September 2019 after an increasingly tense term that ended in him and Trump even disagreeing about whether he quit or was fired.
2. The White House is attempting to block him from publishing his book. The Trump administration issued a threat to Bolton to keep him from releasing The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir. In a letter to Bolton’s lawyer, Charles Cooper, obtained by CNN, a top official at the National Security Council argued that the unpublished draft of Bolton’s memoir “appears to contain significant amounts of classified information,” and cannot be released as is. The letter, dated January 23, claims that the allegedly “top secret” information “reasonably could be expected to cause exceptionally grave harm to the national security.
“Cooper issued a letter in response, stating that “”If [Bolton] is called to testify [before the Senate], it seems certain that he will be asked questions that will elicit much of the information contained in the chapter of his manuscript dealing with his involvement in matters relating to Ukraine. We do not believe that any of that information could reasonably be considered classified, but given that Ambassador Bolton could be called to testify as early as next week, it is imperative that we have the results of your review of that chapter as soon as possible.”
….many more mistakes of judgement, gets fired because frankly, if I listened to him, we would be in World War Six by now, and goes out and IMMEDIATELY writes a nasty & untrue book. All Classified National Security. Who would do this?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 29, 2020
3. He announced he would testify in a statement. Minutes after leaving a voicemail for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell about his intentions, Bolton issued a statement on his site: “I have concluded that, if the Senate issues a subpoena for my testimony, I am prepared to testify.” The House of Representatives did not subpoena Bolton to testify, though he said he was willing to comply in that trial, as well.
4. Trump had previously considered him as a potential Secretary of State. In a 2016 interview, then-candidate Trump revealed that he had Bolton on his list as a possible Secretary of State. Bolton admitted in a December 2016 episode of Fox and Friends that Trump almost considered him to be his top diplomat; Exxon Oil CEO Rex Tillerson got the job instead. Tillerson was fired by Trump on March 13.
5. He worked under three other Republican presidents besides Trump. Bolton served as George W. Bush‘s United Nations Ambassador. He worked in the State and Justice Departments under Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush‘s administrations.