Former White House security chief John Bolton is reportedly in negotiations to testify in the impeachment inquiry, which is seen as a potentially devastating blow to Donald Trump.
Bolton is in talks with the Democratic-led committees to testify about Trump’s actions toward Ukraine, CNN reported. Trump is accused of pressuring Ukraine into digging up dirt on political opponent Joe Biden, applying pressure by withholding military aid and dangling a White House visit in exchange for Ukraine publicly announcing an investigation into the company at which Biden’s son worked.
Bolton reportedly resisted Trump’s plan to pressure Ukraine, speaking out internally and referring to Rudy Giuliani’s attempts to pressure Ukraine as “drug deals,” the New York Daily News noted. The report added that Bolton’s testimony could be a significant blow to Trump as Bolton would represent a member of the conservative political establishment, with any damaging testimony likely carrying more weight publicly than anyone who have testified so far.
“Bolton would bring a serious dose of conservative star power to the impeachment drama that has so far been dominated by little-known diplomats,” the report noted. “Bolton is best known as a key architect of the war in Iraq and as a hard right-winger who makes no apologies for exercising American power overseas.”
Donald Trump has strongly pushed back against the impeachment inquiry, claiming it is unfair and that Republicans have been shut out of the process. A group of congressional Republicans echoed that argument this week as they stormed a secured room where a deposition was taking place, demanding to take part. Critics slammed it as a political stunt, noting that many of the Republicans involved were actually on the committees in question and would have been allowed in the room anyway.
The argument that the impeachment inquiry is being conducted unfairly even got some pushback from Fox News, for whom legal analyst Andrew Napolitano noted that Democrats are only following the rules for investigations that Republicans voted into place in 2015. One was voted in when Hillary Clinton was facing investigation for the terrorist attack in Benghazi and her use of a private email server.
There have already been damaging developments in the impeachment inquiry, including testimony from top diplomats that Donald Trump conditioned the release of military aid on Ukraine launching an investigation into the Bidens. The Trump administration is also accused of trying to stifle the initial whistleblower complaint that detailed Trump’s alleged actions to pressure Ukraine.