Former national security adviser John Bolton said that he would testify in the Senate’s impeachment trial against Donald Trump, but the president suggested on Friday that he would block Bolton from testifying “for the sake of the office.”
While speaking with Laura Ingraham on Fox News, Trump claimed that he would like to have “everybody” in his administration testify, but that he couldn’t allow it because it could hurt future presidents, according to The Hill.
Ingraham asked Trump if he would use executive privilege to block Bolton from testifying.
“I think you have to for the sake of the office,” he said. “Especially a national security adviser. You can’t have him explaining all of your statements about national security concerning Russia, China and North Korea — everything. We just can’t do that.”
Trump went on to say that he’d like to see acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, along with former members of his administration like Rick Perry, testify, but to do so could hurt the office of president now and in the future.
“I would love everybody to testify,” Trump said. “I’d like Mick to testify. I’d like Mike Pompeo to testify. I’d like Rick Perry to testify. I want everybody — but there are things that you can’t do from the standpoint of executive privilege.”
“So we have to protect presidential privilege — for me but for future presidents,” he added.
Trump’s comments echo the ones that he made previously about blocking the former national security adviser from testifying before the Senate.
Democrats have been eager to hear from Bolton because he had inside knowledge about Trump’s communication with Ukraine, having once described the interactions as a “drug deal”.
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"John Bolton is a witness with first-hand information…Senate Republicans: Americans deserve the truth. Let Bolton testify." pic.twitter.com/1omh7xukPN
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) January 11, 2020
The president was impeached by the House after they determined that he may have pressured Ukraine to investigate his primary political opponent Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden. Democrats claim that Trump obstructed Congress by attempting to prevent them from finding out details about the situation, and by abusing the powers of his office.
Bolton’s attorneys say that he has information that is relevant to the trial regarding Trump’s and his staffers’ communication and meetings with Ukraine.
While Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said that having Bolton testify isn’t necessary for the trial, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has said that he wants to force a vote on impeachment witnesses when the trial likely begins next week.