After months of the Democrats behaving as if John Bolton’s testimony would have somehow been the nail-in-the-coffin in President Trump’s impeachment trial, the former national security adviser finally broke his silence to disabuse people of that notion.
Speaking at Vanderbilt University this week, Bolton said that impeachment efforts against Trump were “grossly partisan,” while clarifying that his testimony would not have altered the president’s acquittal in the Senate.
“Bolton contended that the House ‘committed impeachment malpractice,’ drawing some grumbling from the audience, saying ‘the process drove Republicans who might have voted for impeachment away because it was so partisan,'” reports the Associated Press.
Prior to the Senate impeachment trial of President Trump, The New York Times reported on a leaked manuscript of Bolton’s book about his time working in the Trump administration. In the book, Bolton reportedly alleged that President Trump told him to freeze the $391 million in military aid to Ukraine until officials agreed to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden’s corruption and 2016 election meddling. The leak prompted Senate Democrats to demand that Bolton be called to testify in the impeachment trial, which Republicans blocked from happening. Though Bolton said he did not expect to have his testimony stopped, he ultimately believed it would have made no difference.
“People can argue about what I should have said and what I should have done,” Bolton said. “I would bet you a dollar right here and now, my testimony would have made no difference to the ultimate outcome.”
Bolton was appearing alongside Susan Rice, former Obama national security adviser, who said that her own book was subject to pre-clearance by the White House, adding nothing caused her “to refuse to share information with Congress or the public that I thought was of national import.”
“I can’t imagine withholding my testimony, with or without a subpoena,” Rice said. “I also can’t imagine, frankly, in the absence of being able to provide that information directly to Congress, not having exercised my First Amendment right to speak publicly at a time when my testimony or my experience would be relevant.”
Earlier this week, while speaking at Duke University, Bolton openly worried about his upcoming memoir being censored by the White House, which will touch upon hot-button issues, such as the president’s dealing with Ukraine.
“For all the focus on Ukraine and the impeachment trial and all that, to me, there are portions of the manuscript that deal with Ukraine, I view that like the sprinkles on the ice cream sundae in terms of what’s in the book,” Bolton told the audience. “This is an effort to write history and I did it the best I can. We’ll have to see what comes out of the censorship.”
“I’m hoping ultimately I can get the book published,” he added. “I hope it’s not suppressed.”
During the same talk, Bolton said that Trump’s North Korea policy was “a wasted two years,” and that talks to denuclearize the Kim Jong Un regime “are doomed to failure” since his only goal is to “break free” of sanctions.
“It was perfectly evident it was going to fail,” Bolton said, as reported by The Daily Beast. “There is not a single piece of evidence that the government of North Korea has made a strategic decision to give up the pursuit of nuclear weapons.”