John Bolton’s lawyer tells Democrats that he's sitting on undisclosed Ukraine info — but his testimony is far from guaranteed

John Bolton’s lawyer tells Democrats that he's sitting on undisclosed Ukraine info — but his testimony is far from guaranteed
Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour.

Ironically, Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives are hoping that former National Security Adviser John Bolton — someone many were highly critical of in the past — will prove to be a major ally in their impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump. Bolton, to the disappointment but not the surprise of House Democrats, did not show up for a planned deposition on Thursday. But they're still hoping that that the former White House official will testify at some point, and according to the New York Times, Bolton attorney Charles J. Cooper told Congress that he has valuable information on “many relevant meetings and conversations” pertaining to the Ukraine scandal.

According to Cooper, the former national security adviser didn’t show up for the deposition on Thursday because he wants a judge’s advice on whether or not he or Charles M. Kupperman (his former deputy) should testify in defiance of the White House. President Donald Trump has urged officials who are subpoenaed in connection with the impeachment inquiry to defy the subpoenas and not testify.

Chairmen of House committees, Baker reports, have withdrawn a subpoena for Kupperman and have indicated that they don’t plan to seek one for Bolton because they don’t want to get involved in a lengthy court battle. However, they’re hoping that Bolton will agree to testify voluntarily.

In a letter, Cooper told House Democrats that Bolton “was personally involved in many of the events, meetings and conversations about which you have already received testimony, as well as many relevant meetings and conversations that have not yet been discussed in the testimonies thus far.”

Bolton, a neocon known for favoring an ultra-hawkish foreign policy, was a surprising pick for President Donald Trump’s administration in light of Trump’s isolationist and pro-Russia views. Bolton’s aggressive views on foreign policy have drawn vehement criticism from both the left and the right.

As national security adviser during the key events at the heart of the Ukraine scandal — and as a common figure in the narratives of other witnesses — Bolton is likely privvy to key information about the matter.

The Times notes that Bolton “objected to Mr. Trump’s decision to suspend $391 million in security aid to Ukraine and the decision to call President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine on July 25.”

Bolton could be an important witness, according to Baker, because “unlike most of those who have testified so far,” he “would bring knowledge of what the president himself said” about Ukraine.

“Most of the witnesses have described what people around the president said, but few recounted any direct conversations with Mr. Trump,” Baker explains. “As his national security adviser who saw him daily, Mr. Bolton presumably could take investigators into the Oval Office as none of their witnesses have.”

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