John Bolton, the former national security adviser to President Donald Trump, said Monday he is willing to testify in the Senate impeachment trial if subpoenaed.
In a statement posted Monday, Bolton wrote, “I have concluded that, if the Senate issues a subpoena for my testimony, I am prepared to testify.” The decision marks a significant, and potentially dramatic, development in the impeachment process that House Democrats set in motion just two weeks after Bolton left the White House on contentious terms with the president. It’s also a reversal for Bolton, who previously said he would only testify before Congress if he is subpoenaed and a judge ordered him to defy the White House by appearing.
Bolton had a front-row seat to the White House’s pressure campaign against Ukraine to investigate the son of Trump’s political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, including the decision to withhold military aid. He served as Trump’s national security adviser for more than a year, until his departure in September.
Democrats quickly sought to use Bolton’s decision to put pressure on the small group of moderate Senate Republicans who are facing tough re-election fights in November.
“It is now up to four Senate Republicans to support bringing in Mr. Bolton, and the other three witnesses, as well as the key documents we have requested to ensure all the evidence is presented at the onset of a Senate trial,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said. “Given that Mr. Bolton’s lawyers have stated he has new relevant information to share, if any Senate Republican opposes issuing subpoenas to the four witnesses and documents we have requested, they would make absolutely clear they are participating in a cover-up.”
It remains to be seen whether Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., will subpoena Bolton. Congressional leaders remain deadlocked over the parameters of how the trial would be conducted. One of the primary divisions is over Democratic calls to include new witnesses, such as Bolton, and his willingness to testify is likely to put new pressure on Senate Republican leaders to allow witness testimony.