House impeachment manager Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) on Wednesday said former national security adviser John Bolton wouldn’t submit a sworn affidavit amid the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump after the Senate voted to reject witnesses.
Schiff, speaking to MSNBC, said Democrats approached Bolton’s lawyers to see whether he’d be willing to provide a written statement in the trial that would describe “what he observed in terms of the president’s Ukraine misconduct, but he refused.”
During the trial last month, The New York Times published a report that contained allegations from a manuscript of Bolton’s upcoming book. In it, the former ambassador reportedly claims that Trump told him he was linking military aid to Ukraine and politically advantageous investigations, which Trump and other senior White House officials have repeatedly denied. The alleged conduct was at the center of the first article of impeachment against Trump, abuse of power.
As a result, House impeachment managers made references to the NY Times report and attempted to pressure the Senate into calling witnesses, but last Friday, that push ultimately failed when the Senate voted down a resolution—setting up the president’s acquittal on Wednesday. House managers complained the trial was unfair and rigged in favor of Trump after their witness push was rejected.
In early January, Bolton said in a statement on his website he would be willing to testify during the Senate’s impeachment trial if he was handed a subpoena. It came after House Democrats attempted to call him to testify in the impeachment inquiry before withdrawing their subpoena, saying that it would lead to a lengthy court battle that would slow down their impeachment process.
Schiff told MSNBC on Wednesday: “For whatever reason, [Bolton] was willing to testify before the Senate but apart from that seems intent on saving it for his book. He’ll have to answer for that.” He later said that there has been “no decision made” about whether Bolton would be given a new subpoena to testify.
Bolton’s lawyer did not issue a response when asked for comment.
This week, House impeachment manager Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) said his House Judiciary panel will “likely” issue a subpoena to Bolton. “We want to call Bolton,” he told reporters. “You have to protect the Constitution, whatever the political consequences,” Nadler said before adding, “As more and more lawlessness comes out, I presume the public will understand that.”
But Schiff said that fellow Democrats will have to discuss the matter with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
“What we have decided in discussing this with the Speaker is, we were going to try the case, we would conclude the trial and we would consider what next steps we should take afterward,” he said.
Late Wednesday, Trump was acquitted on both charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, which came about a month and a half after he was impeached in the House in a mostly party-line vote. The president is expected to make an official statement later Thursday.
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) was the only GOP senator to join Democrats in casting a vote to convict Trump for abuse of power, but he rejected the obstruction of Congress charge. No Democratic senators—even the ones that won states that Trump carried in 2016—voted to acquit the president.