- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 30, 2019

House Democrats on Wednesday asked former national security adviser John Bolton to testify next week as part of their impeachment inquiry.

The closed-door deposition is scheduled for Nov. 7.

Democrats also called John Eisenberg and Michael Ellis, two lawyers for the National Security Council, to testify. Mr. Eisenberg, the council’s top attorney, is scheduled to appear Monday. It is not immediately clear when Mr. Ellis is expected to be deposed.

Mr. Bolton has the potential to deliver the most explosive testimony regarding President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine. He was involved in some of the key events related to the Ukraine matter, which is the centerpiece of Democrats’ impeachment inquiry.

The longtime Republican loyalist could defend the president. But Mr. Bolton, who was fired by the president last month, may also have an ax to grind.

The White House could also try to block Mr. Bolton from testifying as it has done with previous witnesses.

Charles Cooper, a lawyer for Mr. Bolton, did not immediately return a request for comment. CNN reported late Wednesday that Mr. Cooper would not let his client testify without a subpoena.

Mr. Bolton did not depart the White House on good terms. The president said he fired the veteran of multiple Republican administrations, because of numerous policy disagreements.

Disputing the president’s claim, Mr. Bolton insisted he resigned and has since spoken out against the administration’s policies.

His name has come up frequently during other witnesses’ impeachment testimony. One witness quoted Mr. Bolton as disparaging Rudy Giuliani’s plan to press Ukraine to find dirt on former Vice President Joseph R. Biden as a “drug deal.”

Democrats have alleged Mr. Trump withheld a $400 million military aid package from Ukraine unless its leaders investigated Mr. Biden and his son, Hunter. The president has insisted there was no quid pro quo.

Other witnesses have told Congress Mr. Bolton raised alarms about the administration prodding Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate the Bidens.

Fiona Hill, a former National Security Council official who served under Mr. Bolton, testified earlier this month that he vehemently opposed a plan to have Ukraine investigate the Bidens and conspiracy theories related to the 2016 election.

Ms. Hill said that Mr. Bolton was so concerned after hearing the U.S. ambassador to the European Union tie a meeting between the president and his Ukraine counterpart to a Biden probe that he told her to notify White House lawyers.

Mr. Bolton compared the transaction to a “drug deal” and said Mr. Giuliani’s Ukraine efforts were “a hand grenade who’s going to blow everybody up,” Ms. Hill testified.

Another witness, Bill Taylor, the top envoy to Ukraine, told lawmakers that Mr. Bolton was “so irritated” that the administration sought to link a Zelensky meeting with a Biden investigation that he abruptly ended a meeting. Mr. Taylor also told National Security Staffers at the meeting, “they should have nothing to do with domestic politics.”

Mr. Taylor also testified that Mr. Bolton opposed the president’s July 25 phone call with Mr. Zelensky because “it would be a disaster.” That phone call has accelerated the Democrats’ impeachment push.

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