- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 21, 2020

House Democrats on Sunday blasted John R. Bolton for not helping remove President Trump from office when he had the chance, saying there is no point in pursuing another impeachment now.

However, Democrats are still weighing whether or not to bring the former national security adviser to Capitol Hill to testify.

Lawmakers across party lines have condemned Mr. Bolton, who refused to testify during the impeachment process, for promoting his new book by connecting it to the proceedings.

“John Bolton is a political opportunist and profiteer,” House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries of New York, who served as an impeachment manager during the trial, said on ABC News’ “This Week.”

Despite the criticism, some Democrats are taking the allegations in Mr. Bolton’s book, “The Room Where It Happened,” seriously, and there is talk of calling him to testify before Congress.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, New York Democrat, was hesitant to embrace those calls.

“We’re not interested in Bolton’s testimony,” he said on CNN’s “State of the Union,” though he later walked that back and left the door open with a “we’ll see.”

Rep. Adam B. Schiff, chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said he and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, both California Democrats, will make a decision on Mr. Bolton sometime after the book is released Tuesday.

A judge over the weekend denied President Trump’s request to halt the release of the book.

“We do need, I think, to expose the length and breadth of this president’s depravity and how much it is endangering the country. So those facts are going to need to come out, and we are discussing with the speaker and my fellow chairs just how to do that,” Mr. Schiff said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“I don’t think we should wait [until November] if we conclude that there are important things that he says that need to be exposed to the public. The public needs to know exactly what they have in this president,” he added.

Mrs. Pelosi has said she doesn’t plan on spending any money on a “book that was a substitute for testifying before Congress.”

Even if Mr. Bolton does talk to lawmakers under oath, trying to charge the president would not be worth the effort, said Mr. Nadler, pointing out the upcoming elections and Senate Republicans’ approach to the last impeachment.

“I believe the president has done a number of impeachable things, including what Mr. Bolton is talking about,” Mr. Nadler said. “That would at this point be a waste of time.”

Mr. Bolton’s allegations made him a key player in the impeachment case against Mr. Trump in January, as the earliest leaks reportedly asserted that Mr. Trump told him that military aid to Ukraine was being blocked until that country turned over information on former Vice President Joseph R. Biden and on whether Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election.

The latest leaks from the book include allegations that Mr. Trump pushed the importance of agricultural trade on his reelection campaign to Chinese President Xi Jinping and praised China’s plan to build “concentration camps.”

Mr. Bolton also claims the president promised Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2018 that he would “take care of” a Justice Department investigation into the Turkish state-owned bank Halkbank and that the investigators were Obama appointees he could replace.

Democrats received criticism for not pursuing a subpoena for Mr. Bolton, who said he would not cooperate with the House.

Senate Democrats used Mr. Bolton’s information to ramp up pressure on vulnerable Senate Republicans to support their push for key witnesses, which did not succeed.

Mr. Schiff and Mr. Nadler, whose committee spearheaded the impeachment investigation and subsequent litigation, defended their decision to keep the case narrowly focused on Ukraine allegations, despite Mr. Bolton’s accusation in his book of “malpractice” for not broadening the scope.

“The fact is the president could have been impeached on other grounds too, including obstruction of justice in the Russia investigation. We chose to keep it simple,” Mr. Nadler said. “Bolton, who has — as we now know — had evidence that he could have offered and refused to offer, is certainly no one to talk.”

Mr. Schiff said House Democrats have been locked in a court battle since last year to secure testimony from former White House Counsel Don McGahn, who defied a subpoena regarding the Russia investigation.

“Our decision has been vindicated by the fact that we are still in court now over a year later trying to get McGahn to testify. Bolton said he would sue us if we subpoenaed him,” he said. “We would still be trying to get John Bolton’s testimony today. And given that the president was trying to cheat in the upcoming election, we couldn’t afford to wait another year to get John Bolton to testify.”

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