In Potentially ‘Significant’ Step, John Bolton’s Lawyers Reportedly Negotiating Impeachment Inquiry Deposition

National Security Advisor John Bolton

Lawyers for John Bolton are reportedly in talks about the former Trump National Security Adviser sitting for a deposition behind closed doors in House Democrats’ ongoing impeachment inquiry. It’s a move that some are hailing as potentially “very significant,” which could be true for more than a few reasons.

The New York Times also confirmed this on Thursday:

Impeachment investigators have negotiated in recent days with a lawyer for Mr. Bolton about a date for him to be deposed behind closed doors, according to two people briefed on the matter.

Bolton, a Republican foreign policy hawk who does not like being called a neocon, is not an individual who can be accused of being a Deep State Democrat. Bolton worked in the White House and was a witness to key events regarding the Trump Administration’s Ukraine machinations. He did not want to be a part of U.S. Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland and acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney’s “drug deal.”

Bolton resigned — or was fired, depending on the individual speaking about it — in September. Bolton submitted his resignation letter on Sept. 10, two days before it was reported that the White House had agreed to release congressionally appropriated military aid to Ukraine. Top U.S. diplomat to Ukraine Bill Taylor, who testified that the aid was being held up until Ukraine agreed to conduct the politically-motivated investigations President Donald Trump wanted, said that he even went to Bolton at a pivotal moment with concerns.

Taylor testified that by mid-August, weeks after the controversial July 25 Trump-Zelensky phone call he did not yet know about, he was still not sure why the security assistance was being withheld. He said he started to believe that the Trump Administration’s policy of “strong support for Ukraine” appeared to be in doubt. Taylor said that Bolton arrived in Kyiv on August 27 and met with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky. Taylor said the military aid was not discussed that day, but the news about the aid being withheld was first reported by Politico on Aug. 28/29. 

In that story, a “senior administration official” claimed the following:

President Donald Trump asked his national security team to review the funding program, known as the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, in order to ensure the money is being used in the best interest of the United States, a senior administration official told POLITICO on Wednesday.

Taylor said that he met with Bolton privately during his Kyiv visit and raised his “serious concern about the withholding of military assistance to Ukraine while the Ukrainians were defending their country from Russian aggression.”

Taylor said Bolton recommended sending a first-person cable to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Taylor said he did just that on Aug. 29.

“I told the Secretary that I could not and would not defend such a policy,” Taylor said. “Although I received no specific response, I heard that soon thereafter, the Secretary carried the cable with him to a meeting at the White House focused on security assistance for Ukraine.”

If Bolton were to testify, he would be in a position to corroborate this testimony and fill in some gaps.

[Image via Mark Wilson/Getty Images]

Matt Naham is managing editor of Law&Crime. He formerly worked as news editor and weekend editor at Rare.

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