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Yale-Trained Lawyer Who Wrote a Book Instead of Testifying Says Democrats Should Have Done Better Impeaching Trump


DURHAM, NC - FEBRUARY 17: Former National Security Advisor John Bolton discusses the "current threats to national security" during a forum moderated by Peter Feaver, the director of Duke's American Grand Strategy, at the Page Auditorium on the campus of Duke University on February 17, 2020 in Durham, North Carolina. A sold out crowd joined to listen to reflections from John Bolton's life's work. Questions from the audience were offered to Bolton by the moderator. A scheduled protest was held outside while attendees lined up for entrance.

New leaks from a book written by former ambassador and National Security Advisor John Bolton indicate the former official’s distaste over the way President Donald Trump’s impeachment hearings were handled by handled by Democrats in Congress.

“Mr. Trump’s critics complained that Mr. Bolton should have come forward during impeachment proceedings rather than save his account for a $2 million book contract,” writes the New York Times. But that is hardly new news. Bolton at first refused to testify during the Trump impeachment but later said he would if the Republican-led Senate subpoenaed him to do so. Behind the scenes there was legal wrangling over whether or not separation of powers principles would prevent Bolton, a former close advisor to the president, from talking.

Despite his non-participation in impeachment proceedings, Bolton criticized the way Democrats handled Trump’s impeachment over the Ukraine affair. He said that there were plenty of other lines of inquiry that House Democrats should have explored.

“Mr. Bolton . . . had nothing for scorn for the House Democrats who impeached Mr. Trump, saying they committed ‘impeachment malpractice’ by limiting their inquiry to the Ukraine matter and moving too quickly for their own political reasons,” the Times reported. “Instead, he said they should have also looked at how Mr. Trump was willing to intervene in investigations into companies like Turkey’s Halkbank to curry favor with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey or China’s ZTE to favor President Xi Jinping.”

Bolton said Trump was “pleading with Xi to ensure he’d win. He stressed the importance of farmers, and increased Chinese purchases of soybeans and wheat in the electoral outcome,” per a quote form the book reported by the Times.

Bolton did not say the incidents were impeachable per se, the Times reported, but Bolton did report them to Attorney General William Barr and White House Counsel Pat Cipollone. Bolton also said the House of Representatives should have looked into them, the Times reported.

“A president may not misuse the national government’s legitimate powers by defining his own personal interest as synonymous with the national interest, or by inventing pretexts to mask the pursuit of personal interest under the guide of national interest,” Bolton wrote in his book, according to the Times. “Had the House not focused solely on the Ukraine aspects of Trump’s confusion of his personal interests . . . there might have been a greater chance to persuade others that ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’ had been perpetrated.”

The New York Times more generally described Bolton’s book, which is the subject of a Trump Administration lawsuit this week seeking to bar its publication, as follows: “It is a withering portrait of a president ignorant of even basic facts about the world, susceptible to transparent flattery by authoritarian leaders manipulating him and prone to false statements, foul-mouthed eruptions and snap decisions that aides try to manage or reverse.”

The book also reportedly says Trump “sought to intervene in law enforcement matters for political reasons.”

The Times report is based upon a copy of Bolton’s book which the newspaper obtained prior to its official release.

[Photo by Melissa Sue Gerrits/Getty Images]

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Aaron Keller holds a juris doctor degree from the University of New Hampshire School of Law and a broadcast journalism degree from Syracuse University. He is a former anchor and executive producer for the Law&Crime Network and is now deputy editor-in-chief for the Law&Crime website. DISCLAIMER:  This website is for general informational purposes only. You should not rely on it for legal advice. Reading this site or interacting with the author via this site does not create an attorney-client relationship. This website is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney. Speak to a competent lawyer in your jurisdiction for legal advice and representation relevant to your situation.