House Democrats Summon Bolton for Impeachment Inquiry
House Democrats have summoned former national security adviser John Bolton to testify next week in their impeachment inquiry into U.S. President Donald Trump, U.S. media outlets reported Wednesday.
Several other witnesses have testified that Bolton was deeply disturbed that Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, was working behind the scenes to pressure Ukraine to investigate Democrats and 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden for alleged corruption — evidence of which has never surfaced.
Giuliani was apparently running what critics call a "shadow foreign policy" behind the back of the State Department. Bolton was said to have called Giuliani's work a "drug deal" and that he wanted nothing to do with it.
Trump fired Bolton last month after they clashed on several fronts, including Ukraine.
Bolton has been lying low since he left the White House. A lawyer for Bolton said he was "not willing to appear voluntarily," which means the House committees would have to issue a subpoena if they want to hear from him.
The Democrat-led House is holding closed-door hearings to decide whether Trump should be impeached for urging a foreign country, Ukraine, to dig up dirt on a political rival with the aim of helping his re-election bid. Trump allegedly held up $400 million in badly needed military aid to Ukraine unless President Volodomyr Zelenskiy publicly agreed to investigate Biden and the Democrats.
Trump has called the impeachment probe illegitimate because the entire House never voted to conduct it, even though no law requires a vote. The White House has complained that the proceedings are being held away from the public, which is a routine practice for any grand jury-style investigation.
In order to satisfy Republican concerns, the entire House will vote Thursday on a resolution spelling out the rules for the inquiry.
The resolution would make it clear that the Republican minority has equal opportunity to question witnesses, ask for written testimony, and subpoena witnesses and records.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she wanted to "eliminate any doubt" about the process.
One of witnesses in Wednesday's testimony, Foreign Service officer and Ukraine expert Christopher Anderson, said Bolton cautioned him about dealing with Giuliani, warning that Giuliani could complicate diplomatic efforts to improve ties between Washington and Kyiv.
Another Foreign Service officer, Catherine Croft, told the House committees she had received several telephone calls from Robert Livingston, a former Republican congressman-turned- lobbyist, telling her that U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch should be fired.
She said Livingston described Yovanovitch as an "Obama holdover" and "associated with George Soros," a longtime supporter of liberal causes.
"It was not clear to me at the time, or now, at whose direction or at whose expense Mr. Livingston was seeking the removal of Ambassador Yovanovitch," Croft said.
Trump fired Yovanovitch in May. She testified that she was replaced because of "unfounded and false claims by people with clearly questionable motives."
Meanwhile in the Senate, Trump's nominee to become the new U.S. ambassador to Russia, John Sullivan, said at his confirmation hearing he knew Giuliani was involved in efforts to fire Yovanovitch.
When asked whether a president should ask a foreign power to investigate his political opponents, Sullivan replied, "I don't think that would be in accord with our values."
Trump has called the impeachment inquiry a witch hunt and a hoax. He described his July 25 telephone call with Zelenzkiy, in which he was said to have asked for the investigations, as "perfect." The White House released a rough transcript of the Trump-Zelenskiy call.
But Army Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, another National Security Council aide, testified Tuesday that references to Joe Biden and the Ukrainian energy company where his son, Hunter Biden, worked were left out of the transcript and that he proposed filling them in.
White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said Wednesday that this was "false" and again called the impeachment hearings a "sham."
by via Voice of America - English