House intelligence committee chairman Adam Schiff slammed former National Security Adviser John Bolton on Sunday for not voluntarily testifying in the House’s impeachment inquiry.
The California Democrat said on CNN’s “State of the Union” it was possible Mr. Bolton could testify in a potential Senate trial, but that he would still have to answer for “why he waited to explain it in a book” rather than testify in the House.
Mr. Bolton found himself at the center of the impeachment probe into the Ukraine incident as several witnesses, including several of his officials at the NSC, testified about his knowledge of the effort to secure investigations from Ukraine.
Ambassador Gordon Sondland testified last week that Mr. Bolton was one of the president’s top advisors “in the loop” about his attempts to get Ukraine to announce investigations into allegations of 2016 election interference and Vice President Joe Biden’s connection to Burisma.
Mr. Bolton has declined to voluntarily cooperate with the investigation.
However, Mr. Schiff said the House will not wait for the key witnesses — Mr. Bolton, Ruldolph W. Giuliani, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney — that were in the president’s inner circle to testify.
He also wouldn’t close the door to potentially more closed-door depositions and additions to that report as more information comes in.
“That investigative work will go on but what we’re not prepared to do is wait months and months while the administration plays a game of rope-a-dope in an effort to stall,” he said. “The evidence is already overwhelming.”
The intelligence committee is currently working on a report to send to the House Judiciary Committee, which will oversee the next phase of the inquiry as Democrats consider the question of whether to move forward with articles of impeachment.
President Trump’s legal team will also have a formal chance to participate in the judiciary proceedings.
Some rank-and-file members have eyed a potential vote for impeachment before Christmas, but Mr. Schiff said the decision — despite the mountain of evidence — has not been made and shouldn’t be made for political decisions.
“There is a sense of urgency when you have a president who is threatening the integrity of our elections,” he said.
If the House does impeach, the process then moves to the Senate for a trial where Republicans have control.
President Trump said recently he would like Mr. Schiff to be called as one of the additional witnesses to testify in the trial. Republicans have accused the chairman of being a fact witness because of his staff’s early contact with the whistleblower.
Mr. Schiff wouldn’t say whether he would comply with such a demand, dismissing the idea as evidence the Republicans aren’t serious.
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