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Iran Press TV

Trump implies he would block Bolton's testimony in impeachment trial

Iran Press TV

Sunday, 12 January 2020 12:46 AM

US President Donald Trump has implied he would block his former national security adviser John Bolton from testifying before the Senate's impending impeachment trial, insisting that Bolton's testimony would undermine his authority.

"I think you have to for the sake of the office," said the impeached US president on Friday night in response to a question during an interview with Fox News's Laura Ingraham on whether he would use executive privilege to block Bolton from testifying.

"Especially a national security adviser," he added. "You can't have him explaining all of your statements about national security concerning Russia, China and North Korea – everything. You just can't do that."

Trump further claimed he would "love everybody to testify," including Bolton, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and former energy secretary Rick Perry.

However, he went on to emphasize "there are things that you can't do from the standpoint of executive privilege."

The comments mark a doubling down by Trump, who signaled last week he would block Bolton from appearing before the Senate.

"So we have to protect presidential privilege – for me but for future presidents," he underlined.

The development came after Bolton announced in a Monday statement that he would be willing to testify in a Senate impeachment trial if subpoenaed, even over administration objections.

Democrats have insisted on hearing from the former national security adviser because of his intimate knowledge of Trump's dealings with Ukraine, the focal point of the impeachment articles against him.

Trump has allegedly demanded investigations into a conspiracy theory about election interference and allegations of corruption involving former US vice president Joe Biden -- a possible rival in November's presidential election -- in return for nearly $400 million in crucial military aid and a White House meeting.

Those efforts led to bitter impeachment hearings in the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives and passage of two articles of impeachment against Trump, for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

The impeachment hearings contained dramatic testimony from White House aides, including that Bolton had referred to approaches to Ukraine as a "drug deal" and refused to get involved.

Bolton's attorneys have also confirmed that he has relevant information on meetings and conversations regarding Ukraine.

The Republican-controlled Senate, however, seems intent on passing a resolution defining the parameters for Trump's upcoming impeachment trial that does not include provisions for witness-calling, with Republicans apparently in agreement on rules for the proceedings.

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