President Donald Trump’s former chief of staff John Kelly is facing being called as an impeachment witness by Democrats after vouching for John Bolton’s word.
Jerry Nadler, one of the House impeachment managers said that Kelly might have knowledge that was relevant, after the retired Marine general made a rare public statement to say he believed Bolton was telling the truth by saying Donald Trump had tied Ukraine aid to a probe into the Bidens.
‘That would seem to indicate that he has knowledge of what Bolton’s testifying to,’ Nadler told MSNBC Tuesday after Trump’s defense ended their opening arguments.
Such a move would need to be approved by a majority of senators, but Nadler made the intervention just before Republican leader Mitch McConnell warned he does not have the votes to block calling the trial from calling witnesses, despite his party being in the majority.
Trump and fellow elected Republicans have been seeking to discredit Bolton as a ‘disgruntled’ former employee who is not to be believed.
Not so, says Kelly, who served alongside Bolton while both men were advising Trump. Both, like numerous staffers, had unceremonious exists.
‘If John Bolton says that in the book, I believe John Bolton,’ Kelly said.
Former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly says he believes John Bolton, whose manuscript contains bombshell claims about Trump’s demands of Ukraine
Vouching for Bolton, he continued: “Every single time I was with him … he always gave the president the unvarnished truth.’
He made the comments at the Ringling College Library Association, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported.
Kelly was a retired Marine general when Trump tapped him to head up the Homeland Security department, then installed him in the powerful chief of staff post.
The relations soured, with Kelly allegedly calling Trump an ‘idiot,’ according to NBC reporting. He and former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson frequently sought to reign in Trump on foreign policy and other matters during their tenure, leading to friction with the president.
Kelly was a retired Marine general when Trump tapped him to head up the Homeland Security department
Former National security adviser John Bolton leaves his home in Bethesda, Md. Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020
The Trump impeachment trial resumes Wednesday with a question period for senators
Lev Parnas with former Marine General John Kelly, then Donald Trump’s chief of staff at the America First Action Superpac Leadership Summit at Trump Hotel Washington D.C. June 18 or 19 2018. Parnas’ lawyer wants the Senate or investigators to take testimony from Parnas, an associate of Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani
The idea of Kelly giving evidence is likely to be as fiercely resisted by the White House as Bolton doing so. Kelly said that he told Trump he would be impeached if he hired ‘a yes man.’
But threatening to call more witnesses would add to Democratic leverage if they do indeed have the votes to demand them, and further scramble Trump’s defense.
Unlike Bolton, Kelly has not offered a tell-all book about his time in the White House, and has remained largely public silent about working with Trump.
But he also apparently owes little direct loyalty to Trump, who directly denied that the general had told him he would be impeached, and his disclosure was followed by White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham saying: ‘I worked with John Kelly, and he was totally unequipped to handle the genius of our great President.’
Kelly’s effort to build up Bolton comes as Trump’s team tries to tear him down, in hopes of keeping the Senate from voting to put him under oath as a witness. The GOP fears this could open up a lengthy trial that would have a less predictable outcome.
“It is not a game of leaks and unsourced manuscripts,” Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow said of the impeachment process. ‘That’s politics, unfortunately.’
Bolton’s book claims Trump told him in a meeting he was holding up hundreds of millions in of aid to Ukraine until it agreed to investigate the Bidens and Democrats. It is at the heart of the Democrats’ abuse of power impeachment article under consideration.
GOP senators were meeting Tuesday to try to find a solution to the witness question during a pause in the impeachment trial.
Democrats need four Republican senators to cross to their side and vote to subpoena witnesses.
‘It’s increasingly apparent that it would be important to hear from John Bolton,’ Utah Sen. Mitt Romney told reporters on Capitol Hill Monday.
‘I of course will make a final decision on witnesses after we hear not only from the prosecution but from the defense,’ he said. ‘I think at this stage it’s fair to say John Bolton has a relevant testimony.’