John Bolton slammed Democrats for conducting a partisan impeachment, saying they were ‘almost as bad and somewhat equivalent to’ President Trump.
In an interview with ABC News, Bolton defended his decision not to testify before Congress during the impeachment proceedings.
He writes in his new book that the Democratic-led House of Representatives committed malpractice by tailoring impeachment exclusively to Ukraine.
The House impeached the president after it was alleged that Trump sought to withhold aid from Ukraine unless the government in Kyiv investigated Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.
As Barack Obama’s vice president, Biden was in charge of US policy toward Ukraine. The president and his supporters allege that Hunter Biden obtained a position on the board of a Ukrainian energy firm because of his father’s standing.
Former National Security Adviser John Bolton (left) defended his decision not to testify before Congress during impeachment proceedings, saying that the Democrats were ‘almost as bad as and somewhat equivalent to’ President Trump (right)
Bolton writes in his new book that the Democratic-led House of Representatives committed malpractice by tailoring impeachment exclusively to Ukraine. The image above shows House Rep. Adam Schiff, a House impeachment manager, speaking during closing arguments in the impeachment trial against Trump at the Senate in Washington, DC, on February 3
Trump became just the third president in history to have been impeached, though he was acquitted by the Senate, which has a majority of Republicans.
The House Intelligence Committee sought to bring Bolton in for testimony during its impeachment probe into Trump’s conduct toward Ukraine, but he didn’t participate, to the consternation of some Democrats who said he was saving material for his book.
When asked why he didn’t testify, Bolton said the process in the House was too partisan.
‘I was fully prepared [to testify] – if I got a subpoena like everybody else who testified got a subpoena,’ Bolton said.
‘I think the way the House advocates of impeachment proceeded was badly wrong.
‘I think it was impeachment malpractice. I think they were determined because of their own political objectives to conduct an impeachment proceeding that was very narrowly focused on Ukraine, and that went very, very quickly.’
Bolton accused Democrats of managing the impeachment so as not to ‘mess up the Democratic presidential nomination.’
‘Now, I find that conduct almost as bad and somewhat equivalent to Trump,’ Bolton said.
‘That they’re torqueing one of the gravest constitutional responsibilities the House of Representatives has, the power of impeachment, around their presidential nomination schedule.’
Bolton added: ‘And they failed utterly to accomplish what they wanted. In fact, they made things worse.
‘Because their strategy fitted with the Trump political strategy.
‘Keep it narrow, and move it fast. So what did they do? The House advocates said, “We have proven Trump is impeached forever, and that he’d learn a lesson from it.”
When asked if Trump learned his lesson after impeachment, Bolton said: ‘It’s absolutely 180 degrees the opposite of the truth.
Bolton is promoting his new memoir, The Room Where It Happened, which tells of his time as Trump’s national security adviser
‘Because he was acquitted in the Senate. He didn’t learn lessons from it, other than that he could get away with it, which leaves only the last guardrail – is the election this November.
‘I think the House Democrats built a cliff, they threw themselves off of it. And halfway down, they looked up and saw me, and said, “Hey, why don’t you come along?”‘
In the interview, Bolton said he will not vote for either his former boss, Trump, or Biden this November.
Bolton, who was fired last year as Trump’s national security adviser, gave a scathing assessment of the president in his new memoir, The Room Where It Happened.
‘I don’t think he’s fit for office,’ Bolton told ABC News on Sunday.
‘I don’t think he has the competence to carry out the job.’
Bolton, a lifelong Republican who has served in the White House for three GOP administrations, dismissed Trump as a true member of the party.
‘I don’t think he’s a conservative Republican. I’m not gonna vote for him in November,’ Bolton said.
‘Certainly not gonna vote for Joe Biden either.
‘I’m gonna figure out a conservative Republican to write in.
‘But this comes back to the point of why I wrote the book.’
Earlier on Sunday, Bolton denied a report that he plans to vote for Biden.
Bolton gave an interview with The Daily Telegraph on Sunday in which he said he had no plans to vote for Trump in November.
But a spokesperson for Bolton told Axios that the newspaper incorrectly reported that the lifelong Republican hawk would cast a ballot for the Democrat, Biden.
‘This statement is incorrect. The Ambassador never said he planned to vote for Joe Biden,’ Bolton spokesperson Sarah Tinsley said in a statement to Axios.
‘He has consistently said in recent days he will be writing in the name of a conservative Republican.
‘Let there be no doubt – he will not be voting for Trump or Biden.’
The Telegraph quoted Bolton as saying: ‘In 2016 I voted for Trump over Hillary Clinton.
‘Now, having seen this president up close, I cannot do this again.
‘My concern is for the country, and he does not represent the Republican cause that I want to back.’
Bolton continued: ‘The president does not have a philosophical grounding or strategy.
‘He does not know the difference between the national interest of the US, and the interests of Donald Trump.
‘There is confusion over the national interest and his personal interest, which is very dangerous for the country.’
‘When you are in a senior position you have an obligation to tell the truth,’ he added.
‘I was concerned after 17 months in the administration that he (Mr Trump) did not have the requisite competence to be president, and the American people need to know about that.’
In his interview with ABC News, Bolton warned that Trump poses a ‘danger for the republic’ and his re-election would put the country in even greater peril since he wouldn’t be constrained by electoral considerations in a second term.
Trump’s former national security adviser said the president has little regard for facts and that his decisions aren’t rooted in ‘philosophy, grand strategy, or policy’ but are solely geared toward his own political future.
When asked how history will remember Trump, Bolton said: ‘I hope it will remember him as a one-term president who didn’t plunge the country irretrievably into a downward spiral we can’t recall from.
‘We can get over one term. I have absolute confidence – even if it’s not the miracle of a conservative Republican being elected in November.
‘Two terms, I’m more troubled about.
‘But I’m really troubled about the absence as well of a viable national security wing in the Democratic Party.
‘So this is an election for me of a choice of two unacceptable alternatives. And it’s not one I relish.’
Bolton denied a report that he intends to vote for Joe Biden (above)
Bolton said that Trump’s behavior ‘shows a pattern quite contrary to the image he would like to convey, of a decisive president who knows something about what he’s doing.
‘There really isn’t any guiding principle – that I was able to discern other than – what’s good for Donald Trump’s reelection,’ Bolton said.
‘Now, look, you can’t take the politics out of politics. It plays a role in every aspect of decision making in the executive branch.
‘But there’s no coherent basis, no strategy, no philosophy.
‘And decisions are made in a very scatter shot fashion, especially in the potentially mortal field of national security policy.
‘This is a danger for the republic.’