Impeachment: Ex-Trump adviser John Bolton faces tightrope as Democrats seek his testimony on Ukraine thumbnail

Impeachment: Ex-Trump adviser John Bolton faces tightrope as Democrats seek his testimony on Ukraine

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President Donald Trump explains he wasn’t seeing eye-to-eye with ousted hawkish national security adviser John Bolton. The sudden shake-up comes as the president faces pressing decisions on difficult foreign policy issues. (Sept. 11)
APWASHINGTON – Former National Security Adviser John Bolton is known as a political bomb thrower, and if he appears before the closed-door House impeachment panel on Thursday, he could be an unpredictable, explosive witness. Bolton is a hard-charging hawk who clashed repeatedly with his boss, President Donald Trump, and left the White House under acrimonious circumstances. But he is also a GOP stalwart who will likely resist becoming a pawn in the House Democrats’ polarizing impeachment probe. “Frankly, I don’t think anybody knows, except John Bolton, exactly what role he wants to play in this drama,” said Aaron David Miller, who served as a foreign policy adviser to presidents in both parties and is now a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “Is he looking for revenge?” Miller said. Or will he see this inquiry as a “Democratic show” that he wants no part of?Danielle Pletka, senior vice president for foreign and defense policy at the American Enterprise Institute, a center-right think tank, said Bolton will be walking a tightrope if he agrees to testify. “I think it will be a balance for John, who has been a lifelong Republican and who is a big supporter of the party through his PAC,” said Pletka. Bolton worked at AEI before he joined the Trump administration in 2018. He also runs a political action committee that doles out campaign contributionsto GOP candidates who are strong on national security.On the one hand, Pletka said, Bolton will not want to become “a political football.” On the other, he will want to “stay on the right side of the law and of the principles that he embraces.”“… There’s just a lot of forces at work here that make it very hard,” she said.As Bolton weighs whether to fight the House Democrats’ request for his testimony, one thing is clear: he was a central player in the Ukraine saga. Previous witnesses have portrayed him as a leading critic of the effort, led by Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, to pressure Ukraine’s new leader to open two investigations that would have benefited Trump’s domestic political prospects ahead of the 2020 election.Bolton reportedly referred to Giuliani as “a hand grenade who’s going to blow everybody up.” Fiona Hill, who served under Bolton as the National Security Council’s senior director for Europe and Russia, told lawmakers in her closed-door testimony that Bolton wanted no part of what he derided as a White House “drug deal” to pressure Ukraine into investigating Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.If he shows up on Thursday, Bolton would be the highest-ranking Trump administration official to testify in the impeachment inquiry, and the closest adviser to the president.”He saw this whole movie up close and personal, which means his testimony would be incredibly damaging and devastating should he agree to do the full reveal,” said Miller.A string of other wit
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