Bolton Says House Impeachment Inquiry Taught Trump ‘He Could Get Away With It’

Former National Security adviser John Bolton speaks on stage during a public discussion at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina on February 17, 2020. - Bolton was invited to the school to discuss national securi... Former National Security adviser John Bolton speaks on stage during a public discussion at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina on February 17, 2020. - Bolton was invited to the school to discuss national security weeks after he was thought of as a key witness in the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump. (Photo by Logan Cyrus / AFP) (Photo by LOGAN CYRUS/AFP via Getty Images) MORE LESS
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June 22, 2020 8:48 a.m.

Former National Security Adviser John Bolton told ABC News’ Martha Raddatz in an interview on Sunday about his forthcoming book that Election Day is the “last guardrail” protecting American democracy and that there’s no telling what will happen if Trump gets reelected in November.

Bolton also said that limiting the inquiry to Ukraine and trying to produce a result too quickly actually reinforced Trump’s own political agenda to “keep it narrow, and move it fast.” He said that the impeachment inquiry failed at teaching the president a lesson about seeking help from foreign powers for his own reelection.

“It’s absolutely 180 degrees the opposite of the truth,” Bolton said. When Trump was acquitted in the Senate, Trump instead learned that “he could get away with it.” 

When asked why he didn’t testify, rather than taking personal fault to share what he knew, Bolton blamed House Democrats, accusing them of rushing through proceedings and for failing to to widen the scope of the proceedings beyond Ukraine. He said that this approach, and House Democrats not wanting to “mess up the Democratic presidential nomination,” played right into the hands of Trump.

When asked how he would answer to critics who accuse him of putting “personal profit over the country” by reserving damning evidence against Trump for his book, Bolton again blamed House Democrats for launching an investigation that became in his view a “partisan catfight.”

Bolton claims that “minds were made up on Capitol Hill,” and he was convinced that had he offered testimony, it would have been lost in the chaos of the proceedings.

“My judgment was that I was prepared to testify,” Bolton said. “But I think now this is actually a better time to tell the story. Because now the American people can look at it in the context of the most important political decision we make as a nation every four years.”

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