John Bolton clashes with BBC host Emily Maitlis over refusal to testify in Trump impeachment trial

Gino Spocchia
·2-min read
John Bolton, former White House adviser  (AFP via Getty Images)
John Bolton, former White House adviser (AFP via Getty Images)

John Bolton lost his composure in an interview with BBC Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis, who challenged the ex-White House adviser’s decision not to testify during Donald Trump’s impeachment.

Mr Bolton, who served as national security advisor between 2018 and 2019, said in January that he “would have made no difference” to the impeachment process against the president, despite later publishing a tell-all book which contained material he compared to “the sprinkles on an ice cream sundae."

But, speaking with the BBC’s Newsnight anchor on Wednesday, Mr Bolton repeatedly pleaded to “let me finish”, as he answered questions about his role in the impeachment process.

"You were given the chance to testify in [Trump's] impeachment. You were begged to do your duty as a citizen," said Ms Matilis. "You refused to tell the American people what you saw and what you know."

Apparently angered, Mr Bolton replied that was "absolutely wrong,” and said: "There's a history here that I'd be delighted to lay out, although I'm sure you won't broadcast any of it because it's too complicated."

Ms Maitlis repeated as he was mid-sentence “You were asked to testify in the impeachment trial.”

“Let me finish. Let me finish, OK? Let me finish,” Mr Bolton shouted. “Will you let me finish my answer?”

“Please, just answer the question if you can,” the BBC anchor shot-back, as Mr Bolton argued that the House of Representatives never subpoenaed him during the impeachment.

“And when they issued a subpoena for my former deputy, the White House ordered him not to testify,” added Mr Bolton. “By their own actions [the House] failed to achieve a conviction in the Senate,"

Mr Bolton, who declined to voluntarily take part in the impeachment process, suggested he would have taken a subpoena to court at the time, USA Today reported.

The Republican-controlled Senate then struck-down both impeachment articles brought by the House, leading to no conviction.

Asked why he turned-down a chance to “say out loud to the people of America what you knew”, and later included in a tell-all book, Mr Bolton said "I did that, and it took 500 pages to do it,"

"Not until the book deal," responded Ms Maitlis.

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