Former National Security Advisor Just Ghosted On His House Intelligence Committee Appearance

Former National Security Adviser John Bolton (image via White House - public domain)
Former National Security Adviser John Bolton (image via White House - public domain)
Former National Security Adviser John Bolton (image via White House – public domain)

Former White House national security adviser John Bolton was a no-show today for his scheduled closed-door deposition with the House Intelligence committee.

Bolton reportedly told the House committees handling the ongoing impeachment inquiry that he planned to challenge any subpoenas that might be issued for him.

The Washington Post reported this morning that Bolton “is willing to defy the White House and testify in the House impeachment inquiry about his alarm at the Ukraine pressure campaign if a federal court clears the way, according to people familiar with his views.”

A spokesman for the House Intelligence Committee has already indicated Democrats have “no interest in allowing the administration to play a rope-a-dope with us in the courts for months.” The official added that the White House plan to block testimony will be viewed as further evidence of obstruction for a potential article of impeachment.

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff announced on Wednesday that public impeachment hearings before his committee will begin next week.

Legal experts have opined that House Democrats may believe they have enough evidence to proceed without the testimony of White House officials.

House Committee Considers Fining Those Who Refuse Subpoenas $25K

Rep. Adam Schiff

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, says House Democrats may consider fining those individuals who refuse to comply with House subpoenas.

Via Talking Points Memo:

“Much as I like the visual of (throwing people in jail), I think it’s far more practical to consider levying individual fines on the person — not on the office — until they comply. Courts use that practice, I think it’s quite successful,” Schiff told Axios Mike Allen. “You could fine someone $25,000 a day until they comply and that will probably get their attention. … You can do that. We’re looking through the history and studying the law to make sure we’re on solid ground.”

The White House has effectively stonewalled House Democrats’ oversight subpoenas. According to Axios, Schiff said Democratic leadership might have to think outside the box and take “extraordinary” action to make sure Congress’ authority is upheld.

“At the end of the day this isn’t just about this president, this isn’t just about these documents, it is whether Congress is a co-equal branch, a co-equal power that can enforce oversight,” he said. “Because if we can’t, it means any future president can act as corruptly or malfeasant as they want. And there’s simply no accountability.”

The House Judiciary Committee voted on Wednesday to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress over his handling of the release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested the House might vote to hold others in contempt as well.