Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), the House’s lead impeachment manager, said Tuesday that the Senate must secure testimony from Bolton and should not look to the House to issue its own subpoena for the former national security adviser.
Amid Senate Republicans’ talk about witnesses — including the discussion of proposals that could include calling Schiff to testify — Schiff dismissed the suggestion and said Democrats should resist any attempt to make the trial a “circus.”
In an interview with The Washington Post, Schiff said that pressure is mounting on Republicans rather than Democrats, following the uproar caused by leaked details from Bolton’s upcoming book about his time in the White House.
At this juncture, Schiff said, if Bolton is not called by the GOP-controlled Senate, “the inference is that the president is guilty, and his lawyers are basically screaming to the rafters, ‘Our client is guilty, our client is guilty. We just don’t want the public to see any more evidence of it.’ ”
In the coming days, Schiff said Democrats should continue to push for Bolton to testify — and he said he is open to discussion about how that agreement is done.
While he would prefer to see Bolton testify publicly, Schiff said his priority is making sure that Bolton’s testimony is included as evidence in the trial, be it public testimony or a closed deposition.
In an organizing resolution released last week and written by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and his team, the rules would allow either the president’s defense team or the House impeachment managers to subpoena witnesses if the Senate agrees, but any witnesses would first have to be deposed.
When asked whether he has documents ready to subpoena Bolton to testify before the House, should Senate witness negotiations collapse later this week, Schiff declined to comment.
“I really don’t want to comment on any fallback plans,” he said.
Schiff also sharply dismissed the suggestion, made by Trump’s allies, that he could serve as a witness in the impeachment trial, particularly if Republicans push for a “one-for-one” trade with Democrats where each party called a single witness.
“I just can’t endorse the idea that in order to get a witness who’s clearly relevant, the Senate is going to go along with an idea to call someone who is plainly not,” Schiff said, referring to Republican calls for him or Hunter Biden to testify in the trial. “What they’re looking for is a pound of flesh.”