House Speaker Nancy Pelosi blasted John Bolton on Thursday, saying she won’t buy the former national security adviser’s blistering account of the Trump White House because it’s a “substitute” for his not appearing to testify during the impeachment hearings.
“I’m not paying any money for a book. I don’t want to pay any money for a book that was a substitute for testifying before Congress about the well being of the American people,” Pelosi told reporters during her weekly news briefing on Capitol Hill.
The Speaker said it’s apparent from Bolton’s book and from testimony in the House impeachment probe that Trump is “ethically unfit and intellectually unprepared” to be president.
“That doesn’t seem to matter to the Republicans in the United States Senate. It didn’t seem to matter to John Bolton,” she said, adding that he “chose loyalty over patriotism and so is going to make money off his book, I guess.”
Her comments echo those of Rep. Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, the panel that spearheaded the impeachment inquiry into Trump last fall.
“John Bolton may be an author, but he’s no patriot,” Schiff said about Bolton’s not testifying to his panel while including the explosive details in his White House memoir, “The Room Where It Happened.”
In a statement on Thursday, Schiff said he will be consulting with Pelosi in the coming weeks to consider the next steps following Bolton’s claims about Trump’s questionable interactions with foreign leaders.
“Notwithstanding John Bolton’s self-serving silence during the impeachment investigation, the allegations he raises are very serious,” Schiff (D-Calif.) said. “They further demonstrate what we proved at trial, not only regarding his Ukraine misconduct, but more consequentially, that he has a pattern and practice of abusing his power for personal and political gain.”
“Trump has consistently put his own interests ahead of the national interest, and in so doing, has threatened our national security and undermined our values,” the statement continued.
Rep. James Clyburn, the House Majority Whip, told CNN that subpoenaing Bolton to appear is “something we ought to consider.”
Other Democratic lawmakers also expressed outrage that Bolton would not testify when other members of the administration did after being subpoenaed.
“It’s curious to me that now he has something to say when he could have stepped forward as a patriot when the stakes were high and the president was on trial and he ran and hid in the other direction,” said Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), one of the House impeachment managers.
Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut told CNN that Bolton wasn’t “willing to say this stuff to Congress, but he’s willing to say it when he can make money.”
Bolton, who left the administration last September after butting heads with the president over foreign policy, reportedly received $2 million for the book, which is scheduled to be published Tuesday, although a number of news outlets have already reported excerpts.
The Justice Department has filed an injunction against Bolton, arguing the book contains classified information.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) ripped Bolton for holding back critical information for his book from the American people.
“It shouldn’t take a book deal for members of this administration to come clean about impeachable offenses they witnessed from Trump. There’s a reason he thinks he’s above the law. Those around him – from his cabinet to Republicans in Congress – have failed to hold him accountable,” Warren wrote on Twitter.
Trump was impeached in the House last December, but acquitted during a trial in the Senate earlier this year.
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