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Ron Johnson Calls on Bolton to Speak ‘Publicly’ Regarding Impeachment

Ron Johnson (R., Wis.) speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., May 15, 2018. (Erin Schaff/Reuters)

Senator Ron Johnson (R., Wisc.) on Tuesday called on former White House national security adviser John Bolton to speak publicly regarding information that may be pertinent to the impeachment trial of President Trump.

“Now that what has unfolded with the manuscript [of Bolton’s book] being leaked — by the way, exquisite timing, maybe suspicious timing — the Wall Street Journal has called for John to just come forward,” Johnson told reporters on Capitol Hill. “I think that would actually be a smart thing. I’d encourage John to do that.”

Johnson said it would be better for Bolton to speak directly to the media “without involving the trial” about his knowledge relating to impeachment.

The New York Times reported Monday that Bolton had written, in the manuscript draft of his upcoming book, that President Trump told him that military aid to Ukraine was contingent on the country’s commitment to investigate corruption allegations against Joe and Hunter Biden.

The leak, which Bolton denied coordinating, has led some Republican senators to reconsider the possibility of calling witnesses to testify at the trial, presumably with Bolton among them.

However, Johnson did not comment on Tuesday as to whether he would vote in favor of summoning witnesses or additional documents as evidence in the trial.

Johnson was a minor player in the lead-up to the impeachment proceedings. In October the Senator told the Wall Street Journal he was contacted in August by then-U.S. ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland.

Johnson said Sondland had described a quid-pro-quo between Trump and Ukraine, conditioning military aid on investigations into the Bidens. Alarmed by the suggestion, Johnson asked President Trump in a subsequent meeting whether the quid-pro-quo was in fact part of Trump’s Ukraine policy.

“[Trump] said, ‘Expletive deleted—No way. I would never do that. Who told you that?'” Johnson recalled in the interview.

Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.

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