Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is calling on John Bolton to testify at President Donald Trump's impeachment trial after the revelation that a draft of Bolton's book undercuts a key defense argument. (Jan. 27) AP Domestic


Former national security adviser John Bolton has become a central figure in the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump and the debate over whether senators should subpoena additional witnesses. 

After Bolton op-ed that ran in The New York Times titled, "To stop Iran's Bomb, Bomb Iran." And in a 2018 piece in The Wall Street Journal that ran just before he was tapped to become Trump's next national security adviser, he argued it was "perfectly legitimate" for the U.S. to strike North Korea first to take out the threat posed by its nuclear weapons. 

He also founded the John Bolton PAC and John Bolton Super PAC, which aimed to make national security concerns an election issue. 

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Clashes with Trump on foreign policy

Bolton was tapped to replace outgoing national security adviser H.R. McMaster in March 2018. And from the beginning, the hawkish Bolton clashed with Trump, who sought to disengage the U.S. from military conflicts rather than beginning new ones. 

The president and his national security adviser disagreed on a number of key issues, including peace talks with the Taliban in Afghanistan, withdrawing U.S. troops from Syria and negotiations with North Korea. He also wanted Trump to take more aggressive action against Iran and Venezuela. 

The Trump-Bolton breakup was inevitable: Disagreements over Iran, North Korea and more

An acrimonious departure 

Trump said he fired Bolton on Sept. 10 because he "disagreed strongly with many of his suggestions."

But minutes later, Bolton tweeted that he had offered his resignation the night before and Trump had told him, "Let's talk about it tomorrow." And he texted several journalists saying, "Let's be clear I resigned." 

Washington Post reporter Robert Costa said Bolton told him, "I will have my say in due course. But I have given you the facts on the resignation. My sole concern is US national security." 

'Let's be clear, I resigned': John Bolton contradicts Donald Trump on whether he was fired

Since leaving the Trump White House 

After leaving the Trump administration, Bolton returned to his work at the head of his political action committees and announced he would be donating $10,000 to five Republican incumbent reelection campaigns for 2020.

After he failed to appear for the House impeachment inquiry in November, Bolton said he would not honor a subpoena unless he was ordered to by a court. Democrats said they did not want to mire the process in a lengthy legal battle and decided not to subpoena him, even after former aides testified he had decried the alleged attempt to leverage military aid to Ukraine as a "drug deal." 

On Nov. 22, Bolton, who had not tweeted since he disputed the nature of his White House departure, announced that he had "liberated" his Twitter account after being denied access by the White House. 

"Out of fear of what I may say?" he wondered. 

On Jan. 6, Bolton said in a statement that because it did not appear the legal issues surrounding his testimony would be resolved before the impeachment trial, he decided, "if the Senate issues a subpoena for my testimony, I am prepared to testify." 

Things to know: 5 facts about John Bolton

Contributing: John Fritze, David Jackson, Michael Collins, Deirdre Shesgreen, Rebecca Morin and Savannah Behrmann

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