Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday signaled Democrats have no immediate plans to summon former national security adviser John Bolton for testimony — but she made clear the House would not abandon its investigations into President Donald Trump despite him being acquitted in his impeachment trial.
Pelosi pointed to a slew of ongoing legal battles against Trump — including to obtain his tax returns and a long-ignored subpoena related to Robert Mueller’s probe — that are still moving through the courts.
But she said there are “no plans right now” to begin a fight over Bolton.
“We will continue to do our oversight to protect and defend the Constitution,” Pelosi told reporters at her weekly news conference.
“We have some cases in court now,” Pelosi said. “If there are others we see as an opportunity, we’ll make a judgment at that time, but we have no plans right now.”
Bolton’s fate has been one of the biggest lingering questions for Democrats after the Senate concluded its three-week impeachment trial this week.
New revelations from Bolton’s upcoming book tying Trump closer to the Ukraine scandal threatened to upend the trial, but Senate Republicans defeated a Democratic push for witnesses and the GOP stood firmly behind Trump.
Most Democrats say they want to hear what Bolton has to say. But some are also wary of launching a new chapter of investigations just as they’ve closed one and believe they must tread carefully as the November election approaches.
Even if Democrats do nothing, Bolton’s book is set to be released on March 17 unless the White House blocks it — potentially dragging the caucus back to the subject after the Senate trial.
House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler told reporters on Wednesday that Democrats “will likely” subpoena Bolton. But other top Democrats have been more cautious in their answers.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said this week that the House’s investigative panels will evaluate whether “there is still relevant information that needs to be uncovered.”
“The committees may well want to hear from him,” Hoyer said, when asked about a potential Bolton subpoena. “But they’re going to make that decision. We’re going to have discussions about it.”
Bolton reportedly wrote in his book that Trump told him that he withheld military aid to Ukraine because he wanted an investigation into rivals like former Vice President Joe Biden.
Still, most Democrats now expect their biggest fights against Trump will move to the courts.
The Supreme Court is expected to rule next month in a case involving Trump’s refusal to turn over his tax returns to congressional investigators.
And a three-judge panel from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit is expected to rule any day now in a case involving the House Judiciary Committee’s monthslong fight to subpoena testimony from former White House counsel Don McGahn, a star witness in the Mueller probe.
Both pending cases could open a spigot of new information in Democrats’ bid to expose wrongdoing by the president.
Heather Caygle contributed to this report.