Ari Melber entered a contentious debate with John Bolton live on MSNBC’s The Beat Wednesday following a mash-up of clips wherein members of the democratic party called Bolton “a disgrace,” as well as “a political opportunist and a profiteer.”
Melber pushed Bolton on his decision to withhold information from the impeachment hearings of President Donald J. Trump.
“You said this mattered. You said this was vital. And then you withheld the testimony claiming there was some sort of legal reason,” Melber said. “Then later you published this book. So your response to this criticism?”
Bolton answered, “Well, the criticism, and what you just said is absolutely wrong. And in fact, what happened before the House, they subpoenaed my former deputy to appear immediately after he was subpoenaed, the White House sent him a letter saying the President was directing him not to testify. So here you have one branch of government ordering him to appear and another branch of government ordering him not to appear. So Charlie Kupperman did what I thought was perfectly reasonable – he went to the third branch of government, the Judiciary, and said, ‘Who am I supposed to obey?’ And both the House of Representatives and the White House argued that the court had no jurisdiction. And ultimately, the House withdrew the subpoena. They never issued me a subpoena. Everybody else who testified…”
Melber then attempted to interject with, “Sir, respectfully…” before Bolton finished, “No, this is important. I didn’t withhold anything. Let’s be clear on that.”
“You waited to publish the book,” Melber persisted.
“You’re absolutely wrong, sir,” Bolton said.
“Ambassador, respectfully, you’re claiming that the Executive Branch opposition was key, but as we just discussed, the Executive Branch still opposes this now and are even investigating you, but you went forward with the book,” said Melber. “Why didn’t you go forward when it mattered with the Senate?”
Bolton said, “I told the Senate in a statement that explained the circumstances of the earlier litigation that I was prepared to testify and the Senate voted by a majority vote not to call any witnesses because Republicans, by and large, said even if the President did what was alleged he had done in Ukraine, that his conduct did not rise to the level of impeachable offense.”
Bolton then went on to blame the impeachment process on the Democrats.
“What’s really wrong here is the democratic mismanagement of the impeachment process, and that you don’t want to talk about I can see. That’s where the real problem is,” Bolton said.
Melber added, “Respectfully, it’s not about what I want to talk about. I‘m trying to get your answer for the public record. The senators who spoke out did say they would have welcomed your words. While I understand the nuanced resuscitation of the litigation record that you’re sharing, the question remains, the stuff that’s in the book, wouldn’t it have been better served…”
And the argumentative conversation continued, which can be viewed below.