Trump Doesn't Want John Bolton to Testify in Impeachment Trial Because 'He Knows Some of My Thoughts'

President Donald Trump told reporters in Davos, Switzerland, that national security considerations mean he is not in favor of former national security advisor John Bolton testifying in the Senate impeachment trial.

Democratic lawmakers are pushing for witnesses to be allowed to testify in front of Senate jurors as they consider whether to remove the president for alleged abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

The White House and GOP senators have so far resisted Democratic pressure to allow witnesses. Speaking before departing the World Economic Forum on Wednesday, Trump told reporters he would like to allow testimony, but doing so might undermine American security.

"I would rather interview Bolton, I would rather interview a lot of people," Trump said. "The problem with John is that it's a national security problem."

"John—he knows some of my thoughts, he knows what I think about leaders," Trump continued.

"What happens if he reveals what I think about a certain leader and it's not very positive, and then I have to deal on behalf of the country? It's going to be very hard, it's going to make the job very hard.

"When he knows my thoughts on certain people and other governments—and we're talking about massive trade deals and war and peace and all these different things that we talk about—that's really a very important national security problem."

Bolton—fired from the administration in September after multiple policy disagreements with the president—is among the most coveted potential witnesses.

He may have direct knowledge of Trump's alleged Ukraine scheme to coerce the Ukrainian government into smearing possible 2020 rival Joe Biden, the former vice president.

Bolton has said he is willing to appear in front of the Senate. His lawyer said in November that Bolton has knowledge of "meetings and conversations" relevant to the House impeachment inquiry that had "not yet been discussed in the testimonies thus far."

Bolton left the White House under a cloud, with the president announcing his departure via Twitter. "I don't know if we left on the best of terms, I would say probably not," the president acknowledged on Wednesday.

This is another reason the president is hesitant to allow Bolton to appear. "You don't like people testifying when they didn't leave on good terms, and that was due to me, not due to him," Trump added.

A report by The Washington Times this week suggested the Trump administration was considering blocking possible public testimony by Bolton, citing national security concerns.

In the event he did appear, a senior administration official told the newspaper the White House would push for him to do so in a classified setting. The president touched on such a strategy on Wednesday.

"You could call it presidential prerogative, you could just call it the way I look at it, national security, for national security reasons, executive privilege, they say," Trump said of preventing Bolton from speaking in public.

"John would certainly fit into that," the president added.

Other prominent witnesses could include Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, and former Secretary of Energy Rick Perry. Trump claimed he would like all three to be able to testify, but their testimony could also be too sensitive to allow.

Donald Trump, John Bolton, Senate, trial, witness
This file photo shows President Donald Trump speaking to reporters as then-National Security Advisor John Bolton listens in the Oval Office of the White House on August 20, 2019 in Washington, D.C. Alex Wong/Getty Images/Getty