GOP Strategist Says Trump Will 'Likely' Try to Imprison John Bolton After Impeachment Vote

A prominent Republican political strategist has warned that President Donald Trump may lean on the Justice Department to get revenge on former National Security Advisor John Bolton once the Senate has voted not to remove him from office this week.

Bolton has become a central figure in the impeachment debate surrounding Trump, with Democrats keen to have him testify in front of senators—while the political world eagerly awaits his tell-all memoir detailing his time in Trump's turbulent White House.

But according to a Vanity Fair article published Monday, Bolton's prominent role has put him squarely in Trump's crosshairs and at the top of an enemies list to be addressed once Republican senators acquit the president.

Rick Wilson, an author, analyst and long-time Republican operative, suggested that Bolton's only chance now was to leak his explosive book manuscript before the Senate vote, which is expected to take place Wednesday.

"As I predicted. Bolton blew his one shot," Wilson wrote. "Unless the manuscript leaks before the vote, he's f****d and Trump will likely use [Attorney General William] Barr to put him in prison. Just a reminder that knowing about grand strategy doesn't mean you know about political strategy."

Last month, The New York Times reported that Bolton's unreleased manuscript claimed the president told his then-national security advisor he wanted to continue withholding $391 million of military aid until Ukraine helped with investigations into Democrats, including possible 2020 rival Joe Biden.

Trump was impeached by the House in December over his alleged effort to extort the Ukrainian government to interfere in the 2020 election. Despite significant evidence, Republican senators are expected to vote against removing Trump from office.

Democrats pushed for Bolton and other senior administration officials to testify at the Senate trial, but did not win enough Republican support for the proposal.

Bolton said he was willing to appear, but the White House and key GOP senators fought to block any new testimony.

According to Vanity Fair, Trump is planning a revenge campaign once acquitted by his GOP allies this week. The magazine cited an unnamed prominent Republican as saying "it's payback time," and another source warning: "He has an enemies list that is growing by the day.

Among those thought to be top of his list are House Intelligence Committee Chair Rep. Adam Schiff, House Judiciary Committee Chair Rep. Jerry Nadler, moderate Republican Senator Mitt Romney, and Bolton, Vanity Fair reported.

Bolton left the administration under a cloud last September after disagreeing with the president on multiple foreign policy issues. As senators grappled over potential new testimony, Trump continued his long tradition of attacking witnesses on Twitter and turned his focus to Bolton.

The president dismissed Bolton as "a guy who couldn't get approved for the Ambassador to the U.N. years ago, couldn't get approved for anything since, 'begged' me for a non Senate approved job, which I gave him despite many saying 'Don't do it, sir.'"

Trump said Bolton was fired "because frankly, if I listened to him, we would be in World War Six by now." The president also rejected Bolton's book as "nasty & untrue."

Donald Trump, John Bolton, impeachment, jail, prison
President Donald Trump speaks to members of the media 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