"Putting profit above country": Schiff says Bolton withheld info during impeachment hearing to publish book

Rep. Schiff on John Bolton's new book
Rep. Schiff on John Bolton's new book 05:54

John Bolton is joining a growing line of former Trump administration officials to speak out against the president. House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said his decision to do it through a tell-all memoir months after refusing to testify in the House impeachment inquiry "tells you a lot about John. Bolton's character."

"Whether his testimony would have made a significant difference in trial — it may have if it led to further evidence and further witnesses — but we'll never know," Schiff said on "CBS This Morning" Thursday. "This is the price the country had to pay for John Bolton's putting profit above country."

Despite the timing, Schiff vowed to "look deeply into the allegations" and said they are "consistent with other evidence" against Mr. Trump.

"You could certainly question — and I think should question — John Bolton's patriotism in withholding the information during an impeachment proceeding," Schiff said. "But that doesn't necessarily detract from the seriousness of what he alleges against the president."

Bolton had refused to testify in late 2019, when House Democrats levied impeachment charges against President Trump over a whistleblower's charges he was abusing his power in dealings with Ukraine. 

Mr. Trump's former adviser said he would testify at the Senate impeachment trial if subpoenaed, but he was not called by Republicans.

Schiff, who managed the House impeachment case against Mr. Trump, said Bolton "made it clear" that any subpoena during the House hearings would come with a long legal battle, despite the fact "his deputies were willing to testify."

One such deputy was Fiona Hill, who said Bolton likened Mr. Trump's dealings with Ukraine to a "drug deal."

"They had the courage of their convictions, but Bolton's argument was essentially no, that it would potentially impede on the president, that it would violate, potentially, his constitutional duty," Schiff said. 

It seemed, Schiff said, "those concerns gave way to a $2 million book offer."

In his book, "The Room Where It Happened," Bolton accused Democrats of committing "impeachment malpractice" by only focusing on Ukraine. 

Schiff called the argument "stunningly disingenuous." 

"How were we going to investigate it if he refused to testify?" Schiff asked, citing Bolton's newly released revelations. "No, I think John Bolton has to somehow rationalize selling out by keeping this secret for his book, and that's the way he's attempting to do it."

Asked if he plans to read Bolton's book, Schiff said he would look into what was already available. 

"I don't what to give him royalty or further income from the book, so I'll read the excerpts, but I don't intend to buy a copy," he said.