Chris Wallace grills Rep. Sean Maloney on decision not to subpoena John Bolton

November 11, 2019

Chris Wallace isn’t exactly known for his Trump-friendly commentary, but the center-left journalist pushed back against the Democrats’ talking points on his Fox News show Sunday.

Wallace grilled Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY) after Democrats abandoned plans to have former National Security Adviser John Bolton testify as the impeachment enters its public phase, Mediaite reported. The Fox journalist put Maloney’s feet to the fire for rushing through the impeachment inquiry instead of waiting to hear all the evidence.

Wallace presses on Bolton testimony

While he may not be a favorite among members of the president’s loyal base, Wallace was left scratching his head after Democrats refused to issue a subpoena for Bolton, despite his involvement in “many relevant meetings” in regard to the Ukraine controversy. Democrats have said that they do not want to get bogged down in court battles to settle conflicting demands from Congress and the White House about whether Bolton must testify.

Wallace asked Maloney, who sits on Adam Schiff’s (D-CA) Intelligence Committee, “why on Earth” Democrats would refuse to issue the subpoena, given that Bolton may have “key evidence.” Given the gravitas of impeachment, shouldn’t Democrats wait a month for a judge’s intervention?

“This isn’t just oversight. This is the potential impeachment of the President of the United States. There is going to be a court hearing in early December,” he said. “Why not wait — we are talking about a month, exactly a month, to find out what a judge says? Why wouldn’t, when you’re talking about the impeachment of the president, why wouldn’t the House Intelligence Committee be willing to wait to find out such key evidence?”

In a similar scenario, Democrats withdrew a subpoena for Bolton’s former deputy Charles Kupperman after the official filed a lawsuit so that a court could clarify his obligations. But Maloney dodged Wallace’s prompts and insisted that Bolton was free to testify voluntarily, despite conflicting orders from the Trump administration for him to stand down, and that Democrats actually do want to hear from him.

Maloney claimed that it was “unprecedented” to have the House “go to a judge” for resolution, but Wallace pointed out that it was Bolton, not the House, who was seeking a judge’s intervention: “That isn’t what they’re doing,” Wallace said. “They are going to the judge. They are going to the judge. That’s what they did with [Kupperman] — they are going to the judge and saying, ‘Judge, we’ve got these competing claims, you tell us what to do.’ They are not asking the House to do anything.”

“Partisan exercise” of impeachment

The Democrats have been criticized for appearing more concerned with moving swiftly toward impeachment than hearing all available evidence. As the inquiry enters its public phase this week, Schiff has vowed to shut out witnesses from the Republicans’ list, including Hunter Biden and the whistleblower, ahead of the first hearing planned for Wednesday.

In his purportedly objective way, Wallace has lamented that the impeachment hearings have become irreversibly partisan. Wallace has called the impeachment an “utterly polarized, utterly partisan exercise,” but he seems to have meant it less as an indictment of Democrats than as a general complaint about that way politics is corrupting what should be a solemn proceeding.

“No Republicans are jumping ship and joining the Democrats. No particular Democrats are jumping ship and joining the Republicans. These two camps are locked in place and it seems that nothing that is being presented is changing either side,” he said Sunday.

The Fox anchor has echoed many of the liberal media’s talking points on the Ukraine controversy, rebuking Republicans recently for having “trouble with the facts” as witnesses have ‘stepped forward,’ in media parlance, to testify, according to the Washington Examiner. Wallace has also called Trump’s phone call with Ukraine incriminating and has grilled Trump staffers over the controversy, prompting Trump to lash out at the journalist, The Hill reported.

But even Wallace seems to agree that the Democrats are giving up on fact-finding for the sake of impeaching Trump with all possible haste. If Wallace is worried about partisanship, there’s plenty more to come in that respect.

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Matthew Boose

Matthew Boose is a staff writer for Conservative Institute. He has a Bachelor's degree from Stony Brook University and has contributed to The Daily Caller and The Stony Brook Press.