Another lesson taught in 9th grade Civics: citizens of a democracy act responsibly to defend that democracy. Eg: the draft. There is more than a little tension in this responsibility – eg, the draft – but taking responsibility is not optional.
Mr. Bolton’s statement Monday claims that he is trying to “resolve the serious competing issues” between his obligations as a citizen and a former national security official. In fact, those obligations point in the same direction. Like jury duty or paying taxes, testifying under oath about facts we know is not optional; it is a fundamental obligation of citizenship. As a government official, Mr. Bolton held high office under an oath to “support and defend the Constitution.” Testifying at a Senate impeachment trial fulfills that constitutional oath.
The action is clearer once you’ve taken the oath of office – even though it’s not easier. Eg: the draft, Vietnam:
Unlike Nixon, Mr. Trump has now actually been impeached, for abuse of power and obstructing congressional investigation. If official witnesses don’t testify about these acts, the very subordinates who may have helped Mr. Trump commit them can aid and abet his continuing obstruction. If so, on what conceivable basis can such officials as Mr. Pompeo and Mr. Mulvaney continue to hold high office under an oath to support and defend the Constitution? And recent history only repeats itself if former officials can enrich themselves through memoirs based on what they learned in public office about Mr. Trump’s abuse of a public position for private gain.