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Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Former national security adviser John Bolton said Monday that he would testify in President Trump's impeachment trial should the Senate issue a subpoena.

Why it matters, via Axios' Jonathan Swan: Bolton was the most prolific note-taker at the top level of the White House and probably has more details than any impeachment inquiry witness, so far, about President Trump's machinations on Ukraine.

  • "Bolton was a voracious note-taker, in every meeting," said a source who attended numerous meetings with him.
  • While others sat and listened in meetings with Trump, Bolton distinguished himself by filling legal pads with contemporaneous notes on what was said in the room.
  • Trump's former top Russia expert Fiona Hill testified in the House impeachment inquiry that Bolton had concerns about pressuring Ukraine to investigate the president's political opponents and that he told her to alert White House lawyers.

Our thought bubble, via Axios' Margaret Talev: This development suggests Bolton has something to say — and wants to say it.

  • But it's not necessarily clear that his testimony would help Democrats. Even if he disagreed with Trump's decision to withhold military aid from Ukraine, he may not believe it is impeachment-worthy
  • Regardless, this — plus the U.S. strike on Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani — has put Bolton, a noted Iran hawk, squarely back in the news and in the driver's seat, to some extent.

The intrigue: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) dismissed Minority Leader Chuck Schumer's (D-N.Y.) call last month to have four White House witnesses, including Bolton, testify in the Senate's impeachment trial.

  • McConnell argued that it was the House's "duty to investigate" and that the Senate will not volunteer its time for a "fishing expedition."
  • Bolton expressing his willingness to testify will be sure to cause Senate Democrats to put even more pressure on McConnell — and, perhaps more importantly, a group of swing Senate Republicans — to consider allowing him to speak.

What to watch: A simple majority in the Senate — which currently consists of 53 Republicans and 47 Democrats or independents — is needed to call impeachment witnesses. Expect moderate Republicans like Sens. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) to face pressure.

  • Schumer said in a statement Monday: “Given that Mr. Bolton’s lawyers have stated he has new relevant information to share, if any Senate Republican opposes issuing subpoenas to the four witnesses and documents we have requested they would make absolutely clear they are participating in a cover up.”

What they're saying:

"The House has concluded its Constitutional responsibility by adopting Articles of Impeachment related to the Ukraine matter. It now falls to the Senate to fulfill its Constitutional obligation to try impeachments, and it does not appear possible that a final judicial resolution of the still-unanswered Constitutional questions can be obtained before the Senate acts.
Accordingly, since my testimony is once again at issue, I have had to resolve the serious competing issues as best I could, based on careful consideration and study. I have concluded that, if the Senate issues a subpoena for my testimony, I am prepared to testify."
— John Bolton

A spokesperson for Bolton declined to comment when asked if he would comply with a House subpoena.

Go deeper: Trump aides fear John Bolton's secret notes

Go deeper

Justice Department drops insider trading inquiry against Sen. Richard Burr

Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) walking through the Senate Subway in the U.S. Capitol in December 2020. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

The Department of Justice told Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) on Tuesday that it will not move forward with insider trading charges against him.

Why it matters: The decision, first reported by the New York Times, effectively ends the DOJ's investigation into the senator's stock sell-off that occurred after multiple lawmakers were briefed about the coronavirus' potential economic toll. Burr subsequently stepped down as chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Netflix tops 200 million global subscribers

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Netflix said that it added another 8.5 million global subscribers last quarter, bringing its total number of paid subscribers globally to more than 200 million.

The big picture: Positive fourth-quarter results show Netflix's resiliency, despite increased competition and pandemic-related production headwinds.

Janet Yellen plays down debt, tax hike concerns in confirmation hearing

Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen at an event in December. Photo: Alex Wong via Getty Images

Janet Yellen, Biden's pick to lead the Treasury Department, pushed back against two key concerns from Republican senators at her confirmation hearing on Tuesday: the country's debt and the incoming administration's plans to eventually raise taxes.

Driving the news: Yellen — who's expected to win confirmation — said spending big now will prevent the U.S. from having to dig out of a deeper hole later. She also said the Biden administration's priority right now is coronavirus relief, not raising taxes.

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