The Foreign Relations Committee expands its exploration of charges against John Bolton:
In a widening of the inquiry into John R. Bolton’s nomination to be ambassador to the United Nations, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee intends to conduct formal interviews in the next 10 days with as many as two dozen people, Congressional officials said Tuesday. Those to be interviewed include a former deputy director of central intelligence and a former assistant secretary of state. The two officials, John E. McLaughlin and John S. Wolf respectively, have not spoken publicly about Mr. Bolton’s nomination, but both have been described by others as having clashed with him on personnel matters related to intelligence. The list, which Democratic officials said had been broadly endorsed by Republican panel members, also included Thomas Hubbard, a former ambassador to South Korea who clashed with Mr. Bolton over a speech on North Korea. Prospects for Mr. Bolton’s nomination have appeared uncertain since last-minute qualms among some Republican senators forced the Senate committee last week to postpone a confirmation vote. On Tuesday, there were signs that the White House was stepping up its effort to rescue the nomination, with Vice President Dick Cheney placing calls to Republican senators and Mr. Bolton himself visiting Capitol Hill, apparently in a bid to shore up support.
The expanded questioning is an unusual approach for a committee that has already held confirmation hearings and at one point appeared to be on the verge of voting to approve the nominee. The interviews are intended to explore allegations about Mr. Bolton’s treatment of subordinates and intelligence matters that surfaced only after Mr. Bolton’s daylong testimony before the panel on April 11. They will be conducted in private, and some will be conducted by telephone, but they are to be recorded by a stenographer, the congressional officials said. The people being interviewed will not be under oath, but they will be subject to rules that prohibit misleading Congress. Transcripts of the session are to be provided to members of the committee and posted by the panel on a public Web site before it meets to vote on the nomination, in a session now scheduled for May 12, the officials said.