President Trump instructed then national security adviser John Bolton in August that he wanted to continue freezing $391 million in security aid to Ukraine until officials there assisted with investigations into Democrats including the Bidens, The New York Times reported citing an unpublished manuscript by the former adviser.
However, President Trump instantly weighed in, tweeting, half the message capitalised, that he “NEVER TOLD” Bolton the Ukraine aid was tied to any investigations into Democrats - something, he stressed, proved by both the July phone call transcripts and Ukraine’s reply:
I NEVER told John Bolton that the aid to Ukraine was tied to investigations into Democrats, including the Bidens. In fact, he never complained about this at the time of his very public termination. If John Bolton said this, it was only to sell a book. With that being said, the...— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 27, 2020
...transcripts of my calls with President Zelensky are all the proof that is needed, in addition to the fact that President Zelensky & the Foreign Minister of Ukraine said there was no pressure and no problems. Additionally, I met with President Zelensky at the United Nations...— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 27, 2020
Over dozens of pages, Bolton reportedly depicted how the Ukraine affair had been unfolding over several months until he left the White House in September, describing “not only the president’s private disparagement of Ukraine” but also the way some senior cabinet officials, including Mike Pompeo, have publicly tried to distance themselves from involvement.
It is not clear if the edition has itself obtained and reviewed the potentially soon-to-be-published book, the drafts of which he has reportedly circulated among his close associates. However, Bolton’s account was generally “described by multiple people", the edition noted.
Bolton also reportedly said that after Trump's July phone call with the president of Ukraine, he talked to Attorney General William P. Barr about his concerns regarding Rudy Giuliani, who saw eye to eye with the president on Ukraine, and allegedly told Barr that the president had mentioned him on the call. However, a spokeswoman for Barr denied that he had learned of the call from Bolton, with the Justice Department noting he learned about it only in mid-August.
The NY Times story has it that the president’s statement - through Bolton’s lens, might undermine the whole of POTUS Trump’s impeachment defence, the essential element of which being that suspension of aid and request to investigate ex-Vice President Biden and his son, who worked in Ukraine, for presumed corruption were not in any way connected.
Bolton’s lawyer blamed the White House for the disclosure of the book’s contents. “It is clear, regrettably, from the New York Times article published today that the pre-publication review process has been corrupted and that information has been disclosed by persons other than those properly involved in reviewing the manuscript,” the lawyer, Charles J. Cooper, said Sunday night.
He confirmed the had sent a copy of the book to the White House on Dec. 30 — 12 days after Mr. Trump was impeached by House Democrats - for review for classified information, adding though that Bolton believed it contained no sensitive in terms of national security data.
Republican Mark Meadows, who is on the House Oversight and Foreign Affairs Committee tweeted Sunday his vision of the whole “quid pro quo” matter and media reports on the manuscript, pointing out that, paradoxically, “the one group of people who didn’t know about it [alleged quid pro quo]” were ones “supposedly being extorted - the Ukrainians.”
I keep reading in the media about how there must have been some sort of political quid pro quo scheme...— Mark Meadows (@RepMarkMeadows) January 27, 2020
And yet, apparently the one group who didn’t know about it were the people supposedly being extorted—the Ukrainians.
The facts haven’t changed.
Months into the impeachment sham, & these 4 facts haven’t changed:— Mark Meadows (@RepMarkMeadows) January 27, 2020
- Call transcript shows zero link between aid/political investigations
- Aid was released with no new investigations
- Ukraine didn’t know aid was withheld during the call
- Trump/Zelensky both say: zero pressure
The Trump defence will enter the third day of addresses in the Senate on Monday, 27 January, amid Democrats’ demands to call in more witnesses and use documents that were not reviewed during the House hearings in late December.
As for Bolton, Trump told reporters last week that he did not want the former top official to testify and said that even if he simply spoke out publicly, he could damage national security.
“The problem with John is it’s a national security problem,” Mr. Trump said at a news conference in Davos, Switzerland. “He knows some of my thoughts. He knows what I think about leaders. What happens if he reveals what I think about a certain leader and it’s not very positive?”
Bolton has yet to be subpoenaed by Congress to be heard in the trial, and Democrats will need at least four Republican votes to call former Trump administration officials or other witnesses.